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Abduction: Police extend search to Ogun

Distraught parents

Distraught parents

AS the trio of Timilehin Olisa, Tofunmi Popoolaniyan and Deborah Akinayo face the possibility of a fifth night in captivity since their abduction on Monday from Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School, Ikorodu, the police have extended their rescue mission to Arepo in Ogun State.

They have also appealed to members of the public to provide security agencies with valuable useful information as efforts to ensure the safe return of the girls continue. The Police Public Relations Officer in charge of Zone 2, CSP Lawal Adebowale, made the appeal yesterday in Lagos.

“Mr Bala Hassan, the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Lagos and Ogun states, has also urged parents and school proprietors to give useful information on any suspicious movement to the police,” he said.

On reports that the abductors were demanding for ransom, Lawal said the police had no other information on the ransom other than what was reported by the media.

“We also heard that one of the parents of the girls was contacted for ransom by the abductors. We don’t have any other information other than what is in the news.”

However, strong indications emerged yesterday that the thugs who raided the school have reduced the ransom to ₦20 million per student. According to information gathered from sources, the vandals turned kidnappers got the phone number of one of the girls’ fathers and asked for the ransom.

“The kidnappers agreed to 20 million following passionate pleas by their contact in the school, as the initial amount demanded as at Tuesday evening was N100 million for each student before it was later reduced to N200 million for the three girls on Wednesday,” the source said.

According to Lawal, all hands are on deck to get the abducted girls back safely. “The Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni, has been on ground in Ikorodu and he has been combing the area with the anti-kidnapping team to ensure the abductors are nabbed. Apart from the presence of the naval officers, we also have the Marine Police on ground now,” he said.

In addition, the Commanding Officer, 174 battalion, of the Nigerian Army in Ikorodu, Lt. Colonel Julius Ogbobe, has ordered his soldiers to comb every square inch for the hoodlums involved in the kidnap saga.

Also, head of Olugbusi family, which owns the land where the school is located, Chief Michael Omoloju, said they would invoke the spirits of its ancestors in getting to the root of the incident.
 
Omoloju disclosed that the family resorted to the traditional way because such had never been the case around the community. “Our ancestors will be the ones to settle the case. Something like this has never happened here. The school got the land from our family and because it had never happened before, only our ancestors will settle it.”

Yesterday, members of the Lagos State House of Assembly admitted inadequate policing of the state following the abduction. The lawmakers further stressed the need for the establishment of state police, saying only this would solve internal crises and security challenges in the state.

Under Matter of Urgent Public Importance, Majority Leader of the House, Sanai Agunbiade, called on the state government to beef up security in the state. Speaking in Youba, Agunbiade urged the government to educate owners of private schools on how to secure their hostels.

He was supported by his colleagues including Omotayo Oduntan, who expressed concern over the frequency of criminal activities in the Ikorodu area of the state. She also urged Governor‎ Ambode to intensify security in the area.

As at yesterday, academic activities were placed on hold as students were ordered to remain in their hostels, with strict instruction not to speak to anyone about the incident. Some parents have also been withdrawing their wards from the school.



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