Strong indications have emerged on Wednesday that the thugs who raided Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary, Ikorodu, Lagos, Monday night, kidnapping three Senior Secondary School female students have reduced the ransom to ₦20 million per student.
According to information gathered, the militants turned vandals got the phone number of one of the girls’ fathers and asked for the ransom.
It was gathered that 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 ₦100 million for each student.
The school, which is linked to the Anglican Church, is reportedly one of the best and most expensive in Lagos state and is mostly attended by children of politicians and wealthy individuals.
This is just as another female Senior Secondary School student narrated how she escaped being caught by the gunmen.
Narrating her ordeal in tears she said: “We were reading for our test billed for Tuesday morning, that night when we heard the first gun shot. We ignored it, thinking it was fire crackers. Then, another shot followed. At that point, we were scared . One of us jokingly said, ‘those people that attempted to strike the other day have come o.‘ Hearing that, I froze and started praying.
“Before we could think of the next thing to do, three SSS1 students ran into our class room, screaming: Robbers! We all ran out in our confused states, only to bump into four armed men. We ran back towards the window, where we struggled to jump out from. At that point, one of the gunmen held my cloth from behind. In my attempt to free myself from his grips, a student fell down. He (gunman) left me and held the student that fell by the leg, while I ran with all my strength until I got to the hostel.”
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 aggrieved parents who pleaded anonymity blamed the management of the school for lack of adequate security.
According to them, the school management had been urged several times to raise the fence at the School of Science and Technology, but the suggestion was ignored.
Meanwhile, the Commanding Officer, 174 battalion, Nigerian Army in Ikorodu, Lagos, Lt. Colonel Julius Ogbobe, has ordered his soldiers to comb every nook and cranny for the hoodlums involved in the kidnap saga.
Similarly, the Lagos State Police Command stated that investigation as well as rescue efforts were still ongoing. It, however, did not explain the form of the rescue operation, saying it could jeopardize efforts made so far.