Three persons have been arrested over last Thursday’s kidnap of six pupils of Lagos State Model College in Igbonla, Epe, The Nation learnt yesterday.
The pupils – Yusuf Farouk, Ramon Isiaka, Pelumi Phillips, Peter Jonas, Adebanjo George and Judah Agbaosi – were snatched away from their school premises.
The kidnappers contacted some of the parents, demanding N400 million ransom.
They had also threatened to relocate the children to the South south creeks should the parents fail to pay the ransom.
The suspects are believed to be members of a gang that is behind kidnappings in Epe and its environs.
The gang is believed to have been involved in the kidnapping of the Oniba of Iba and pupils and workers of the Turkish International School in Isheri North of Ogun State.
Egelu Endurance, 25, aka Jubby, Stanley Yomi Irabomini (Powei), 25, and Bentel Endurance, 24— all from Ovia South Local Government Area of Edo State — were arrested on Tuesday in Benin City by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
The IRT operatives, led by Abba Kyari, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), arrested the suspects when they (the suspects) visited an injured colleague.
He was said to have been injured during a gun battle with the police. It could not be ascertained where the gun battle took place.
The suspects, according to sources, had confessed to participating in several high profile kidnappings in the South.
They may have told detectives where the kidnapped pupils are held.
A source said: “They confessed to having participated in various kidnappings of prominent personalities in Lagos and Ogun states, including the Oniba of Iba, the Turkish School pupils, the Isheri landlords and the Epe school children.
“The suspects claimed they came to Benin to see their injured colleague and also to relax for a while before going back to the creeks. Serious efforts to arrest the remaining gang members and rescue the school children are in progress.”
Also yesterday, the pupils’ parents said they had not heard from the kidnappers again. According to them, the telephone number they used to contact them was no longer going through.
Yesterday at the House of Representatives, members commended the police for the swift response to the abduction of the kids. This was sequel to a motion by Hon. Tasir Olawale Raji from Lagos.
The lawmakers also called on Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris to spare no effort towards the rescue of the kidnaped pupils as soon as possible and to put measures in place to prevent its reoccurrence.
Also yesterday, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly Segun Olulade, appealed to the kidnappers to release the pupils.
Olulade (Epe Constituency II), said the pupils were innocent and should not be going through such ordeal.
“It is a sad incident that we have not been able to recover from. We have been talking with the affected parents. We share the pains of the parents and their concerns; we know it is not easy. We want to appeal to those involved in this nefarious act to please release these innocent children. The kidnappers should consider the pains of the victims’ parents and relations.
“We call on all parents, especially mothers, to join us to pray for the safety of these children. The government and the security agencies are frantically working to ensure their release,” he said.
Olulade urged the security operatives to do more to stamp out criminality in the state, saying: “We appreciate the efforts of the security agencies and we know they can still do more; we want them to continue to protect lives and property according to their mandate. We believe that they have all it takes to do the needful.