Abductors Demand N100m Ransom for Ekiti Schoolchildren and Teachers
Kidnappers have issued a chilling demand for the release of nine victims, including five pupils from the Apostolic Faith Group of Schools, Emure Ekiti, and four staff members. The perpetrators are demanding a hefty N100 million ransom for their freedom.
The distressing revelation was confirmed by Boje Olanireti, the principal of the school’s secondary section, in an interview with The PUNCH on Tuesday.
This latest incident adds to the alarming trend of kidnappings sweeping across various regions of Nigeria, defying efforts by security agencies to curb the menace.
In a tragic turn of events on Monday, gunmen ambushed and killed two prominent monarchs in Ekiti State – the Onimojo of Imojo, Oba Olatunde Olusola, and the Elesun of Esun Ekiti, Oba Babatunde Ogunsakin. Another monarch, the Alara of Ara Ekiti, Oba Adebayo Fatoba, narrowly escaped the attack.
The abduction of the schoolchildren and staff members occurred as a school bus carrying 25 pupils home after classes was intercepted by armed assailants in the Emure community of Ekiti State.
Providing insights into the harrowing ordeal, Olanireti disclosed that the abduction took place a mere five-minute drive from the school premises.
“The incident happened between 3:30 pm and 4:00 pm when the gunmen attacked the school bus, forcing the children and staff to disembark and lie down,” Olanireti recounted. “Five students and four staff members were then abducted, while the others were allowed to leave.”
The victims include two secondary school students, three primary school students, two teachers, a driver, and a bus assistant, according to Olanireti.
Families of the abducted victims have been plunged into despair, with the kidnappers demanding an exorbitant ransom of N100 million. Desperate efforts are underway to secure the safe release of the hostages, with appeals for governmental intervention gaining momentum.
Expressing grave concern over the escalating security crisis, the Aremo of Emure Kingdom, Chief Clement Akinola, implored the state government to intervene urgently in securing the release of the abducted children and staff.
Akinola emphasized the need for enhanced security measures along the porous borders between Ekiti State and neighboring regions, advocating for the establishment of military checkpoints to deter criminal activities.
Meanwhile, the Joint Security Committee of Ise, Emure, and Ikere echoed Akinola’s sentiments, emphasizing the vulnerability of the region to recurrent kidnappings due to its porous boundaries.
In a significant development, the police in Ekiti State announced the arrest of five suspected kidnappers in connection with the abduction. The suspects were apprehended during a coordinated operation involving multiple security agencies.
The resolve to combat the scourge of kidnapping received further impetus as President Bola Tinubu condemned the heinous acts and directed security agencies to intensify efforts to rescue the abducted pupils and teachers.
In a related development, the Nigerian Senate convened a special session to address the worsening insecurity plaguing the nation. Service chiefs were summoned to provide insights into strategies aimed at addressing the pervasive threats.
Amidst the prevailing security challenges, leaders across various spheres have called for decisive action and collaboration to stem the tide of violence and restore peace and security across the nation.
As the nation grapples with the alarming surge in kidnappings and related crimes, concerted efforts are underway to safeguard communities and ensure the safe return of abducted individuals.