The kidnapped students of Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, on Friday arrived Lagos from Ondo State after their release from the kidnappers’ den.
The students arrived at the Deputy Governors office, Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, around 9 p.m. Friday night.
Some of their apparently overjoyed parents could not hide their excitement upon seeing the students who had been in captivity since May 25.
PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported how the release of the kids was secured in Ondo State.
The students are Peter Jonah, Isiaq Rahmon, Adebayo George, Judah Agbausi, Pelumi Philips and Farouq Yusuf.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, the mother of Peter Jonah said she was thankful that her son came back from the abductors’ den unhurt.
“I am very grateful; that my son stayed with them for that long and finally our pain is over… I am very grateful to God,” she said.
About twenty suspected kidnappers of the pupils were killed in gun duels with security operatives in the events leading to the release of the pupils on Friday, the police said.
Shortly after their release, PREMIUM TIMES had reported that the pupils were on their way to Lagos. Our correspondent learnt that the pupils were expected to have arrived earlier but they were delayed by traffic on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
While receiving the students, the Lagos State Deputy Governor, Idiat Adebule, said the state government would intensify security in public schools before the next term begins.
“We plan to have comprehensive medical check-up on the children and they will be debriefed in collaboration with other stakeholders. We are going back to the drawing board to ensure that all that needs to be done in terms of security before the resumption of schools is done,” she said.
The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who was instrumental to the release of the boys, noted that combined efforts of the South-West governors and security agencies led to the release of the pupils.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said 20 members of the gang involved in the abduction of the pupils were killed in gun duels with security operatives, adding that two of them were kingpins named as Bright Adeniyi and Oniwe Iyelabo, aka America.
“America and two others were killed on July 18 when they attempted to invade a marine police post. The suspect that swindled the parents has been arrested,” he said.
There were reports that ransom were paid to secure the release of the boys but the police chief did not dwell on that.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, on Friday congratulated the parents of the pupils for the release of their kids.
He, however, reiterated the position of the state government that the students would undergo medical tests and trauma therapy before they are allowed to return to their families.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES Friday night, a relative to one of the kids who craved anonymity, said the parents had been anguished for a long time.
“This is a welcome development, our sorrows are no more. We are happy,” she told PREMIUM TIMES in Lagos.
Journalists were, however, prevented from speaking with the students.