Parents of the six students kidnapped at the Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, have resolved to raise funds to secure the release of their kids.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES Sunday morning, the parents said they decided to raise the funds after the government allegedly abandoned them to their plight.
“What we wanted to do as parents was to beg them to listen to us so we can give them whatever we could raise,” said one of the parents, who craved to be anonymous.
“But they said ‘No’, they only wanted to negotiate with the government. They said they don’t want the stipend that we could raise.
“But now we have to raise the fund. We are raising whatever we can. Or what are we going to do?”
The parents had in an exclusive chat with PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday, lamented the poor attitude of the government towards rescuing the kidnapped students.
While narrating their ordeals, they had disclosed that the kidnappers were demanding N100 million as ransom, as against the N400 million they had initially asked for.
But they said they could not afford the money, adding that the kidnappers said they would only want to negotiate with the government.
“We are retired civil servants, fishermen, pensioners…there is absolutely no way we could raise N100 million and the government has said that it was not going to negotiate with kidnappers, so we are in confusion,” an elderly man who spoke on behalf of the rest of the parents, had said.
But in an interview with our correspondent on Sunday, the parents said they had agreed to raise whatever they can raise from the ransom.
One of the mothers said, “Definitely we can’t raise that amount (N100 million). We are trying to gather whatever we can and then beg them to accept it. Where are we going to get N100 million? From where?
“We cannot even raise N10 million. We are just calling on everybody to bring whatever we can get. We collate whatever we have and beg them.
“We are trying to raise loans here and there, calling on our relatives to gather funds, and raise whatever we can raise,” she explained.
When asked about the position of the government on the issue, the parents said the government had not been helpful, adding they had to resolve to personal help.
“I don’t even want to hear about government again,” said one of the angry parents.
“What government? Do we have government? The only hope we have now is if newspapers can report it and they (kidnappers) hear about it, they will know government is not helping us. They will listen to us. It’s eleven days now…,” she lamented.
PREMIUM TIMES efforts to reach the Lagos State government to get its position, however, proved abortive.
The state Commissioner for Information, Steve Ayorinde, didn’t pick his calls nor respond to text messages sent to his mobile.
Similarly, the spokesperson of the Lagos Police Command, Olarinde Famous-Cole, could not be reached as at the time of filing this report.
But when contacted on Saturday Morning, Mr. Famous-Cole had said that the command was not informed of the reduced ransom of N100 million demanded by the kidnappers.
“I am saying that we do not negotiate or communicate with such people so there is no way I will be getting information from them,” he had said.
The students were abducted at around 5 a.m. on May 25 by unknown gunmen, who arrived through a creek behind the school.
The hoodlums broke through the school’s fence to gain access into the premises.
The incident occurred seven months after gunmen kidnapped two teachers and four pupils of the same school, although the victims were later freed.
The six students still with the kidnappers are Peter Jonah, Isiaq Rahmon, Adebayo George, Judah Agbausi, Pelumi Philips and Farouq Yusuf.
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