Four of the six male students abducted from Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, on May 25, are ill, a parent quoted the captors of their children as saying. The parent said this on Wednesday when she joined those who staged a protest to government house, Alausa, Ikeja.
About 20 of the parents converged on the government house at 9am, with the mothers crying and shouting until a government official addressed them an hour later. A parent revealed that the abductors said that they would no longer negotiate with them nor allow them to speak with their children.
Toyin Philips, mother of one of the kidnapped boys, 17-year-old Pelumi, asked the government to act fast. ”I want my son back. I sent him to that school because there is no money,” Philips said.
“If I had the money the kidnappers are demanding, I would not have sent my son to that school.’’ The mother of one of the students, Judah, who gave her name simply as Agbaosi, equally urged the government to secure the release of the children fast. “Government, please, don’t let our children die. Let them be released today,” Agbaosi said.
She said the kidnappers were demanding a N100 million ransom. Another parent, Moruf Ramon, whose 19-year-old son, Isiaka, is also being held, said it would be impossible for the parents to raise N100,000 from their pockets. Ramon said the parents offered to give the kidnappers N10 million they were able to raise, but they rejected it.
Dapo Adesega, spokesman for the parents, told government officials and journalists that the kidnappers had decided not to negotiate with the parents anymore but with state government. He said the students had been with the kidnappers for 14 days, urging that the government to initiate dialogue with the abductors urgently.
“Nobody from the government has come to us since the incident occurred two weeks ago yet, we did not come here with placards because we want government to help us,” Adesega said.
“We have been trying to negotiate with them – kidnappers- but they rejected our offer because it is small. “They said we cannot speak with our children again, and that four of them are ill.”
Addressing the parents, Muslim Folami, the state commissioner for local government and community affairs, gave the assurance that the government would do its possible best to secure the children’s release.
“We, therefore, appeal to you to be calm. Government is doing all it can to get the children released,” Folami said. ”Work is going on. Soon, your children will be released to you.”