15 Schools now kidnappers’ targets of choice
As school-related abductions rise, at the disturbing trend. looks
Not less than 11 children have been kidnapped in the past six months across the country with millions demanded for their release. The most recent happened on January 14 2017. Five students, including Stephanie Nwosu (JSS1), Zainab Olatunbosun (JSS2), and Rebecca Agoodi (SS2); Rodia Amina and Annat (JAMB scholarship students) were captured along with three staff. They were kidnapped at night at the premises of the Nigerian Tulip International Colleges (NTIC), Isheri in Ogu State. The attackers were armed and opened fire before escaping with their hostages.
According to a statement by the spokesperson of NTIC schools, Cemal Yigit, the incident happened at about 9.30pm when the armed kidnappers gained entrance to the girls’ section of the school. He said upon hearing the security alarm and sighting the school’s security personnel, the armed invaders opened fire and managed to escape through a very dangerous route with their hostages.
The kidnappers were later said to have demanded the sum of N700m. Reports revealed that a suspect, Philip Joel Kakadu (aka General Kakadu), was arrested by the officials of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) in Warri, Delta State. He named five other accomplices. The victims of the abduction were recently released by their abductors on Tuesday night.
October 2016 saw three incidences of kidnapping from three states, including Niger, Lagos, and Kaduna states. The first took place on October 5 when two students of Government Vocational School in Niger State, Sarah Danjuma and Martha Daniels were captured from their hostel. Fortunately, the police command was able to rescue them in a raid. The Niger State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana said the two abducted students of the Rijau Vocational School were rescued by men of the command after more than two hours of gun battle with the gunmen.
A similar event took place in far-away Lagos suburb the very next day where four students (including a Vice Principal and teacher) became victims from Lagos State Model College, Igbonla. Two of the students were said to have escaped from the grip of their captors. The kidnappers, numbering about seven, had invaded the school premises at about 8am when students were having a special session at their hall. Witnesses said the gunmen stormed the school premises through the river in three speed boats. They then smashed part of the fence of the college, stormed the school assembly ground and snatched six persons. Among those abducted was Lukman Oyerinde, said to be the elder brother of the slain Olaitan Oyerinde, a former aide to Governor Adam Oshiomhole.
A ransom of N3.5 million was demanded and reports indicated an unspecified amount was paid for their release. The suspects, said to be militants, came in speed boats. This was about six months (March) after three female students from Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School in Ikorodu, a suburb of Lagos were abducted.
The third case of kidnapping in October was on the 7, but this time in Birnin Gwari part of Kaduna State. The victims were Saminu Aliyu Kiri, a lecturer of Bayero University Kano and two others. His release was later confirmed by the institution.
Onyebuchi Okwueze, student of the University of Calabar (Unical) in Cross Rivers State and son of a dean was kidnapped on September 7 while two other persons received gunshot wounds following the invasion of the institution’s staff quarters by kidnappers who also robbed their victims of valuable property. N1 million was demanded by the hoodlums.
There has hardly been a two-month reprieve from cases of kidnappings in the country. In Rivers State it appeared to be a season of lecturers’ kidnappings when Dr. Reginald Ohiri was abducted on August 1 and Professor John Okoli on the 9th. Both were lecturing in the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT). However, reports said Ohiri was released after his captors found out he wasn’t their target, despite a N2 million ransom.
The kidnap of a lecturer, Abiye Ogan on June 26 turned dramatic when his colleagues went on strike as a form of protest. Ogan taught in the Department of Science and Laboratory Technology of Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic. But he was later said to have been rescued by security operatives.
From January 2015 and January 2017 Nigeria has witnessed 22 school-related kidnappings, where the abductees were either students or staff. The most recent case in Tulip International Colleges brought a lot of outcry from parents and teachers. Through the National ParentTeacher Association of Nigeria and other associations, they called on an emergency meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Deputy National President of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Chief Yomi Otubela, reminded that last year the association asked government to provide armed security in all the streets that have schools. He stressed that it will be one of the issues they will like to discuss.
From 2015 till date, Nigeria has recorded about 22 school-related abductions.