Recharge card seller admits feeding militants information
Militants’ leader, America, who led his men two weeks ago to abduct six students from the Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, has reduced the ransom from N100 million to N50 million.
The reduction on Wednesday came a few hours after distraught parents stormed the office of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, demanding unconditional release of their children from the hands of their captors.
This is the third time the kidnappers had reduced the ransom, which started from over a billion naira after they abducted the children. Before the latest reduction, parents had rallied and contributed N10 million but the kidnappers rejected it.
One of the parents said: “I was the person the kidnappers called on Tuesday; they said we should hasten up and bring the ransom. It was on that Tuesday that they told us that four of our children were sick.
They told me that they were inside the creek with our children that they didn’t have medications to give to the children.
“When they called me, I was begging them to collect N10 million. I told him (the caller) that we didn’t even have the N10 million complete. We only had N6 million, that if they accept N10 million, we would rally round to look for the remaining N4 million.
“I told him that we would need like four days to raise the N4 million.
He replied that the N10 million was not for them. He said we should liaise with government for the ransom.”
Another parent said: “I don’t know where they expect us to get N50 million from.
We barely managed to raise the N10 million, which we had been begging them to collect.”
The reduction of the ransom came just as security sources told our correspondent that the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni, determined to check the escalating trend of kidnapping in the state, had placed some policemen on watch list.
According to sources, Owoseni is suspecting that some of his policemen are working with the militants and also feeding them information on the activities of the operatives hunting the kidnappers and attempting to rescue the abducted students.
Owoseni’s drastic action came two weeks after a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) disclosed that the militants were working in synergy with some policemen, Army and naval personnel.
While attempting to catch moles in the police, Owoseni and his men trailed and nailed a recharged card seller identified as Gbenga.
The recharged card seller, after his arrest, admitted to giving information to militants. He, however, denied assisting the militants that abducted the school children.
According to him, he was only connected to militants that used to abduct victims in Ikorodu area of Lagos State. “The suspect used to pose as a recharge card seller.
He used to go to police stations and gather information, which he would pass on to the militants.
He confessed not to know anything about the abduction of the children, but admitted having connection with kidnappers in Ikorodu,” said a security source.
The security agent, who said he knew that Owoseni would soon fish out bad eggs in the police, making police work difficult, said that commissioner had vowed to deal with such moles.
A retired Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Mr AbduRahman Akano, said that prayers should be offered for the abducted children. He said: “We pray and ask God to rescue the children safely. God should also make them to be in good health.
Let all Nigerians imbibe Mr President’s mantra of ‘change begins with me.’
The change should start within us and the spirit of change should be imbibed. Also, morality shouldn’t be politicised. I can assure you that agencies, government agencies and other relevant agencies in the society are re-strategising and building arsenals to rescue the kids.”
The National Coordinator of Network on Police Reforms in Nigeria (NOPRIN), Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma, described the continual captivity of the students as worrisome.
He said: “First of all, it is worrisome because both the Lagos State government and the Inspector General of Police made firm promises that they were going to rescue those children alive and safe; but after two weeks now, nothing has happened.
“I also learnt that the parents of those children are complaining that the government had not approached them and convinced them that they are genuinely concerned about the issue of their children.”
The publisher of the Chief Detective magazine, Mr. Dipo Kehinde, said: “It is getting so long now and those innocent students are still there with the kidnappers.
This is not the first, second or third time abduction of children had happened. I think security agents should have designed better ways to protect that community.
When you start having recurring incidents, there shouldn’t be excuses again, because definitely you know these people will strike and strike again.”