Kidnappers of five pupils of Apostolic Faith Group of Schools, Emure Ekiti, and four staff members have demanded N100 million ransom for the release of the nine victims who were taken away on Monday. The principal of the secondary section of the school, Boje Olanireti, confirmed the ransom demand, in an interview with Punch on Tuesday.
The abduction epidemic has continued to defy the efforts of the security agencies as cases of kidnappings were being recorded in various parts of the country daily. The abduction of the schoolchildren and four staff members occurred when the gunmen waylaid the school bus conveying 25 pupils home after school hours in the Emure community in Ekiti State.
Shedding light on how the incident occurred, Olanireti explained that the abduction happened about a five-minute drive from the school. She said, “Immediately the school closed at 3 pm, and by the time we gathered all the children, it was already 3:30 pm. It was that time that they moved. So, the incident happened between 3:30 pm and 4 pm. The school is in a suburb of Emure village, so they were going back home in Eporo. The incident occurred just about a five-minute drive from the school to Eporo.
“When the gunmen attacked, the people around heard the gunshots, and they came to Emure with motorcycles to inform the people in the school about what happened. We immediately reported to the police station at Emure. The students were over 25 on the bus when the incident happened. When the gunmen attacked them, they shot the tyre of the vehicle and asked the children to come out of the bus. They asked all of them to lie down. They picked five students and four staff members. They, after that, asked others to go.”
Olanireti added, “The five students comprise two from the secondary (school) and three from primary school while the four staff comprise two teachers, one driver and one bus assistant. When the parents heard about the incident, they came from Eporo, and they have been making frantic efforts by reaching out to some security outfits, including the police and Amotekun.’’
“The security operatives have also been talking to the proprietor of the primary school, and he has been giving them information. By the time they opened communication, they first called the husband of one of the teachers and demanded N10 million for each kidnapped victim. But when they later called the headmaster, they demanded N100m for all of them.” the principal said.
A family source at Eporo Ekiti, who preferred anonymity, confirmed on Tuesday that the kidnappers had contacted the family of one of the children demanding N100 million on the victims. The source said, “They called the family of one of the school children, and they are requesting N10 million per victim. What we gathered is that there are nine persons kidnapped – five schoolchildren, two teachers, one bus assistant, and a driver. The parents are at Eporo. The bus was taking them home after closing. It was in the process that the kidnappers struck. None of the families of the abductees can afford the ransom,’’ he stated.
Meanwhile, the corpses of two brothers were discovered inside the booth of their Toyota Corolla, along the EnuguOnitsha Expressway, close to Tempo Mills, Umunya, Anambra State. The brothers, identified as Onyema and Nonso, were believed to have been murdered while on their way home after attending a Church programme along Oguta Road, near Upper Iweka, Onitsha.
Initially, when the gory video of the bodies inside the trunk made the rounds on WhatsApp on Sunday, Jan. 28, most people thought they were the bodies of a husband and wife. But it was later confirmed to be the bodies of the two brothers. According to a cleric, Venerable Emmanuel Onovo, the deceased were brothers who were members of the Anglican Communion in the state.
Onovo, who is based in Aguleri, stated this in a post he made on his Facebook page. He wrote, “They are my two sons in the Anglican Children’s Ministry, Omogba, Onitsha years back. I called their parents yesterday to offer them prayers.”
Another Facebook user wrote, “Two blood brothers kidnapped and killed in Anambra State yesterday…Ala Igbo has eaten their own flesh and drank lots of their own bloods. They attended a church programme at Oguta Road, Onitsha as I was told yesterday only for them to be found at Umunya junction in the trunk of their car!!! Negodu men. This is really really heartbreaking.”
It is not clear why the brothers were murdered but there are speculations that they were victims of a kidnap attempt. The death of the brothers has caused panic in the area.
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