Ekiti kidnapping: We Got Our Children Released with N15m, Fried Rice With Chicken, Energy Drinks, Tramadol – Parents

A group of gunmen kidnapped five pupils and four staff members of the Apostolic Faith Group of Schools, Emure-Ekiti, last Monday. They ambushed the school bus on its way to Eporo-Ekiti and took the hostages to a forest. The kidnappers initially asked for N100 million as ransom, but later reduced it to N15 million after negotiations.

The families of the victims, with the help of the community and other indigenes, raised the ransom and delivered it to the kidnappers on Saturday night. The kidnappers also demanded other items such as fried rice, drinks, and tramadol, a painkiller and narcotic drug. The hostages were released in a forest between Owo and Oba-Akoko in Ondo State around 1:30 am on Sunday.

However, the driver of the school bus was killed by the kidnappers after he failed to provide the phone numbers of his relatives. The kidnappers hit him with their gun and shot him dead on Saturday morning. They also burnt his corpse in the bush. The pupils and staff witnessed the brutal murder of the driver and described it as a traumatic experience.

The families of the victims thanked God for their safe return and appreciated the efforts of the state government and the security agencies. They also recounted the ordeal of retrieving the victims from the bush. They said the kidnappers instructed them to meet them at Ikare Junction and buy food for them. They then directed them to a rough road that only big vehicles could pass. They warned them not to bring more than two people or they would kill the hostages. They used a motorcycle to trace the kidnappers to their hideout and collect the victims.

Relatives of the victims said that the hostages were released in a forest between Owo and Oba-Akoko in Ondo State at about 1:30 am on Sunday.

One of the parents of the victims, who craved anonymity, revealed that members of the community and other indigenes, both at home and abroad, contributed to the ransom.

He stated that the kidnappers asked the family to bring the ransom, along with other items such as fried rice, drinks, and tramadol, to the forest to secure the release of the eight victims.

The family source disclosed that the driver was killed by the kidnappers after he was said to have reneged on dropping the telephone numbers of his relatives to call for ransom.

According to one of the parents: “We have to thank God for the safe return of our children and wives from the forest after they were kidnapped on Monday.

“The kidnappers insisted on collecting N15 million on Saturday, and we rallied the communities, including our people outside the country, to raise the ransom. They even collected a cartoon of tin milk, Black Bullet, fried rice with chicken, soft and energy drinks, and tramadol from us.

“We were asked to take the money and the items to a bush in Ondo State, a farmstead called Ago Paanu at about 7 pm. It is between Oba Akoko and Owo. Before they could release them, they confirmed the money and those items. We walked through the bush till around 1 am when we saw the victims.”

On why the driver was killed by the gunmen, the family source said: “The children told us that when they (kidnappers) were asking for the telephone number of relatives to call from each of them in the forest, the driver told them he didn’t know that of his wife and the school proprietor’s offhand. This made them angry, and they hit him with their gun.

“For five days, he was said to be having issues after the injury he sustained, and was shot dead on Saturday morning. The most painful was that his corpse was burnt in the bush, according to what the pupils told us.

“It was a bitter experience for the victims, especially looking at how the driver was killed. We appreciate the efforts of the state government and the security agencies.”

Recounting how they retrieved the victims in the bush, a parent who spoke at the premises of the hospital said: “The kidnappers were calling persistently that we should hurry up. They said we should meet them at Ikare Junction. I wondered how come Ikare junction when they kidnap the children at Eporo.

“When we got to Ikare Junction, he said we should buy food, so we went to buy rice and meat. When we were about to get to Waterworks, he told us that we should turn back. Then the kidnapper described a road that only big vehicles could pass. We decided that all of us should not go there so that they would not think that we came with policemen, and that could make them injure the abductees with them.

“When we told them we were on the path, he said only two persons should come. He threatened to waste the kidnapped persons if more than two persons came. Only two continued while the rest of us sat on the road there. The driver of the vehicle and one person continued far into the forest and drove back. So, they now used a motorcycle to trace the kidnappers to drop the money and the food.

“On collecting the money and food, he released the kidnapped persons. They used a motorcycle to bring the kidnapped persons to the road; that was when they called us to bring the vehicle to convey them. The kidnappers collected N15 million. We (parents and families) contributed N4 million, people came to our aid by contributing the rest. Even in the markets, they contributed so that they would be rescued.”

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