Like the fabled Oliver Twist, kidnappers of six students of the Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Ikorodu, have rejected the N6million ransom offered them by parents of the victims, insisting on the N100million they requested from the government.
Speaking on Tuesday, a family source disclosed that the kidnappers declined the ransom offered by the parents, adding that they threatened that they would only accept the N100 million demanded from the government.
Earlier, the parents had resolved to raise the ransom, after claiming that the government had allegedly abandoned them. But they had hinted that they would not be able to raise the entire N100 million ransom.
“Definitely we can’t raise that amount (N100 million),” one of the mothers had said.
“We are trying to gather whatever we can and then beg them to accept it. Where are we going to get N100 million? From where?
“We cannot even raise N10 million. We are just calling on everybody to bring whatever we can get. We collate whatever we have and beg them.
“We are trying to raise loans here and there, calling on our relatives to gather funds, and raise whatever we can raise,” she had explained.
But the family source said on Tuesday that the kidnappers had already declined the ransom offered by the parents.
The source, a sibling to one of the kidnapped students, said the kidnappers maintained that the amount raised was too meagre, insisting that they would only accept the N100 million ransom from government.
“Initially, we raised around N2 million but they rejected it on the ground that it was too small,” she said.
“But later everyone had to rush up and down again to add to the money. So we gathered around N6 million and when we contacted them, they rejected it again.
“The N6 million was supposed to be presented jointly as N1 million per student but they said they do not want… that they only want the government to pay the N100 million ransom.”
When asked about the safety of the students, the source said they only communicated with them twice, adding that the conversations were brief.
“We only hear them say ‘Hello’, and they would just cut it off,” the source said, adding that on occasions when they speak with the kidnappers, they often hear them (the students) in the background screaming for help.
When contacted Tuesday morning, one of the parents refused to speak further on the issue, lamenting the inability of the government to act decisively on the crisis in spite of their outcries.
“Don’t call me anymore on this issue…If there is any positive development I will let you know,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government on Monday said it has begun the construction of security watch towers around the school.
The tower, the government said, would be mounted with surveillance cameras and manned 24 hours to ensure that intruders could be located from afar before they wreak havoc around the school.
A statement issued by the state Ministry of Education said the government also reiterated its plan to secure the students from their abductors.
Earlier, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had promised during the Children’s Day celebration that his government would stop at nothing to ensure the safe return of the abducted children of the school.
The kidnap of the six students was the second such incident in the school in 2017.