The teachers and pupils of Apostolic Faith Group of Schools in Emure-Ekiti, Ekiti State, who were abducted last week, have regained their freedom. According to Daily Trust, the abducted individuals were released by their captors around 2:00 a.m. on Sunday.
Adebayo Oluwatosin, the Chairman of Emure Local Government, confirmed the news to Radio Nigeria, stating that the victims were now under the care of the Elemure of Emure Ekiti.
Sadly, the driver was killed during the abduction, while the other eight victims were released after spending approximately seven days with the abductors.
The circumstances surrounding their release, including whether ransom was paid, remain unclear.
Recall that kidnappers had demanded N100m ransom for the release of the nine victims who were abducted on Monday.
The principal of the secondary section of the school, Boje Olanireti, confirmed the development to Punch in an interview on Tuesday.
The abduction occurred as the school bus transporting 25 pupils home after school hours was intercepted by gunmen in the Emure community, just a short distance from the school premises.
Speaking on the incident, Olanireti disclosed that the dire incident occurred 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 N10m for each kidnapped victim. But when they later called the headmaster, they demanded N100m for all of them.”
A family source at Eporo Ekiti, who preferred anonymity, also confirmed on Tuesday that the kidnappers had contacted the family of one of the children demanding N100m on the victims.
The source said, “They called the family of one of the school children and they are requesting N10m 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.’’
Ekiti Police Confirm Release of Kidnapped School Victims, Teachers
The Ekiti State Police Command has verified the liberation of the abducted pupils and staff of Apostolic Faith Group of Schools, Emure Ekiti.
Speaking with Punch on Sunday morning, the state Police Command Spokesperson, Sunday Abutu, confirmed that the abductees were rescued today at about 01.30 am.
Abutu, however, revealed that the driver was dead, stressing that he was killed by the abductors.
He said, “All victims were rescued today at about 1.30 am, but unfortunately, we lost the driver who was suspected killed by the abductors.”
In a chat with the newspaper, a government official at Emure Ekiti confirmed the release of the abductees
He said, “The abductees are here, the parents and family members are here. I will give you details shortly.”
Alos speaking, a source said that officials of the state Ministry of Health were on the ground to take them to Ado Ekiti, the state capital, for medical attention.