By Adeola Ogunrinde
The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs.) Idiat Oluranti Adebule, on Wednesday paid a visit to the Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School, Ikorodu, where three female students were kidnapped on Monday evening, assuring that the government was fully on top of the situation.
Adebule, who was accompanied by top government functionaries and the heads of security agencies in the state, said as a mother and Commissioner for Education, she could imagine the pains the parents are going through as a result of the unfortunate development, but added that government would leave no stone unturned until the three girls are rescued alive.
She said the state government, under the leadership of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, was concerned about the plight of the affected parents and the school, and that it was on top of the situation and working hard in conjunction with security agencies to promptly reunite the children with their families.
She also appealed to the kidnappers to release the girls immediately, as the victims were innocent of whatever reasons that prompted their action.
The Deputy Governor said: “On behalf of the Governor and all of us in the Ministry of Education, we are here to share your pain and off course to see firsthand what has happened on Monday. The Governor has directed that we assure you and the general public that with the combined efforts of all the security agencies that the children, by the grace of God, will be rescued very soon.
“This came as a rude shock to us because nobody anticipated it; it’s quite unfortunate and very worrisome but I like to assure you that by the grace of God, we are going to receive good news very shortly.
“For the abductors, I just want to appeal to them that they should see that the people with them are children who do not know anything and in the spirit of that and the fact that they also have their children, they should release the children to their parents. We appeal to their conscience that whatever reasons they might have for doing this, the children are innocent and we passionately appeal to them to release the children.
“For the parents at home, they should just be calm, government is on top of the situation and we want to assure that with the combined efforts of security agencies, we will rescue these girls alive very soon. Again, as the Commissioner of Education and as a mother, I feel the pains of the parents and I like them to know that our hearts are with them and the state government under the leadership of his Excellency, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the rescue of these girls very soon”.
Earlier, the Proprietor of the School and Bishop of Remo Diocese of Anglican Church of Nigeria, Dr. Michael Fape, commended the state government for the quick response to the distress call made on the kidnap, saying the action of government and the security agencies were encouraging and assuring that the girls would soon be rescued.
“We can’t thank you enough. We are sure these girls will be rescued. And of course the way the Lagos State Government has risen to the task of rescuing these girls also gives us a lot of encouragement.
“The Governor himself and the Commissioner of Police and every one of them have been on top of the situation. Their efforts have been so encouraging and we sincerely thank them. We thank your Excellency for finding out time to come here in person despite your tight schedule. As Bishop in charge of this diocese, we have only come to see things for ourselves too. We trust God that God on our side and the efforts being put in place by the state government, these children will be recovered,” the Bishop said.
Also, the Principal of the school, Ven. Olaoluwa Adeyemi, told the Deputy Governor and her team that the kidnappers gained access to the school premises through a deep hole they effected on the fence of the school.
He said after the kidnappers gained entrance, they started shooting sporadically into the air, and eventually overpowered the security personnel in the school, as the hoodlums came with superior weapons.
Adeyemi added: “The security in school tried to combat them but the weapons they came with were very heavy. They went into the classrooms; the students in fact put up a good fight but the kidnappers overpowered just about three students and whisked them away.
“Immediately, we called the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, because fortunately I have his number and immediately the Governor was informed and within the space of two to three hours, the school was filled with security people. All the security agencies combed the environment here till morning. Apparently, we could not get them but since then, security people have been really working hard.
“We like to appreciate the Lagos State Government in particular for the quick response. Everybody have been coming; the police, DSS. In fact, the CP himself led the helicopter surveillance yesterday and they went all around.
“We have spoken this morning and he is on his way here. We pray that God will crown the efforts with great success and our children will be back with us save and sound. God will intervene and Nigeria will be a better place for all of us.
“Three children were involved and we have contacted their parents and tried to discuss with them and other security information are with the security agents,” he narrated.