Though the abducted girls, Timilehin Olusa, Tofunmi Popoolaniyan and Deborah Akinayo, all SS2 students, were shielded from press coverage because they are under-age, three of the abductors were paraded at Lagos, Ikeja House by the police at a press briefing.
Addressing journalists at the Lagos House, Ikeja, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode warned that the state government would not tolerate kidnapping or any forms of crime in the state.
He said: “The state government is extremely pleased to announce that the three students of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School in Ikorodu who were abducted by Gunmen on Monday 29th February, 2016 were rescued by security operatives in the early hours of today, Sunday, 6th March, 2016.
“The Lagos State police Command, the Department of State Security and members of the Armed forces worked tirelessly round the clock in the last six days to secure the release of the children. I thank them for a good job.
“The three girls have been safely re-united with their families and the Government wishes to assure Lagosians that their security is top priority and it will not relent in ensuring that Lagos remains safe and secure.
“I am reliably informed that one of the suspected kidnappers – one Emmanuel – Arigidi was arrested during the operation to secure the release of the abducted children.
“Let me warn that the State Government will not tolerate kidnapping or any forms of crime in the State. Our position is clear and unambiguous, Lagos state has the capacity and the will to go after every form of crime and criminality in order to safeguard lives and property in the state.”
No ransom was paid to release abducted girls, Says Commissioner of Police
Though the abductors had initially demanded N200 million ransom and later reduced it to N10 million, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police Fatai Owoseni said no ransom was paid to secure the release the girls.
He said: “Someone had mentioned that he saw more than a suspect, but actually three suspects were arrested, one was actively involved, two others are conspirators who one way or the other aided the kidnapping. With respect to the state of the girls, they are very well, they are very stable and immediate medical attention was given to them just to check them up.
“Medical check-up has been given to them by police medical team and I can as well tell you that as we picked them up, one of the questions we asked was whether they were molested and the three of them stated that unequivocally that they were not molested in any way.
“Someone had mentioned ransom, it is unfortunate that we keep on mentioning ransom. When you talk of ransom in cases like this, you are glorifying that. We should not be talking of that again in this country because if we are talking of ransom, you are telling others that kidnapping is viable and they can be going and kidnapping people to collect money.
” I want to also say that what was employed in rescuing the girls is more of application of intelligence policing using the platform of technology, partnering with members of the community, pressures on the kidnappers and with that pressure they found out that there was no way for them again to keep these girls and that was what led to the success in saving the girls.
“As to where the girls were rescued, it is around Imota area. As to where we picked our suspects, leave that to the police, we wouldn’t jeopardice our investigation.”