It was weeping and wailing on Wednesday morning as parents of kidnapped students of the Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe stormed the office of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to demand for the release of their children 14 days after they were abducted by gunmen.
The parents said the kidnappers told them on Tuesday that four of their children were now sick and that they would henceforth not negotiate with the parents again or allowed them to speak with their children, insisting that they wanted to negotiate with the government.
Mothers of the children were seeing weeping and wailing profusely and calling on the state government to do something urgently to get their children released.
A woman who refused to give her name was overtaken by emotion as she was wailing at the top of her voice, calling on government to get her child identified as Isiaka out of the kidnappers’ den immediately.
Mrs. Toyin Philips, mother of Pelumi, a 17-year old student who was kidnapped was seen weeping and demanding government’s intervention in the situation.
“I want my son back. I sent my son to the school because there was no money. If I had the money they are demanding for, would I have sent my son to that school?” She asked.
“We are the one negotiating with the kidnappers. The kidnappers said they wanted N100 million. Government, please, don’t let our children die. Let their release be done today,” lamented another parent, Mrs Agbaosi, whose son Judah, is among those kidnapped.
Spokesperson of the parents, Mr. Dapo Adesega lamented that their children had been with the kidnappers for 14 days and that government had not deemed it fit to communicate with them.
“If you don’t communicate with us, how do we know that government cares for our plight. If we had not come here today, we won’t have heard anything from the government,” he told government officials who were sent to address them.
“Nobody from the government has come to us since the incident occurred two weeks ago, we did not come here with placards because we want government to help us. Please, government should help us. We have been trying to negotiate with them but they rejected our offer because it is too small.
“They said we cannot speak with our children again as four of them are ill. We want government to help us, we are trusting in you. Our kids are not allowed to talk to us again, I took my child to a government, so the government should help us,” he stated.
Another parent, Moruf Ramon, whose 19-year old son Isiaka Ramon is still being held by the kidnappers said the kidnappers had refused to negotiate with them any further as what they offered to pay them was small.
He said there was no way they could raise such huge ransom of N100 million being demanded by the kidnappers, adding that so far, the parents offered to give the kidnappers N10 million they raised, but that they rejected it.
Officials of the Lagos State Government came to address the parents and assured them that government would stop at nothing until the children were released.
The government’s delegate was led by the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Muslim Folami. Others are the Special Adviser to the Governor on Community and Communications, Kehinde Bamigbetan and the Special Adviser to the Governor on the Environment, Babatunde Hunpe.
Speaking, Folami appealed to the parents to be calm and that government was doing all it could to get the children released, saying that government was embarrassed that such a thing could occur on its school.
He told the parents that the state government had been working round the clock to ensure the release of the children and that it would happen very soon.
When the parents asked how soon, Folami said he could not tell, but that there was no way government could disclosed certain intelligent information at its disposal.
“Work is going on and soon, your children will be released to you. We cannot give you intelligent report now,” he said.
Also speaking, Bamigbetan said government knew the pains the parents were going through and that everything would be done to get the children released very soon, while appealing for calm.