A gang of kidnappers has reportedly sent letters to another school in Lagos intimating them of their intention to kidnap pupils and staff.
Punch reports that the alleged kidnappers sent two letters with the same content to the junior and senior sections of the college respectively, a replica of the threat letter sent to the Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, where six students were kidnapped and have been in captivity for over three weeks.
It was gathered that the letters sent to the Kankon schools were posted on the corridors leading to the offices of the two principals.
In the two letters, the kidnappers claimed to be the ones responsible for the abduction of the six Igbonla College students and boasted that no one can stop them from carrying out the new threats.
They also vowed to invade the school in two days and abduct six pupils from Kankon, as well as the two principals of the college, urging parents and the government to get the ransom money prepared.
A copy of the letter reads:
“Kidnappers are visiting the school the same way we did at Igbonla, Epe. We are going to capture three pupils from senior school and three from junior school. We are kidnapping both principals.
We are coming in two days’ time. No security put in place will stop us from gaining entry and fulfilling our mission as stated in this letter. Be expecting us!”
It was further learned that with the receipt of the letters, security agencies and the state government have been on the alert with policemen and soldiers deployed in the school.
However, when the ultimatum given by the suspects elapsed, the security presence around the school reportedly reduced, which caused panic among the students, staff and parents alike.
Some parents who spoke on the issue said they had initially wanted to keep the threat secret but decided otherwise due to the reduction in the number of security operatives manning the school.
One of the parents said he had visited his sick son who is in Junior Secondary School on Saturday, June 10, 2017, when he saw one of the letters.
“As I was passing by the principal’s office, I saw a notice and stopped to read it. I was shocked when I read the content. The principal was not around at that time, but I alerted some staff members present.
I informed the Parents Forum Association chairman who contacted the school authorities. The government and security agencies had also been informed.
A large number of policemen and soldiers were initially deployed in the school. There were also security vans patrolling the school surroundings.
But when I went back four days after, the number of security men had reduced considerably. I saw only two policemen at the school gate.”
Another parent who said he was at the school on Wednesday, June 21 to assess the security situation, said he was disappointed and urged the government to take the threat seriously.
The worried parent also lamented that the school fence was very low while there were bushes at the back of the premises which could be exploited by the hoodlums.
“Part of the bushes had been cleared upon the threat, but there is still a lot to be done. The school fence needs to be raised. There should be light around the fence for safety at night.”
When contacted, the school authorities described the letters as a rumour, saying there was nothing to the threat.
One of the two principals, Sunday Fadaunsi, said:
“We regard the letters as a rumour. Parents and pupils have been circulating it, but nobody can come up with any letter.”
However, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, says the government is aware of the letter, adding that the security of the school, pupils, and staff was guaranteed.
“We are aware and the security agencies are on high alert and alive to their responsibility. Whether it is a threat or a prank, the Lagos State Government will not yield any of its schools or pupils to the evil machinations of kidnappers.
We shall secure our schools and every pupil and tutor. The police and other security agencies are up to the task. This is an assurance to the Model College, Kankon, and the general public.”
The State Police Public Relations Officer [PPRO], ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, also confirmed the development, assuring that the police had beefed up security in the school and other colleges in the coastal areas of the state.
“There is intelligence report that these people (kidnappers) may perpetrate criminal acts at model colleges. The police are using proactive measures to fortify the schools, including Kankon, to prevent what happened in model college, Igbonla.
The Area Commander, Area K, said there is an adequate police presence at the school and there was no cause for alarm.”