Lagos school girls regain freedom

Eniola Ajayi, Lagos

The three female students of Babington Macauley Junior Seminary Ikorodu Lagos, who were kidnapped last week Monday, have regained their freedom.

The girls- Akinayo Deborah, Olusa Oluwatimilehin, Popo-Olaniyan Tofunmi who were said to be in Senior Secondary School (II) classes were rescued through the combined efforts of Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), Lagos State Police Command and other security agencies.

Elated Governor

While breaking the news to journalists in Ikeja, Governor Akinwunmi commended the Lagos State police Command, the Department of State Security and the Nigeria Armed forces for their efforts to ensure the release of the schoolgirls.

“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 Lagos 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,” governor Ambode said.

Family Reunion

The Governor stressed that the three girls had been safely reunited with their families as he assured residents that that their security remained a top priority of government.

Suspects arrested

DSC_7026Meanwhile, three suspects were arrested and paraded in connection with the kidnapping while other members of the gang were still at large. Governor Ambode however warned criminal elements in and around the state that Lagos would not be a safe haven for them.

“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 form 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.

As our daughters are reunited with their mothers and other members of their families, I would like to use this opportunity to wish all mothers in Lagos State and Nigeria at large a happy Mothers’ Day,” he affirmed.

Point of breakthrough

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni, who joined the governor, alongside other Security Chiefs in the State to address the press, said the school girls were rescued around Imota in Ikorodu axis, a few kilometers from the state capital, Ikeja.

Mr Owoseni refused to answer question on the exact location where the suspects were arrested, but one of the suspects- Emmanuel Arigidi said he was arrested in the Ikorodu area of the state.

Suspects account

Arigidi who spoke with Voice of Nigeria said he was a member of a 12-man gang until his arrest. He said one of the gang members introduced him and other members to the kidnap operation which was planned around ‘majidun’ a riverine area on Ikorodu axis. Arigidi said fight broke out among the members when he (Arigidi) decided to back-out of the operation when it seemed the police were closing-in on them (the gang). He stated he decided to run when other members threatened to kill him if he pulled-out. He said it was on the third day that he had been on the run that he was eventually arrested by Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

In his own account, another accomplice, Akanji Seun told Voice of Nigeria that he was arrested because his phone line was discovered to be on the call log of one of the lines used by the gang.

On his part, James Henry who was also arrested said he was into registration of subscribers identity module card (SIM card), but he got involved because he used his picture to register the line used by the gang.

“The name on the line is Olatunde Segun Alabi, when I registered the line, the information I entered bounced back and when it happens like that, you need to use a picture, so I used my own picture because the customer had already collected the sim card and he had left, so in a bid to get the details submitted, I used my picture, that was what led me into this,” Henry stressed.