■ Teacher, housemistress, cook also victims ■ We’ll rescue victims soon, Ogun Dep Gov assures
Stories from Laide
Fresh facts have emerged on how gunmen suspected to be kidnappers, stormed the Ogun State branch of the Nigerian Turkish International College, NTIC, on Friday night and abducted five students and three members of staff.
Giving the account of the incident which occurred about 9.20p.m on the fateful day, the Principal of the school, situated in Isheri area of Ogun State, Yunus Emre Dogan and the Security Adviser, Stephen Adewunmi, said the gunmen came into the school and started shooting sporadically.
The school Principal gave the details of the incident, when the Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, led other members of Ogun State Executive Council to the school for an on-the-spot assessment.
Security operatives including the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, AIG Zone II, Kayode Oluranti, the state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Ilyasu; the State Director of State Security, DSS, Kabiru Sanni, were all on hand to assess the situation.
Speaking further, Dogan stated that the gunmen stormed the premises of the school, built in a swampy area and made away with three regular students, two others who were preparing for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board examination, and three members of staff.
According to him, the abductors, after gaining entrance into the school premises, immediately headed for the female hostel where three students were kidnapped alongside the house mistress and the Mathematics teacher, who is a Turkish national, and a kitchen staff.
Explaining how the kidnappers got into the school, he said that the abductors made a big hole in the perimeter wall of the school to gain entrance and also escaped through it.
Addressing parents of the students, the deputy governor, said the state government was on top of the situation to ensure the safe return of the kidnapped students, adding that the government had immediately put security measures on ground.
“We are here to express our concern and sympathy. It is unfortunate that this is happening barely few days after resumption of the school. When we heard about it, we quickly sprang into action, hence the urgent visit.
“Our government has put necessary security measures in place for the rescue of the abductees. Ogun State is already in action. Let me reassure you that we are going to rescue the victims soon,” the deputy governor said.
She, however, called for calm, urging the parents not to take panic actions by withdrawing their children from the school.
“No doubt, it does happen once in a while but it’s unfortunate; the state is aware and we are doing the work, we will do all that is possible for the safe return of the children. The FG is aware and they have also assured us that very, very soon, they would be rescued.
“It’s not the time to start taking children out of the schools, the security operatives are all on ground to ensure safety of lives and property of the school. We will do all that is possible to make sure the school is safe and the school authority is also doing what is possible to ensure that the state is safe,” she added.
Parents storm school, demand two-week closure
Parents yesterday stormed the Nigerian Turkish International Colleges, NTIC, demanding that the school be shut down for two weeks, within which they expect adequate security measures to be put in place.
This, according to them, became necessary as the remaining students would have been traumatised and would need a break before activities resume in the school.
One of the parents whose child was kidnapped, Ahmad Ajani, said he got wind of the news at midnight describing the incident as sad and unfortunate.
He said his child, Hanatullah Aderinto Ajani, 22, was in the school to study for the JAMB Universal Tertiary Matriculation Exam (UTME) before the incident.
“Somebody called at midnight that something happened at the school and my daughter was affected. I had to come down this morning and the Police Commissioner addressed us assuring that they were working on it, and that everything would be alright very soon.
“I am very sad but prayerful that the they would be rescued on time. As I am standing here, I am traumatized. You can imagine a girl of 22 preparing for university and then somebody took her away; it is a big loss,” he lamented.
Another parent, Funmi Tijani, blamed the management of the school for not putting up enough security measures including floodlight in the area.
She said: “We parents have jointly resolved and agreed that we have to take away our children at least for the first one week, until we are convinced about perfect security arrangements in place.
“The road leading to the school is not tarred, no security light, bushes all around. Last year, the school was closed down for two weeks because of flood. What we are saying is that let there be adequate security. “We are taking our children away, we’ve agreed amongst ourselves to take our children away for a week. My daughter saw them; witnessed the whole scenario and she’s psychologically traumatized; they are not balanced, you don’t expect me to leave her behind.”
Last night there were speculations that the kidnappers had demanded ransom from the school and the parents of the students.
But when contacted to confirm the report, the Police Public Relations Officer, Ogun State Command, ASP Abimbola Oyeyemi, denied the report, stating that contact had neither been established with the kidnappers nor a demand for ransom made by them.
…NTIC management reacts
As parents remain clothed with anxiety over the situation of their children abducted from the Ogun State branch of Nigeria Turkish International Colleges, the spokesman of the institution, Cemal Yigit, has shed light on what transpired that fateful night.
In an official statement, Yigit said the gunmen, armed with various weapons gained access to the school premises about 9:30pm on Friday.
The statement reads: “About 9.30pm local time, a group of people armed with dangerous weapons gained entrance to the girls’ section through different means and held hostage three female supervisors, a female cook, a female teacher (Turkish) and three students. “The school security personnel noticed some movement on the CCTV camera at the girls’ section and promptly deployed security personnel and alerted the relevant security agencies in the area as is customary.
“Upon hearing the security alarm activated, and sighting our security personnel, the armed invaders opened fire on the security staff and managed to escape through a very dangerous route with the hostages. The security agencies are currently on their trail as the whole area has been cordoned off. “We wish to assure parents and guardians that the students and teacher will return to safety soon as everything possible has been deployed to ensure that our teacher and students return unhurt by God’s grace.”