By Kehinde Aderemi
At the moment, the atmosphere at Agunfoye, a community in Adamo, Ikorodu North Local Council Development Area (LCDA) Lagos is tense. Gunmen allegedly stormed the Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary, a school in the area, on Monday evening. They kidnapped three female students of the school before making their way out of the area through the swamps.
The incident, the reporter learnt, occurred around 8:45 pm during the evening classes. Those who spoke with the reporter said the abductors might have gained entry through a broken wall before abducting the three female students who are in the senior secondary class.
It was gathered that some of the male students confronted the gunmen, but they could not rescue the girls, as the abductors were reportedly armed.
Security men thronged the area from early in the morning yesterday. Visitors were initially prevented from getting into the premises, but many of the parents that converged on the school insisted on seeing their children, and the school authorities were forced to allow some of the parents in.
Academic activities were at a standstill throughout the day, as students were restricted to their hostels. The classrooms were under lock and key.
Some of the parents openly expressed dissatisfaction with the state of security in the school. The principal, Venerable Olaoluwa Adeyemi, wore a sad look as he rebuffed questions from journalists.
Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 2, Bala Hassan and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni visited the school. Policemen shot into the air to disperse people who were gathered at the gate.
The reporter gathered that the abducted girls were ferried from the area through the swamps and taken to an unknown destination. The area, the reporter learnt, leads to Gberigbe, Mowo and Igbokuta communities in Ijede area of Ikorodu.
Members of the local vigilance group, Onyabo, as well as the school security operatives made frantic efforts to trace the girls’ movement all night, all to no avail. It was learnt that the topography of the area was difficult, being a swampy area. But the security men reportedly stumbled on the gunmen’s hideouts where they discovered assorted bottles of dry gin, cigarette butts, bathroom slippers and others.
While conducting the AIG round the school, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police explained that the abductors, whose number could not be ascertained immediately, might have gained access by scaling the school’s short fence to perpetrate the callous act. He disputed the claims that the kidnappers broke into the school through a broken wall. He assured that his men were on the trail of the kidnappers and would soon rescue the students free. He said the police had established contact with the abductors through telephone
But in spite of such assurances, a woman was uncontrollable as she wept openly by the school wall, warning that her child must be found. She, however, refused to speak with journalists.
Reacting to the incident, one of the parents, Mrs. Biola Ategbole said the abduction was quite sad, noting that it came exactly on the day the J.S.S One admission forms were to be sold to parents for the coming session. She noted that the incident might be some form of sabotage, asserting that such incident had never occurred in the school since its establishment in 1996.
An angry parent was overheard berating the security arrangement in the school. She complained that a missionary school of that status was supposed to have a formidable security apparatus.
The AIG and the police commissioner later held a meeting with the parents and the school authorities to assure them that the children would be released soon.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, Hassan lamented the unfortunate incident and gave assurance that the perpetrators would be nabbed.
Residents of the area also expressed sadness over the incident. They noted also that the school had brought a lot of development to the community, adding that it was it was the first time such incident was happening in the area. They called on the school management to beef up security in the school to enhance the confidence of students, staff and other stakeholders.