Parents of the six abducted pupils of Lagos State Model College, Igbonla Epe, have paid N31m ransom to the criminals who kidnapped their children, SUNDAY PUNCH has learnt.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that some parents were assigned to take the money to an undisclosed place, where they paid to some members of the gang in two tranches.
The parents were, however, worried that their children had not been released since last week when their abductors promised to set them free.
The kids were kidnapped exactly 53 days ago, three days after the gunmen notified the school management of their plans.
They broke into a boys’ hostel around 6am on Thursday, May 25, picked 10 Senior Secondary School pupils and led them to a waterside.
The pupils were screened based on their family background. While four were consequently released, the assailants whisked away the remaining six pupils identified as Peter Jonah, Isiaq Rahmon, Adebayo George, Judah Agbausi, Pelumi Philips and Farouq Yusuf in a speedboat.
The kidnappers last Sunday promised to release the children.
Sources, who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH, said many parents sold their property and borrowed from friends and relatives to pay the N31m ransom.
A source said, “We don’t know what else these people want. The parents are stranded. The first time, three parents met with them somewhere and gave them N10m.
“They demanded another N21m ransom. The parents took the money to the place and gave it to some gang members. They told the parents that they had done all the necessary things and promised to release the children in the next two days. They have been expecting the children since last week.”
One of the parents said his quest to reunite with his child had increased tremendously in the last few days as a result of the assurance by the abductors.
“We gave them N31m cash. We didn’t send it through a third party and they confirmed the money was complete. They promised to release our children soon.
“We were confused when we heard that they demanded another N1.5m before the children could be released,” the parent added.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole and the Force PRO, CSP Mashood Jimoh, had repeatedly assured the parents and members of the public that the pupils would be rescued soon.