Following the threat by kidnappers to abduct pupils of the Lagos State Model College, Kankon Badagry, some parents stormed the school on Thursday to pick their children.
It was learnt that the parents insisted on going home with their wards despite the fact that the state government had deployed officials of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps in the school to beef up security.
PUNCH Metro had reported that the kidnappers posted two letters of the same content on the corridors leading to the offices of the principals of the junior and senior sections of the college respectively, claiming responsibility for the abduction of the six pupils of the state model college in Igbonla, Epe.
A copy of the letters had read, “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. Be expecting us!”
It was reported that a number of policemen and soldiers were deployed in the school, but when the ultimatum given by the suspects elapsed, the security presence around the school reduced, which caused panic.
Parents, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had expressed discontent over the low fence of the school and the reduction in the number of operatives.
The Lagos State Government and the police confirmed the threat, assuring that proactive security measures had been put in place.
Our correspondent learnt that many parents, however, stormed the college on Thursday to pick their children after reading the report of the threat in The PUNCH.
An official of the school, who disclosed the development to PUNCH Metro, also said six men of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps were sent to the school to support the policemen sent to guard the college.
“This morning (Thursday), about six men of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps were sent to the school to assist the two policemen. The vigilantes will take over in the night.
“Parents have started coming to pick their children, despite appeals by the principals. A lot of parents have also called the school to say they are coming.”
Another source said a police team visited the school to assess the surroundings, but left afterwards.
“The road to the school is also so terrible that it will take more time for security agencies to respond if there is an emergency call. It is worse if it rains. Normally, from the Badagry bus stop to the school, it is about 15 minutes journey, but because of the road, it will take you more than 30 minutes,” the source added.
Calls put across to the line of the senior school principal, Mr. Sunday Fadaunsi, rang out.
The principal of the junior school, identified simply as Olude, confirmed that some parents came to the school after reading The PUNCH’s report.
He said, “It is just about six parents that came and we told them to be calm. We assured them of their children’s safety. But since the school will go on Eid-el-fitr holiday on Friday (today) and the parents came from far places, we allowed them to take their children away. But I can tell you that security men are on ground.”
The Head, Public Affairs, Neighbouhood Security Corps, Mr. Afolabi Olawale, said 20 officials were deployed in the school, with 10 men on two shifts.
He said, “We have deployed 20 men per day. Ten will be at the school from 6am to 3pm. Another set will take over from 3pm to 9pm. We don’t have guns; we work on intelligence and give information. It is the police that will handle the rest.”
When the spokesperson was told that six officials were on ground as of 12pm on Thursday, he said, “You cannot see all of them. Some of them will be undercover.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said a joint team of security operatives had been patrolling the area.
“The Divisional Police Officer, Seme, said men of the Nigeria Customs Service, the military, the Rapid Response Squad and men of the Area K Police Command are on patrol of the area. It is not true that two policemen are guarding the school,” he said.