Facts have emerged that the parents of the three students of Babington Junior Seminary School, Ikorodu, Lagos, who were abducted on February 25, 2016, paid N5.6m ransom to the kidnappers.
The father of one of the victims, Venerable Olusa Ayo, revealed in his statement to the police, that the kidnappers initially demanded N200m for the release of the girls.
He said the abductors, however, after agreeing to collect N15m, made him merry-go-round to ensure he was not being followed by security agents.
He said, “On the morning of March 1, at about 11am, I received a call through which my daughter informed me about the abduction. She said three students, including herself were abducted at gunpoint in the midst of sporadic shooting. She further advised me to contact the school authorities.
“The line was switched off thereafter until around 11pm on the same day. The same line called again, with my daughter requesting confirmation if the school management had been contacted. I told her to hand over the phone to her abductors. One of the abductors informed me that I should know what to do. He, thereafter, demanded a ransom of N200m before the girls could be set free.”
Ayo said while pleading with the abductor, the line was switched off.
He explained that the kidnappers flashed his number, and he called back the next day and continued with the negotiation.
The cleric said the kidnappers shifted grounds from N150m to N100m, adding that they asked him to pay N30m for the release of only his child.
Ayo said, “But I said I wanted all the three girls. I also explained that it had been difficult for the school to raise the ransom they were demanding. I offered N1m each on behalf of the other parents and N2m on behalf of the school.
“This was declined with constant threat to kill them if we failed to meet their demand. They finally decided to collect N15m which they claimed would be the final offer.”
He said after speaking with the kidnappers that the parents had raised an additional N600, 000 to the N5m they had, the kidnappers agreed to take it.
One of them was said to have given the cleric instructions on how to package the money and get it ready in a Ghana-must-go bag.
The cleric said, “At about 11pm on Saturday, March 5, 2016, I was contacted to bring the money with stern warning not to involve the security agencies. That I should come alone, and later they said I could come with a driver.
“I was asked to drive to Ijebu-Ode, but I was intermittently called to know my movements. I was also directed to put on the inner lights of the car, while the hazard pointers should be on.
“By the time I got to Imota, I was asked to proceed until I got to Agbone where I was asked to turn back to Ikorodu. I was later asked to turn back to Ijebu-Ode again until I got to Imota.
“Finally, I was directed again to go back to Ikorodu and watch out for a broken down vehicle after the filling station. When I confirmed that I had sighted the car, I was directed to drop the money in front of the car. This was at about 11.40pm.”
He said the kidnappers confirmed the receipt of the money to him on the phone and promised to release the children.
According to him, he returned to the school around 12pm on that Saturday and informed the security agencies of what had happened.
He said the girls were released the following morning and brought back to the school.
“The girls gave me N15, 000 which was given to them by the kidnappers for their transport. My daughter also delivered their message that I should pray that God would forgive them.
“The police then requested statements from me and the girls. I also took my daughter to the hospital for treatment,” he added. One of the abducted girls, Olaniyan said the kidnappers fed them with garri, among others, while they were in captivity, adding that they were also blind-folded.
She said, “The three of us were taken away through a hole they dug in the school, which led to a bush path.
“They put us in a canoe.