- Make several arrests as kidnappers reduce ransom to N700million
Efforts to rescue the kidnapped female students of Nigerian Tulip International Colleges (NTIC) in Ogun State, tuesday evening recorded some successes as the police have located the whereabouts of the girls and the members of staff.
According to confirmed police sources who spoke to THISDAY, they have been able to track down the kidnappers to one of the mangroves located in a creek (name withheld).
However, the police said they need military intervention to access the creeks as it’s not their usual terrain of operation.
They said they are expecting the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and the Nigerian Army (NA) to lend their expertise in the operation and secure the release of the abductees.
While the Air Force is expected to use aerial surveillance and night shield to take reconnaissance of the area, the expertise of the army however would be needed in accessing the creeks during the ground operations.
But in a swift reaction, NAF Director of Public Relations (DOPRI), Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, said the police seeking the assistance of the AirForce is not a problem.
He said, “This is not a problem. The police should go to the appropriate authorities and put their request forward to the Air Force. It’s not an issue. They know the procedure.”
Meanwhile, the police have not just located the hideout but have successfully identified some of the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
Already, the police have arrested a member of the gang, who acts as their go-between (errand boy) and have also arrested some family members of the kidnap gang.
Some of the arrested persons were mopped up from the Ijaw nation in Niger Delta, as well as others who were picked up from Ondo State.
This move by the police in mopping up their family members was to send a strong message to the kidnappers that their identities have been uncovered and that they should release the abductees unharmed.
THISDAY also gathered that the families have been cooperating as they have been in talks with the gang members, convincing them on the need to down their weapons and accept a plea bargain.
A top police officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “We know the exact location in the creek where the children and members of staff are kept but we cannot storm the place because the life of the children are in danger.
“We will not make mistake of attempting the creek because there is no how the kidnappers will not see us coming and they may end up killing their victims.
“We need the assistance of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and the Nigerian Army, who we think have the wherewithal to penetrate the creek through the air.”
Another police source maintained that the identities of the perpetrators of the dastardly act are well known to the police.
He said, “We have met with families and relatives of some of the kidnappers who are currently speaking with them.
“We have gone to Ondo, Delta and Edo States to consult with their families. I think the families are cooperating and are assisting us in talking to them.
“But if this option fails, we will not have any other reason not to use our plan B, which we can’t disclose but will yield positive results.
“The identities are well known and they know we know them. But we are using wisdom for the sake of the innocent children.
“We are not happy that they are playing with the lives of innocent children. They are taking the joke too far and the whole world is watching.
“The most annoying thing is that one of the students is a sickle cell anemia patient and she is seriously sick at the moment.”
Meanwhile, the kidnappers have reduced their earlier demand of N1.2 billion ransom for the release of the abducted persons, to N700 million.
Against their earlier ransom demand of N300million ransom for each of the two Turkish nationals and then N100million each on the six other abductees, the demands have been reduced to N50 million each for the six abductees and N200 million for the Turkish Mathematics teacher, Miss Deria.
While security agencies are battling to secure the release of the girls, Nigerians and indeed their parents hold their bathed breathe in prayer for their safety.#BringBackOurNTICOgunFemales, has been set up to help propagate the clamour for the release of the girls and the school members of staff.