Twenty-three days after their kidnap, six female pupils and two workers of the Engravers College, Kakau Daji in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State were released by their abductors on Saturday morning.
However, our correspondent gathered that the pupils were released after their parents allegedly paid a ransom of N13.6m to the kidnappers.
A source said, “They (victims) were released after the payment of an additional N10m to the kidnappers yesterday (Friday). You know, the parents earlier raised N3.6m as ransom but the kidnappers said it was small. The additional N10m brought the total amount paid as ransom to N13.6m.”
In the early hours of October 3, 2019, some gunmen invaded the college and took away six female pupils, the vice-principal (academics) and matron of the school.
The kidnappers were said to have contacted the school management and demanded N50m as a ransom for all the eight victims. They earlier demanded a ransom of N30m per head. However, they later changed their minds and demanded N10m per head as ransom – to make the total payment N80m.
But on Friday, after days of negotiations, the abductors finally agreed to collect N10m in addition to an earlier payment of N3.6m.
“We took the additional N10m to them and they have released the children and workers.
“As soon as we paid the N10m yesterday (Friday), they started moving out but they couldn’t arrive home because it was late. They had to sleep at one point. They continued their journey this morning and arrived safely,” the source said.
Following the victims’ release, the Kaduna State Government expressed relief.
In a statement, the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, urged the various communities in the state to support the government and security agencies towards addressing crimes in the state.
“We are relieved that this criminal violation of the right to liberty is over and they (abductees) are all back safely.
“The victims, mostly minors, and their families will now be focusing on recovering from this undeserved trauma. We appeal for considerate reporting of their ordeal and respect for their privacy,” Aruwan said.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Kaduna State Police Command, DSP Yakubu Sabo, on Saturday confirmed the victims’ release in a statement.
However, Sabo claimed that policemen attached to the Operation Puff Adder Kaduna inaugurated by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, acted on intelligence to rescue the victims.
“On October 26, 2019, at about 0800 hours, police operatives attached to Operation Puff Adder Kaduna acted on intelligence and intercepted the kidnapped pupils and staff members of Engravers College.
“Consequently, all the eight victims were rescued unhurt and have been reunited with their respective families by the command.”