By Dipo Olowookere
Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Idiat Oluranti Adebule, has assured parents and families of the victims kidnapped on Thursday morning at the Igbonla Senior and Junior Model College in the suburb of Epe that the state government was on top of the situation.
During the incident, four students and two teachers were kidnapped by a gang of suspected Ijaw militants.
Mrs Adegbule assured that government would work assiduously to ensure prompt rescue of the victims.
It was learnt that the kidnappers, numbering about seven, invaded the school premises at about 8am when students were having a special session at the hall and shut sporadically into the air before kidnapping the victims, which included a vice principal and head teacher.
The Deputy Governor, who visited the school after the incident, condemned the act, but pleaded with the parents to cooperate with government and security agencies in ensuring prompt rescue of the victims.
Mrs Adegbule, accompanied by top government functionaries and head of security agencies to the school, told hundreds of parents who had come to the school to remove their children that such would not help the situation as panicking would further compound the situation.
“It is true that in the last 29 years that this school was established, we have never experienced such a thing like this, but now that it has happened and it is confronting us, we must come together to find a lasting solution to it.
“We, as government, parents, the school and security agencies, must remain united to solve this problem.
“I know you are angry, I know you are worried and I know you are agitated, but we must look for solution. But I plead for the understanding of parents in this matter. I know how traumatic it could be, I know how emotional the issue we are discussing could be, but the best we can do is to handle it with care and with utmost wisdom that God can give us.
“It is God who secures, it is God who protect and even in other climes where you have everything, you still have this type of incursion once in a while, but what we should be talking about is how we can collectively solve this problem,” she said.
The Deputy Governor further assured that the State Government would do everything humanly possible to ensure the rescue of the victims, assuring that a team of security operatives would stay behind in the school to secure the students and teachers.
She also revealed that all security agencies including the Police, Air Force, Navy, the Army and others have been fully mobilized to ensure rescue of the victims, just as she expressed confidence in the success of the ongoing rescue operation.
On his part, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni, reassured the parents and families of the victims that the rescue operation already launched would be the shortest in the history of the Command.
While soliciting for the support of the parents, Mr Owoseni said security agencies were already in custody of useful leads, adding that there was a strong hope of rescuing the victims.
“All I just want to say for now is that you have to work with us. What we also need from you is your prayers. We will seek your understanding and for now, I will not reveal much because as we speak, there are agents of the kidnappers here and they will reveal whatever we say here to them.
“We have a government in Lagos State that is ready to go all out and I can assure you that this will be the shortest rescue operation that we will carry out. We will do everything we need to do to secure the release of the victims,” he said.