A t r a d i t i o n a l ruler, otherwise known as ‘Baale,’ has been arrested by policemen trying to rescue the six abducted students of Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe. This came as one of the parents said he was too poor to raise N400 million demanded by the kidnappers.
The Baale (names withheld) was said to have been arrested while coming out after supplying food to the militants holed up in the creeks. According to a security source, the traditional ruler has been handed over to the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni.
The police chief is quizzing the suspect himself. The Baale’s arrest has infuriated the leader of the militants, identified as ‘America’, who has reeled out threats. Incidentally, it was ‘America’ who led the abduction of eight people from the Nigerian Turkish International College (NTIC) in January.
He is also suspected to be the brain behind the abduction of six students from Model College, Epe. Spitting fire, ‘America’ was said to have alerted the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), in charge of Epe Police Station, to get ready, that he and his men were coming to attack the station soonest.
This is part of the reason it is hard to stop or check the militants.” Meanwhile, intelligence report says that the same ‘America’ is planning to carry out a bank raid this week. “According to intelligence report, ‘America’ and his men are planning to attack a bank. They have already picked the bank.
They are likely to strike this week,” said a source. On Friday, there was a protracted gun battle between the militants and policemen. The kidnappers were alleged to have injured seven policemen, including the SO (Station Officer) in charge of Marine Police.
The Marine policemen, who first engaged the militants in the gun duel, were able to injure many and also sank the militants’ two gunboats. The militants fled, only to return with an overwhelming reinforcement.
They ambushed and attacked the Marine policemen from different angles, leading to seven policemen being wounded. The Marine policemen were later supported by teams of policemen from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and Anti- Kidnapping Unit of Lagos State.
Some policemen, who partook in the gun battle, have described it as a mother of all battles. This was even as they recounted that they ran out of ammunition, while militants were still firing. A source said: “It was a bloody day.
The militants used their gunboats to block Epe River. Nobody was allowed to pass. They stationed three gun boats in three strategic places. Nobody dared to go closer to them. Policemen were looking at the militants and they were looking at the policemen. “The militants were in full camouflage.
They tied red bands on their forehead. They were dancing, jubilating and making mockery of the policemen. They repeatedly beckoned at the policemen to come forward if they could. “In the heat of the attack, Marine police called their Ogun State counterpart; they said they didn’t have ammunition.
I heard Navy was called, but they didn’t come. Soldiers came, but left while gun battle was still on. They said since it was on water, there was nothing they could do. “The SO Marine was seriously injured. All injured policemen are attached to marine. Marine police took the militants unawares on Friday, injuring and probably killing many.
The battle was on top of water. Marine police used two gunboats, while militants brought three gunboats. Marine police sank two of the militants’ gunboats before they returned with reinforcement. The militants were too many and well-armed. They robbed private canoes and passengers.”
Although it was learnt that the kidnappers had said that they did not have anything to do with the parents. According to sources, the abductors said they wanted the state government to negotiate and pay the ransom said to be about N1.2 billion.
Tributes poured in for late actor, Olumide Bakare during his burial at the St James’s Cathedral Oke Bola, Ibadan, on Friday when popular actors and actresses joined family and friends of the veteran actor to pay their last respect as his remains were committed to mother earth.
Popular faces such as Jide Kosoko, Akin Lewis, Toyin Adegbola, also known as Ajoke Asewo, Binta Ayo Mogaji, among others, took turns to extol the virtues of the actor at the reception service held in his honour.
Bakare, who was wheeled in a grey casket that was said to cost about N2 million, with the inscription Olumide Bakare (Chief Koko of Oluwalanbe lodge), on it.
In her tribute to her father, Tofunmi Bakare, one of his daughters, described the deceased as a loving father who could not be compared to anyone.
“It is so painful that I lost him when I needed him most. I was already looking forward to his 64th birthday with great expectations. We are grateful to God that he lived a good life that impacted on many people.”
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Lagos State Deputy Governor Dr Idiat Oluranti Adebule has assured parents of the kidnapped pupils of their children’s safe return.
Mrs Adebule, who visited the school shortly on arrival from Abuja on Friday, said efforts were on to get the children released unhurt.
“We are on top of the situation and the governor has directed all security operatives to move into action, details of which I cannot disclose in order not to undermine their operation,” she said.
Mrs Adebule urged the parents to be calm.
She appealed to the kidnappers to release the children to reunite with their families.
An Igbonla indigene, Mr Folabi Fakeye, called on the government to help the community facilitate the siting of a naval base around the creeks for security.
Fakeye promised that the community would provide land for the project.
Meanwhile security operatives are still battling to locate the where about of the pupils and their head teachers.