One of the four pupils of the Lagos Junior Model College, Igbonla, Epe, Lagos State, who were abducted by gunmen last Thursday, has fallen sick.
A source close to the family of the affected schoolboy told PUNCH Metro on Sunday that the kidnappers, however, assured the parents that they had administered treatment to him.
Our correspondent gathered that negotiations on the ransom were in progress as the victims’ families were running around to raise the sums demanded by the gang.
PUNCH Metro had reported that the attackers, comprising five men and a woman, at about 8am on Thursday, stormed the school and abducted four pupils, a teacher and a vice-principal.
The victims, who were reportedly rounding off prayers at the assembly hall, were taken away by the abductors, who shot sporadically into the air.
The pupils, identified as Isaac Adebisi, Okonkwo Emmanuel, Abu and Jeremiah; the English Language/Civic Education teacher, Lukman Oyerinde, and the Vice-Principal, A.O. Oyesola, were taken away in a speedboat.
It was reported that the kidnappers, who called a parent of one of the schoolboys, demanded N30m for the victims, requesting N5m for each of the six.
PUNCH Metro learnt on Sunday that one of the schoolboys had fallen ill. The family members reportedly pleaded that the gang should collect the amount raised so far and let go of him.
The source said, “The men called on Saturday and Sunday and told us that one of the boys was sick. They said his temperature was high. They called one of the relations of the pupil and wanted to know the drug they could use for him. We have been begging them to let go of the pupil.
“But they assured the family that they had arranged someone to treat him. On the negotiation of ransom, the family members are begging them to reduce the N5m ransom. But the kidnappers have yet to agree.
“One of the parents is begging for N1m, but the gunmen want them to add a little more. The sick boy is suspected to have malaria, although no test can be conducted in the hideout to ascertain that.”
Another relation of one of the abducted boys, who spoke with PUNCH Metro on Sunday, said they would hold another meeting with the school authorities today (Monday), as the kidnappers had called to reduce the ransom to N3.5m.
The source added that the kidnappers kept on assuring the families that their children were in safe hands.
“We will meet with the school authorities on Monday. They (the kidnappers) called in on Sunday and asked for N3.5m. We still begged them to go lower than that,” he added.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said on Sunday that rescue mission was ongoing.
“All the escape routes of the abductors have been blocked. Rescue mission is still ongoing,” she added.