After 11 days in the den of kidnappers, pupils and staff members of the Nigerian Turkish International Colleges, Isheri, Ogun State, have regained their freedom.
The eight victims, who were released on Tuesday, were said to be in good condition and had been reunited with their parents.
While there are claims in some quarters that the school and families of the victims parted with millions of naira as ransom, the police insisted that their freedom was due to pressure mounted on the kidnappers.
Gunmen had invaded the NTIC premises on Friday, January 13, after digging a hole under the school fence. They shot indiscriminately and headed for the female hostel, where three pupils were seized.
A Turkish teacher, a matron, a supervisor and two intending candidates of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, who worked in the school, were also abducted by the assailants.
The matron’s husband had been asked by the kidnappers to pay N100m for her release.
The police had expected the release of the victims on Saturday, following the arrest of masterminds of the kidnap, Philip Kakadu aka General Kakadu and Romeo Council aka Raw.
After the deadline, the Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, deployed helicopters in the area to patrol the creeks.
The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, who confirmed the release of the captives, said they were rescued around 5pm.
He said, “After the arrest of the brains behind the kidnap, it was easier for us to rescue the victims. The arrests had turned the heat on them. They were rescued around 5pm. No ransom was paid. We are only trying to give them checkups. They are all hale and hearty.
“This is the reason we always discourage payment of ransoms. If a child is kidnapped and nobody pays any ransom, the hoodlums will discover that the business is no longer viable and they will stop kidnapping for ransom.”
The spokesperson for the NTIC, Cemal Yigit, in a statement also confirmed the release, adding that the pupils had been reunited with their parents.
He was, however, silent when asked if any ransom was paid.
“We wish to inform the general public that the kidnapped students and staff of the Nigerian Tulip (Turkish) International Colleges, Ogun State, have regained freedom.
“We wish to extend our appreciation to the government and people of Ogun State for their support throughout the difficult period.
“The students and teachers are doing fine and have reunited with their parents. We also wish to extend our heartfelt appreciation to the parents and guardians of NTIC for their support all through the period,” the statement read in part.