The students and staff of Nigerian Tulip International Colleges (NTIC) in Ogun state, who were abducted 11 days ago, have regained freedom.
A source told newsmen that their abductors released them late Tuesday, but that the captives trekked for three hours before they could get to the school premises.
Cemal Yigit, spokesman of the school, confirmed the release of the students, saying they had reunited with their parents and family members.
“We wish to inform the general public that the kidnapped students and staff of the Nigerian Tulip International Colleges (NTIC) Ogun state, have regained freedom,” he said in a statement.
“The victims were released this evening after a painstaking collaborative effort by the relevant security agencies in the country. The management of NTIC wishes to express our gratitude to the relevant security agencies for their efforts in securing the release of the three students, one Turkish teacher, a cook and three supervisors.
“We also wish to extend our appreciation to the government and good people of Ogun state for their support throughout the difficult period. The role of the Ogun state government is highly appreciated.
“Our special appreciation also goes to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Inspector General of Police, the Director-General of the Department of State Services, the Chief of Army Staff, and others too numerous to mention for their efforts.
“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 Ogun, for their support all through the period.”
Earlier, Kayode Aderanti, assistant inspector-general of police (AIG) , zone 2, had given the assurance that they would be released within 24 hours.
Aderanti said this shortly after visiting former President Olusegun Obasanjo at his hill top residence in Abeokuta.
He said that he spoke with the leader of the search team and that he got a positive response from him.
He denied the reports that the families of the victims had been paying ransom, insisting that “no ransom has been paid”.
Aderanti urged residents of Ogun to partner with the police to ensure that lives and property were properly secured.
A day after the incident, Yigit had explained how the attackers invaded the school.
“At about 9.30pm local time on January 13, a group of people armed with dangerous weapons gained entrance to the girls’ section through different means and held hostage three female supervisors, a female cook, a female teacher (Turkish) and three students,” he had said.
“The school security noticed some movement on the CCTV camera at the girls’ section and promptly deployed security personnel and alerted the relevant security agencies in the area as customary. Upon hearing the security alarm activated and sighting our security personnel, the armed invaders opened fire on the security staff and managed to escape through a very dangerous route with the hostages.
“The security agencies are currently on their trail as the whole area has been cordoned off.”