[VIDEO] Driver killed as abducted Ekiti pupils, teachers regain freedom

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The pupils and teachers of the Apostolic Faith Montessori School in Emure, Ekiti, who were kidnapped on January 29, have been released.

It was reported that the students were released in the early hours of Sunday.

However, the invaders killed and burned the driver, who was also one of the abductees.

Efforts to reach Ekiti State police spokesman Abutu on Sunday were unsuccessful, but community sources confirmed their release to Channels Television on Sunday.

A senior police officer also confirmed the release of the victims.

He was however silent on whether any ransom was paid to secure the release of the schoolchildren and their teachers.

When asked about the driver, the officer said his charred remains was recovered in the bush.

Earlier, the abductors had demanded 10 million naira each before releasing the 10 victims. It is, however, not clear if any ransom was paid for their release.

The Ekiti State Government has also issued a statement confirming the release of the victims.

The Special Adviser (Media) to the Governor, Olayinka Oyebode, said the pupils and their teachers were released on February 4 and brought to the Elemure Palace around 4 am.

“However, the driver of the school bus was reported killed in the custody of the kidnappers,” the governor’s spokesman said.

Timely Release

Describing their release as timely, the Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, thanked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his support that led to the rescue of the victims.

He also commended security agencies for supporting the state government as well as seeing to the safe return of the victims.

“The Governor while congratulating the children and their families, expresses his profound appreciation to President Tinubu for giving specific directives that put the search and rescue mission on top gear.

“He also thanks the security agencies for their collaborative efforts during the search for the students, just as he extends appreciation to Ekitikete home and abroad for their support during the security situation experienced last week,” the statement read.

“Noting the traumatic experience of the children in the kidnappers’ den, Governor Oyebanji has directed the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Oyebanji Filani to take the children to the state Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti for proper medical treatment and post-trauma therapy.

“The Governor, who kept vigil with Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele till 3.00 am to ensure the release of the children, acknowledges the solidarity shown by his colleagues governors, former governors of the state as well as religious leaders and traditional rulers.”

The governor also restated the determination of his administration to stamp out crime and criminality from the state by making the environment unbearable for criminals operating under whatever guise.

He stated that the killers of the two Ekiti traditional rulers would be fished out and made to face the maximum weight of the law, urging the people of the state to remain vigilant and report any suspicious movement in their communities to the authorities.