By Tony Nwanne
The kidnap, and later release, of four students and two teachers, including Lukman Oyerinde, vice principal of the Lagos Model College, Igbonla, in Epe, has yielded accusations of government’s neglect. The backwater host community, concerned parents and indigenes say, lacks social infrastructure and security.
The consensus among Newsbreak.Ng respondents paints a grim picture about Lagos State Government’s abandonment of the town.
Olagoke Abayomi, a parent, told Newsbreak.Ng that the college and the community lacked security.
“I have two children in the college; one in JSS 2 and the other, JSS 3.
I was scared when I heard about the incident. I really suffered for my children and wouldn’t want anything to harm them”, he said.
Abayomi said an assurance by operatives of the government-maintained elite police team, the Rapid Response Squad, prevented him from withdrawing his children from the school.
Similarly, Adebisi Adebayo, another parent, says: “the school and the community need good security. Looking around, you will notice that the community is backward; no electricity, no good road. Government needs to bring development to this town.”
A community leader, Wasiu Mejidade, said he had been wrongly told the kidnappers were Boko Haram terrorists when the incident occurred.
“When the incident happened, I was at my tailor’s place, so I heard that Boko Haram people have entered our village here in Igbonla, .. but getting home, I discovered that it was kidnappers that invaded the school”, he said.
Speaking further, Mejidade said: “There has been no security in the area before this happened. The town is literally abandoned.
“There has been no light and water since 2008. Yet they expect something like this not to happen. Now, the police (guarding the school since the kidnap) will soon leave and that will be the end. You put people’s children here, no security, nothing. It is disheartening,” he said.
Corroborating the allegation of government abandonment, Lukman Adeniyi, an commercial motorcycle rider, pointed out the town lacks any police post.
“Imagine, the kidnappers took the people away through the river and still brought them back through that same river, and there was no security around there”, says Adeniyi.
“ That is negligence, they dropped them off and they started trekking from the river bank; in fact some they almost missed their way because it was late at night.
“When the incident happened, for days, some security agencies were on ground, but after some days, we didn’t see them again. No police station around that vicinity, nothing. We just need government to assist us,” Adeniyi stated.
A community vigilante, Sheriff Ashafa, says the situation has increased vigilance, but stressed their efforts could be further strengthened with government’s intervention.
“We really want good security in this area; we need good basic amenities other villages have been enjoying. We will continue to do our best, but we also need the government too”, he said. The Lagos Model College, Igbonla, was one of the five model colleges created in 1988 by then military administrator Mike Okhai Akhigbe.