Relief washed over Emure Ekiti on Sunday morning as kidnapped pupils and teachers from the Apostolic Faith Group School were released after a harrowing seven-day ordeal. However, their joy was tempered by the death of their school bus driver, Taye Rasaki, at the hands of their captors.
“We are thankful for the safe return of the children and teachers,” said Adebayo Oluwatosin, Chairman of Emure Council Area, his voice heavy with emotion. “But our hearts are broken for the family of Mr. Rasaki, who lost his life in this senseless act.”
On Monday evening, gunmen ambushed the school bus as it returned students and staff to their homes in Eporo. They abducted nine people, leaving the bus abandoned on the roadside. Fear gripped the community as news of the kidnapping spread.
The kidnappers initially demanded a staggering N100 million ransom for each victim, later reducing it to N15 million for all nine. Threats to harm the captives added to the agonizing wait for their families.
Finally, at 1:30 am on Sunday, hope arrived. Security forces, working alongside local residents, secured the release of the hostages. “All victims were rescued,” confirmed Ekiti Police spokesperson Sunday Abutu, “but unfortunately, we lost the driver who was killed by the abductors.”
As the freed pupils and teachers recovered in the palace of the Elemure of Emure Ekiti, the community mourned Rasaki. “He was a kind and dedicated man who loved his job,” said a tearful colleague. “He will be deeply missed.”
The investigation into the kidnapping continues, with authorities vowing to bring the perpetrators to justice. But for the families involved, the scars of this ordeal will run deep.
This event highlights the growing problem of kidnapping in Nigeria, particularly targeting schools and their vulnerable communities. The Ekiti State government has pledged to intensify efforts to combat this issue and ensure the safety of its citizens.