There was pandemonium on Thursday at Oba Ile in Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State as suspected gunmen seized an 18 seater bus belonging to a private school, Chimola Nursery and Primary School of the town.
The incident caused panic among teachers and parents of the school as many barred their children from going to school.
It was gathered that the incident around 6:30 am when the driver, Mr. Ayodele Ayodeji was about to pick pupils to the school.
Several eyewitnesses told our correspondent that the gunmen armed with different dangerously weapons stopped the bus and dragged out the driver.
One of the witnesses who pleaded not to be named said that the gunmen drove the bus away alongside a female bus attendant of the school who was inside the vehicle.
“The female bus attendant was later released along the way”, the source added.
Recounting her experience, the female bus attendant, Omolayo Ojo revealed to journalists that the hoodlums waylaid their bus opposite NTA station junction while they were about to pick one of their pupils of the school.
He narrated how two motorcyclists drove in a reckless manner in their front before the school bus hijacked and stolen from the driver.
She recounts “When we saw them, I was telling the driver to put press the child lock of the bus quickly make u-turn but we could not do that because they (gunmen) already near us with dangerous weapons.
“Before, I knew it they had gain access into the bus and they dragged out the driver from the vehicle and pinned my head on the seat of the car and before they drove me away.
“While inside the vehicle, they were asking me questions and I was answering them, so they told me they will not kill me but I should cooperate with them. I abide by their rules. Eventually, they dropped me at a bush side near Ilara Mokin/Ikota road.
“At first, I didn’t know where the gunmen dropped me but I saw an old woman who showed me the road and trekked to locate the main road before I begged people to help for transport fare back to school.
“It was a motorcyclist that gave me N500 to transport me back to the town and that was how I found my way back to Oba Ile” she stated.
Dousing the tension which the news had already generated on social media, proprietor of the Chimola School, Mrs. Bolatito Akindemowo said that only the school vehicle was hijacked by the hoodlums noting that none of the pupils or teachers were kidnapped.
Akindemowo also explained that shes was at home when she got a call from one of the parents of the pupils of the school that the bus had been attacked and stolen by some armed men.
“A parent called me that the driver will like to speak with me, the driver told me that three men were on Okada and at a gun point, the school bus was taken away from him.
“He said he was asked to lie down and they abducted the bus attendant and went away with her” she added.
Reacting to the incident, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bolaji Salami said that the incident was a pure case of robbery and not abduction.
He said the Police networks within and outside the state, had been contacted about the development.
Mr Salami promised that the Bus would be retrieved, while assuring parents that the incident was not a case of kidnapping, as evident in some parts of the country.
“Initially, we were thinking that the perpetrators would kidnap the lady but from all indication, they are after the School Bus.
“We all are on the trail of the robbers and arrest would be made as soon as possible.
“We have told our men to be on the an alert, especially those manning banks across the state.
“I want to assure parents that it is a pure case of robbery and we thank God, the freed lady had told us that they spoke fluent yoruba to her.
“Hence, we have nothing to fear. It is not a case of banditry as experienced in some parts of the country,” Salami said.