From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
The parents of abducted students of College of Forestry and Mechanisation located in Afaka, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, have continued to grieve over the abduction of their children from the school hostels, 36 days ago.
Bandits had on March 11, attacked the school, located adjacent to Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), also close to Kaduna train terminus and a few minutes drive to Kaduna International Airport – all along dreaded Birni Gwari Local Government Area of the state. Ten of the 39 students have been released in batches under circumstances yet to be revealed by those involved in their release.
Addressing journalists in Kaduna on Friday, a parent, Mr. Friday Sani, who spoke on behalf of other affected parents revealed that the abductors, who had earlier threatened to talk with the government only, had made a u-turn and started calling parents on an individual basis for negotiations around N500 million.
According to Sani, “the condition we are in today is very pathetic, and we are calling on the entire world to come to our aid in good time. We held a protest and the Kaduna State Government called us, thinking they were going to give us hope for the rescue of our children. But they told us that anybody caught negotiating with bandits would be prosecuted.
“That also led to our second coming out to address the world through the media that it will be better for us to be arrested even though we have already been arrested emotionally since our children’s abduction. We are already under the arrest of government. Some of us could not eat and sleep while some of us have developed sickness. So, there is no arrest higher than these.
“We will continue to protest, no matter the number of security forces, the highest is death and we are ready to sacrifice that for our children with promising futures. If we can negotiate for the release of our children and succeed and then are being arrested afterwards, we will be the happiest people. It is better for us to be in government’s detention rather than allow our children to die in captivity.
“The fate of our children is what we don’t know and that is the problem we have. The government has kept silent since the release of ten of the children. We wouldn’t mind if the government takes credit for the release of the ten students. We want them to enable the release of others so that we can applaud them more. The government may turn Kaduna into Dubai but if there are no people to benefit from it, then it is a waste of resources, people are not secured, the stories of daily incidents of killings, kidnappings and other forms of crime is disheartening. We are pleading with the government to ensure our children do not lose their lives during any action they want to use in securing the release of our children.”