From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Parents of the remaining kidnapped 29 students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna, have concluded plans to storm the National Assembly in protest if the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), which supervises the college, failed to secure their release.
A statement, yesterday, by chairman of the leadership of the parents, Usman Abdullahi and secretary, Catherine Saleh said the protest at the National Assembly was to seek intervention of the federal parliamentarians to query the Minister of Environment whose ministry oversees the affairs of FRIN, which in turn oversees the affairs of the college where their children were abducted, over the continued captivity of the children.
Bandits had abducted 39 students of the college on Tuesday, March 11, but 10 of them were released in two batches of five each.
However, depressed by the continued captivity and plight of the remaining students, the parents rose from a meeting on Monday, April 26, giving FRIN 72 hours to secure their release. That deadline expired midnight of yesterday.
The aggrieved parents said at the meeting they reviewed events from the first day of the abduction of the students on March 1.
“Beyond the release of 10 of the students there is no sign whatsoever that anything is being done at any level to secure the release of the remaining 29 students. Consequently, parents see no hope in sight for the release of their children. What stares at them now is depressing abandonment and neglect of the poor children. As at the afternoon of Thursday, April 29, there was no inkling of hope from any government quarters suggesting any time for the release of the 29 remaining abductees.
“Since the 10 students were released in two batches of five each, the parents have been condemned to excruciating trauma over the continued captivity of their children, especially as they have been left to fight alone for the release of the children without any iota of concern shown by the FRIN towards securing their release.”
The parents also expressed their outrage over the way the 10 released students are left to cater for themselves without any care whatsoever, especially in terms of medical checkup from any arm of government, as against the claim for such care by government.
“Parents of the 10 released students, who have vowed not to back out of the struggle for the release of the remaining 29, have had to go in and out of hospital to take further care of their children’s health at their own personal cost. This development is unacceptable as it shows abdication of responsibility by those in whose custody the students were before their abduction.
“Knowing the struggle, the parents of the 10 students so far released are going through to keep their children in good health and sound mind, the parents of the students still in captivity, while awaiting the release of their own children, demand compensation from FRIN for the students already released and a similar demand will be made for those that will be released later for their proposed rehabilitation.”