From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Parents of the remaining kidnapped 29 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Kaduna, have concluded plans to storm the National Assembly in an unprecedented protest if the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), which supervises the college, fails to secure the release of their children from their abductors by midnight of Thursday.
Recall that 10 of the 39 students abducted on Tuesday, March 11, 2021 from the College have already been released by the abductors in two batches of 5 each.
However, depressed by continued captivity of the children, suffering severe maltreatment in the hands of their abductors, the parents rose from their meeting on Monday, April 26, giving the FRIN 72 hours, which expires, midnight of Thursday, April 29 within which to secure the release of the embattled students.
This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday by Chairman of the leadership of the parents, Usman Abdullahi and the Secretary, Catherine Saleh.
“The Monday, April 26th meeting reviewed events from the first day of abduction of the students, on 11th March 2021, 50 days ago, to date, beyond the release of 10 of the students, and noted that there is no sign whatsoever that anything is being done at any level to secure the release of the remaining 29 students.
“Consequently, and the 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.
“At the National Assembly, the aggrieved parents would seek the 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.
“Since the 10 students were released in two batches of 5 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.
“The 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”. The statement said.