From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The Federal government has announced that school fees of all the 37 kidnapped and released students of College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna have been waived throughout the period of their study in the institution.
The Federal Government also said it has concluded plans to temporarily relocate the College to a safer location within Kaduna metropolis.
Provost of the College, Dr. Usman Bello disclosed this on Monday while addressing a press conference at the College in Afaka, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Bandits had on 11th March, 2021 stormed the College around 10pm and whisked 37 students, mostly female students into the forest.
While 10 of them were released in two batches of five each on 5th and 12th April, 2021 respectively, the remaining 27 students were released on 5th May, after spending 55 days in captivity.
According to the Prevost, “The Hon. Minister of Environment, Dr. Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar has concluded plans to temporarily relocate the College to a safer place; put in place adequate security as well as vehicles to serve as shuttle to convey staff and students alike from the temporary site to designated bus stops within the Kaduna metropolis. All these would be communicated to all as soon as the arrangement has been perfected.
“Similarly, the Hon. Minister has directed that the school fees of the affected students be waived for the programmes they are currently running. Therefore, for those of them presently on ND programme, the HND fees would be waived accordingly”.
Recalling the kidnap incident, the Provost said, “It is important to state at this juncture that the frantic efforts of all the stakeholders including the Hon. Minister and the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, the Board Chairman, DG-FRIN and the Commissioner of Police, Kaduna State Command, Alhaji Umar Musa Muri, led to the rescue of the first ten set of the abducted students.
“The remaining students in captivity had to endure 55 days after their abduction before they were finally released by the bandits on Wednesday 5th May, 2021.
“The Kaduna State Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, finally delivered the 27 students to the College on 7th May, 2021 alongside the Commissioner of Police, Kaduna State Command amidst a jubilant gathering of the College Management, Staff, parents and students with members of the press from local and international media covering the event.
“After another head count was taken following the release of all the abducted students, I would like to set the record straight that 37 students were taken into captivity against the 39 earlier reported.
“This is due to the subsequent escape of two of the students during the incident. I am therefore pleased to inform you that all the 37 students have been successfully reunited with their families.
“At this point, and on behalf of the Management, staff and students of the College, I want to thank the Almighty God for His divine intervention. I also wish to express our profound gratitude to the Hon. Minister, Federal Ministry of Environment who mobilized and deployed necessary logistics that led to the success of the rescue efforts.
“Our gratitude also goes to the Perm. Secretary FMENV, The Board Chairman, the DG-FRIN and Sheikh (Dr.) Ahmad Gumi and other stakeholders for their relentless efforts that culminated into the release of the students from the den of the kidnappers.
“The College is also appreciative of all the security agencies for the role they played during the incident. Our special gratitude goes to the Commissioner of Police, Kaduna State Command and the Honourable Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs.
“I equally want to thank all the parents and students for their patience and understanding with the College Management during the unfortunate incident. Furthermore, I would like to use this medium to appeal to all parents/guardians to allow their children/wards to pursue their education to the end.
“Finally, I want to acknowledge the press for covering this story right from when it broke to this very moment”.