From John Adams, Minna
After one week of pains, anxiety, frustration, high level dialogue and negotiations, the remaining 39 passengers on board of the Niger State Transport Authority (NSTA) kidnapped last week Sunday, walked into their freedom.
It was with mix feelings as the four 18 seater bus conveying the victims arrived government house, Minna at exactly 11:15pm on Sunday to the waiting hands of the state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, his deputy governor, Alhaji Ahmed Kesto and the entire members of the state Executive Council.
While both the State government and the families of the victims could not hide their joy over the release of their love ones, the condition of the victims which are made up of 20 women, 24 men and nine children became a source of concern to everyone.
Looking tired, exhausted and malnourished, the victims, one after the other, walk down from the vehicle and made their way straight to the hall where the governor was already waiting to receive them.
The physical appearance of the victims tells the story of the dehumanized condition they were subjected to in the one week of captivity.
In a brief ceremony at the government house chamber which lasted just 10 minutes, the governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello thank God for the release of the victims unhurt, stressing that it was one week of dialogue, consultations and sleepless night to secure the releases of the abductees.
According to the governor “because we have to ensure we secure their release within the shortest possible time and thank God that has being achieved”.
“We have made all necessary arrangements to ensure that they go through a thorough medical therapy and evaluation and once that is done, then we can safely hand them over to their loved ones”, he said.
The Governor expressed gratitude to God Almighty for showing them the way to secure the release of the kidnapped victims and also appreciated everyone who has played a role in the release efforts.
“We are grateful to God Almighty for guiding us, for protecting them, for showing us the way to secure their release.
“I will like to thank everyone that has played a role in this effort and also like to thank their loved ones for the understanding they have shown in this trying moment”, he said.
The Governor has however confirmed that the Students of the Government Science College Kagara, are still in the hands of their captives but gave the assurance that everything is being done to ensure their release in the next few hours.
They were abducted one week ago in the State owned transport bus at Kundu village while returning from Rijau, in Rijau Local Government Area of the State.
Meanwhile all the victims have being handed over to their families after they had undergone medical examination under the supervision of the state commissioner for health and hospital services after spending the night in a hotel where they were kept on arrival.
The Governor has also approved an undisclosed amount of money to each of the victims as transportation to their destination.