From John Adams, Minna
There is no respite in sight for parents of students of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, as their abductors have rejected a N2.7 million ransom offer.
In an audio record of negotiation between leader of the bandits and an unidentified mediator, it was gathered that the abductors turned down the offer of N100,000 per child.
But the bandits did not say how much they would collect for the release of the school children kidnapped six days ago.
Leader of the bandits who spoke in the audio tape, told the mediator that they rejected the offer because only half of the money would get to them, as their informants would take almost 50 per cent.
The bandits said their informants were monitoring all the events in the town and reminded him that there could be no successful operation without an insiders. They, however, urged the people to hasting negotiation because they (bandits) were running out of food, warning that any of them that eventually die out of starvation would be buried in the bush.
They nevertheless vowed that there would be no peace in the entire Kagara except government disband the vigilance group, pointing out that there was no amount of force that can stop them from operating in the area and other parts of the state. The bandits leader boasted that even if he was killed, he would “brainwash” his boys to continued the struggle.
The bandits also said they were aware the state government has vowed not to pay any ransom because it feared such money would be used to purchase more weapons, insisting that whether government pay ransom or not, they have money to acquire any weapon they wanted.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has raised the alarm that the growing insecurity was an agenda to destroy the country.
The Forum said what the country is witnessing was nothing but terrorism, stressing that “there is no other name for it.
“We may call it banditry, kidnaping, these are the remnants of the actors in the North East that have found themselves in other parts of the country. Whether they are known as ISWAP, Shekau faction, they are remnants of what we are still dealing with in that part of Nigeria. That is why we must not treat the North East in isolation of this problem. We are all victims as long as any section of our country is ravaged by this problem,” NGF chairman and Ekiti Governor, Kayode Fayemi, said in Minna, yesterday.
The Ekiti governor, who was accompanied by four other colleagues, warned that the agenda of those behind the growing tension is to destroy the country.
“This is their ultimate agenda, it is either we succumb to that agenda or we collectively fight that agenda, but I think we should fight it in oder to safe this country. I think what we need is to come together as a country instead of engaging in blame games as citizens or as leaders.
“Our security agencies need to come together for better coordination and for better sharing of intelligence to enable us defeat this manage.”
Fayemi charged Nigerians not to give up hope, stressing that “even in this difficult times we must put all our efforts together, demonstrate resilience, reassure our people not to give up hope because we can only defeat terrorism collectively not in isolation.”
Fayemi pointed out that what Nigerians wanted from their leaders is to do everything possible to enable them sleep with their two eyes closed not to trade blames or engage in “circle of lamentations” insisting that “ the citizens want us to fix this problem of insecurity.”
He said the governors have identified with the struggle of the people of Niger State in the last two weeks, saying: “We feel your pains, we feel your fears and anxiety” but reminded the people that the situation is not peculiar to the state.
In his remarks, Niger Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, described the visit of his colleagues as “a morale booster” to the government and people of the state saying the kidnap of the school children was an agenda to stop people from going to school but said the agenda will fail.
Bello pleaded with the Federal Government to work with the states to find a lasting solution to the problem of insecurity in the country.
On the delegation were the Plateau Governor, Simon Bako Lalong, Sokoto, Aminu Waziri Tambwal, Kwara, Abdulrahman Abdulrasak, and that of Nasaraw.
Governor Bello assured that the school children would regain their freedom in a matter of days, insisting, “we will get them released through dialogue with abductors.”
He also denied knowledge of plans by the parents of the school children to pay ransom.