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Abduction: Parents shun el-Rufai


By Idibia Gabriel, Kaduna

The parents of abducted students of College of Forestry and Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna, say they have lost hope in Government intervention in securing the release of their children.

The 39 students of the college were kidnapped on March 11, but only10 have been released.

Addressing pressmen on Friday in Kaduna, the spokesperson of the parents, Mr. Friday Sani, said the abductors had resolved in calling them personally requesting ransom amounting to N500 million for the release of their children.

“The condition we are in today is very pathetic, and we are calling on the entire world to come to our aid.

“We held a protest and the Kaduna State Government called us, thinking they were going to give us hope that they will rescue our children, but they told us that anybody caught negotiating with bandits will be prosecuted.

“That also led to our second coming out to address the world through the media that it will be better for us to be arrested, even though we have already been arrested emotionally since our children’s abduction.

“We are already under the arrest of Government, some of us could not eat and sleep while some of us have developed sickness, so there is no arrest higher than this.

“We will continue to protest. No matter the number of security forces, the highest is death and we are ready to sacrifice that for our children who have promising futures”, Sani said.

He noted that they were however not afraid of arrest of any kind from the Government.

“If we can negotiate for the release of our children and succeed and then be arrested afterwards, we will be the happiest people. It is better for us to be in Government’s detention rather than allow our children to die.

“The fate of our children is what we don’t know and that is the problem we have, the Government has kept silent since the release of ten of the children.

“Maybe it is because we are no longer talking and they pleaded with us not to address the media and protest on the street, the Government has remained quiet about our abducted children.

“We wouldn’t mind if the Government takes credit for the release of the ten students. Be it as it may be, we want them to enable the release of others so that we can applaud them the more.

“The government may turn Kaduna into Dubai but if there are no people to benefit from it, then it is a waste of resources; people are not secure, the stories of daily incidents of killings, kidnappings and other forms of crime is disheartening.

“We are pleading with the Government to ensure our children do not lose their lives during the course of any action they want to use in securing the release of our children, however, they are silent,” Sani said.

Sani called on the minister of environment, Director General of forestry, United Nations and other Humanitarian Agencies to come for their aid and ensure safe return of their children.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner, Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs in Kaduna State, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, has said that there was nothing between Governor El-Rufai and parents of abducted Afaka students but empathy, contrary to the mischief in some sections of the media.

In a statement on Thursday night, the commissioner explained that the bond between the state Governor and the parents of the abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, and other citizens in captivity, was deep empathy amidst spirited efforts to secure the remaining students.

Aruwan said: ” The Governor will continue to work hard until banditry is contained, without succumbing to emotional blackmail and gradual politicization of the unfortunate situation.

“For instance, some section of the media have been reporting the parents’ responses to the purported threat by the Governor to prosecute them, which is simply false and deeply mischievous.”

He emphasized that “the statement of the Government warning impostors who have been presenting themselves as Government-appointed emissaries to negotiate with bandits across the State, has nothing to do with the parents or relatives of the abducted students or any other person in captivity.”

“It was rather directed primarily to some identified individuals exploiting the security situation in the State, and neighbouring States.

“Finally, the State Government will not join issues with the parents whose pain we understand and with whom we share the common goal of the return of all the abducted students.

“The state government continues to work towards crushing banditry, kidnapping and other acts of criminality menacing our people and communities.

We believe that most people of goodwill share this desire, and we urge everyone to be wary of those who see in the misery of others only an opportunity for needless controversy,” he said.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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