BY ISAIAH BENJAMIN, Kaduna
Parents of the abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation Afaka in Kaduna, has apologised to the popular Islamic scholar, Sheikh (Dr) Ahmad Gumi, over what they called a false accusation in an interview granted by one of the parents of the students in captivity linking him to a payment of N800,000 to a Fulani man to help in negotiation with the abductors.
According to the committee of parents of the abducted students who are still in captivity, in a statement issued and jointly signed by the chairman, Abdullahi Usman and secretary, Catherine Y. Saleh, and made available to journalists in Kaduna, said, “the attention of the parents of the 39 abducted Afaka students has been drawn to a screaming headline in today’s (May 5, 2021) publication of Roots TV to the effect that one of us, who spoke to them in a live interview, claimed that we, the parents of the abducted students, contributed and paid the sum of N800,000 to a Fulani man through Sheikh Gumi for the release of our children.
“We wish to state in no unclear terms that the claim has no basis in fact. Though the woman in the said video has a child in captivity, but her claim is untrue. The woman is not a member of the committee representing the affected parents and did not speak on behalf of the parents.
“To be sure, the Forum of the parents has never gathered money and given to Gumi or to someone through the revered Islamic scholar at anytime. We, therefore, dissociate ourselves from the statement. The committee considers the statement as unfortunate and an unnecessary distraction from its commitment to secure the release of their children who have now spent 56 days in captivity.
“For the record, the committee representing the Forum of Parents of the 39 Abducted Students visited the home of Sheikh Gumi to seek his intervention for the release of our children but he declined, on the grounds that as a law abiding citizen he would not want to go against the position of the state government which has forbidden anyone to negotiate with bandits.
“We apologise to the esteemed Sheikh for any personal injury the statement might have caused him.
“Again we call on all to join their voices in calling on government at state and Federal levels to work extra hard to ensure the safe release of our children so that they may be reunited with their families.
“While we await God’s intervention for the release of our children, we call on all people of goodwill to join us in prayers as we continue to seek God’s help for the release of our children” the t parents appealed,” they said.
It would be recalled that the parents had taken their peaceful protest to the National Assembly (NASS) in Abuja in Tuesday during which the said parent had granted the interview.