By Isaiah Benjamin, Sunday Isuwa, Tunde Oguntola, Aza Msue |
One of the abducted students of Greenfield University in Kaduna State has been released by the bandits.
Although the police and Kaduna State government authorities are yet to confirm the development, the mother of the student confirmed the release of her son to journalists yesterday.
She however refused to give details of how her son was released and whether a ransom was paid.
It was gathered that the student was released on Saturday after his mother, who is the wife of a retired army officer, negotiated and paid ransom to the bandits privately.
The parents had earlier said the bandits had been negotiating with them individually, asking each of them to pay N20 million before the bandits eventually demanded N100 million in bulk and ten motorcycles on Monday, May 3, as conditions for the release of the students.
The parents had, however appealed to the government and Nigerians to come to their aid so that their children would be rescued alive.
With the release of the student, the fate of the remaining 16 students still hangs in the balance even as the bandits threatened to kill them if their parents and government fail to pay the N100 million ransom and also provide ten new motorcycles.
The bandits had earlier killed five of their captives.
The release of one of the students follows an earlier threat by their abductors to kill the 17 students in their custody if their parents and the state government fail to pay the sum of N100 million as ransom by yesterday.
The parents of the victims who did not want their names mentioned due to the fresh demand of N100 million by the bandits said over N50 million ransom was paid to them over the weekend, with the assurance their children would be freed.
In addition to the N100 million, the parents said the bandits also demanded ten new motorcycles before the end of yesterday, failing which they will have no choice but to kill the remaining 17 students in their custody.
Parents Of Kidnapped Kaduna Forestry Students Protest At NASS
Meanwhile, parents of the abducted students of the College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna State yesterday protested at the gate of the National Assembly over the continued detention of their children.
The parents, who were dressed in black attire and holding placards with inscription: “Bring Back Our Students,” were denied entry to the National Assembly complex.
“The government should help us. It’s 55 days today and getting to two months. People that are supposed to graduate since last year but because of coronavirus they could not. This year, they have been kidnapped,” one of the parents, a widow, Rabi Magaji Zacharia, said.
“Help our children. I don’t have a husband. I am a widow. I don’t have anyone to help me,” Rabi said during the protest that was joined by members of the Students Union Government (SUG) of the institution and some civil society organisations.
An activist, Deji Adeyanju, who was part of the protest, appealed to the government to rescue the students.
Some of the students during the protest chanted: “Education is our right! Safety is our right! Freedom is our right! Free Afaka 29.”
Thirty-nine students of the college in Afaka, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State were kidnapped from their hostels by bandits dressed in military uniforms on March 11, 2021 but 10 were released in batches while 29 are still in captivity.
An earlier video showed the kidnappers torturing the students. They were seen begging for freedom.
NAF Neutralises Bandits In Birnin Gwari
Kaduna State government yesterday disclosed that the Nigerian Air Force neutralised a group of bandits congregating in a location to carry out attacks in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Monday.
Commissioner, Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, in a statement explained that his ministry had last Sunday received intelligence of bandits congregating at the outskirts of Kugu in Birnin Gwari LGA, which is also proximal to some villages in Shiroro LGA of Niger State.
Aruwan said on receipt of the intelligence which was dispatched to the military and other security agencies for further confirmation and action, the NAF component of Operation Thunder Strike (OPTS) mobilised for armed reconnaissance.
According to him, the first mission was conducted over the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari road, Koriga, Polewire, Gagafada, Manini, Udawa, Labi, Buruku and adjoining settlements.
“The target location was acquired, and the bandits were engaged and neutralised accordingly at the outskirts of Kugu village.
In a second mission, armed reconnaissance was carried out over the Kaduna-Abuja road, Olam Company, Rugu, Akilbu, Polewire, Rijana, Kateri and Jere. Normal human and vehicular movements were observed.”