Nigeria: Parents of 39 Abducted Students Vow to Negotiate With Bandits for Their Release

Nigerian schoolboys (file photo).
5 April 2021

Parents of the 39 abducted students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Kaduna, have resolved to negotiate for the release of their children, following Governor Nasir El-Rufai's declaration that the state government will not negotiate with or pay ransom to bandits.

The students were abducted in their hostels on March 11, 2021, when bandits invaded the school at about 11:30pm.

Addressing a press conference on Monday in Kaduna, Chairman of parents of the abducted students, Mr. Sam Kambai, said that the parents felt abandoned by the government.

He said the parents were working to get the contact of the bandits to commence negotiations.

"If we have the means of reaching the bandits we will negotiate with them.

"We are ready to negotiate the lives of our children. We will not allow government to destroy our children in the bush. We are also working hard to get their contact", Kambai said.

He lamented the attitude of government in ensuring the release of the students, saying the parents cannot fold their arms and watch their children being held in captivity.

They lamented that since those responsible for the protection of lives and property had failed in their responsibility, they "will do everything within our power, everything humanly possible, with the help of God, to ensure that our children do not perish."

Kambai noted that, "Today makes it 25 dreary and excruciatingly difficult days since our children have been in captivity.

"We have not received any words of empathy or assurance from government nor have we seen any action to inspire confidence that something is being done to secure the safe release of our children".

He said, "For the record, the Governor of Kaduna state has never addressed the parents of these students from the first day of the incident until now.

"They have shown no concern about the trauma the parents have been enduring.

"After we organised a peaceful protest during which we addressed a press conference on 22nd March, 2021, we got audience with a government official, where they stated categorically that the state government will not negotiate with the bandits for the release of the students".

Kambai maintained further that "as parents, we cannot sit on our hands and do nothing and that we would do everything within our capacity to ensure the safe release of our children...

"We wish to reiterate that we will do everything within our power, everything humanly possible, with the help of God, to ensure that our children do not perish.

"Let us be clear, it is first and foremost due to the failure of government to live up to its primary responsibility of securing life and property that we have this ugly development in our hands".

He said the government had kept parents in the dark on efforts being made to release the students since their abduction 25 days ago.

"We observe with disappointment that in the Easter message by the Governor, there was no mention whatsoever of the students or any assurance of what government is doing to ensure their release.

"For us it was a confirmation of our fear that the government has abandoned our children.

We can never abandon our children and we will do whatever we can to see that we get them back.

"Furthermore, we read in the media the statement credited to the Commissioner of Internal Security, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, to the effect that anyone who negotiates the release of the students will be prosecuted.

"For us the statement is unfortunate and another demonstration of callousness on the part of the government. We have been beaten, and we are now forced not to cry. We are the parents of these children and if their lives mean nothing to the government, they mean everything to us...

"We will continue to do our best until we have our children back.

"Therefore, we are not intimidated by the threat of prosecution. We call on all Nigerians and the international community to support us in our efforts for the safe return to us of our children soonest", he said.

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