Aggrieved parents of the students abducted from Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation in Kaduna State, Northwest Nigeria, have demanded that the abductors negotiate with them on the release of their children.
On Friday, March 12, the group of armed terrorists invaded the school and abducted 39 students – 23 young women and 16 young men.
Days after their abduction, the abducted students appeared in a video, pleading for ransom to be paid to their abductors to release them.
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, had vowed he would not let the country’s educational system be destroyed by the terrorists, ordering the military to return the students to their families.
But 25 days after, the students are still in captivity.
Nasir El-Rufai, Kaduna State Governor, has repeatedly said his administration would not negotiate with the terrorists, describing them as “persons without hearts.”
“We will not engage with bandits or kidnappers. Private citizens like clerics and clergymen can do so in their individual capacities. We also want them to repent but it is not our job to ask them to do so,” El-Rufai reiterated his non-negotiation stance on Channels Television on Sunday evening.
Weary by the long wait for their children’s release, the parents, on Monday, April 5, said they were ready to negotiate with the terrorists, saying “we cannot sit and do nothing.”
Sam Kambai, the head of the parents’ association, accused the government of not being proactive about rescuing their children in the bush.
He also accused Governor El-Rufai of abandoning them (parents) to their fate since the incident happened more than three weeks ago.
“Today makes it 25 dreary and excruciatingly difficult days since our children have been in captivity,” Kambai 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.”
“We have not received any words of empathy or assurance from (the) government nor have we seen any action to inspire confidence that something is being done to secure the safe release of our children.”
The parents had, on March 23, staged a protest against the government’s handling of the kidnap. Yet, the students remained in captivity.
They faulted the governor for failing to provide an update on the situation in his Easter message on Saturday.
“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,” they said.
Kambai said they resolved to do “everything within our power, everything humanly possible, with the help of God, to ensure that our children do not perish.”
“If we have the means of reaching the bandits, we will negotiate with them. We are ready to negotiate the lives of our children,” he said.
“We will not allow (the) government to destroy our children in the bush. We are also working hard to get their contact.”
They called for local and international support for the return to their children soonest.
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