Abubakar Adamu, one of the distraught parents of the abducted students of a school in Niger State, North-central Nigeria, says the wait for the return of his children is agonising.
Seven of Adamu’s 11 children were among the 136 students kidnapped by a terror gang from Salihu Tanko Islamiya school in Tegina, Rafi LGA of the state on May 30.
Adamu told Reuters on Wednesday Aug. 24, that he had been stretched thin financially, having sold his car and a parcel of land to raise the ransom to free his children.
He had gathered N3 million together with contributions from relatives as ransom for the release of the kidnapped children.
In June, after being wary of neglect by the state government, the parents and school authorities entered into negotiations with the terrorists who demanded N200 million ransom.
They were able to raise N50 million. But that still wasn’t enough for the terrorists, locally called bandits, to release the children. Instead, they set a new demand for more cash and six motorbikes.
There are at least 124 students still in captivity after the terrorists have released only 11 of them and one reportedly died in the early days of the abduction, according to HumAngle’s aggregation of tally.
“We are in agony,” Adamu, who works as a tyre repairman, told Reuters. “Honestly I don’t have anything left.”
HumAngle reported that Abubakar Alhassan, the school headteacher said the children’s continued stay in captivity has parents feeling hopeless.
Wasiu Abiodun, police spokesperson in the state, said rescue efforts were still ongoing. But HumAngle observed that there has been little or no progress in bringing the children home, from security personnel in the state.
Abubakar Bello, the Governor of Niger State, has maintained a no-negotiation stance with the terrorists, going by President Muhammadu Buhari’s warnings to state governments.
Both the Governor and the President have come under heavy criticism for not taking security collapse seriously as the terrorists continue their assaults with minimal suppression of government security forces.
When Muhammed Idris, the State Commissioner for Information was swiftly rescued days after his kidnapping, activists denounced the state government’s carefree approach to the release of the Islamiyya students.
Yussuf Kokki, the co-convener, Concerned Shiroro Youth said whatever strategy used in securing release of high-profile people, should be in the “overall interest of justice, compassion, sympathy, empathy and must be replicated in the case of Tegina Islamiya children who have so far spent close to three months in captivity.”
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