Parents of the 29 students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation in Afaka, Kaduna State abducted by bandits have stormed the National Assembly (NASS) to request for the lawmakers’ intervention towards facilitating the rescue of their son and daughters from their abductors in the state.
The parents, who were joined by members of the institution’s Students Union Government (SUG), lamented that the negligence of security agencies in rescuing their children from the abductors was responsible for the bandits holding back the victims as well as demand for ransom.
They hinted that during their last conversation with the bandits, their request was that the parents of the 29 abducted students should bring forward N145 million as ransom before the abductees would regain freedom.
While marching to the National Assembly, the protesters alleged that interrogation of the five released students further indicated that the security operatives were presently not going after the abductors to rescue the students.
The demonstrators, who arrived at the lawmakers’ premises on Tuesday, were armed with placards bearing different inscriptions: ‘Education is our right! Safety is our right! Freedom is our right!, Free Afaka 29! ”
Before their arrival at the National Assembly, the protesters, joined by the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, and an activist, Deji Adeyanju, had earlier gathered at the Unity Fountain before proceeding to NASS main entrance that was already manned by security agents who denied the protesters entrance.
They argued that the demonstration became necessary after realising that the security operatives, rather than go after the bandits, were often seen patrolling the fringes of the forest, where the students were currently been held, in hopes that the bandits will release them.
According to them, the 10 students claimed to have been rescued last month by the military were released by the abductors to show the government that they are ready for negotiation.
One of the parents who identified himself as Friday told newsmen that the students claimed to have been rescued by the military were picked up from where the bandits dropped them.
Friday added: “From our interaction with the students, they revealed that the military took them from the spot and drove them to its hospital for treatment and questioning”.
He hinted that the bandits were currently requesting N5 million as a ransom for each of the students, saying, we do not have this money and that is why we have come here to seek the lawmakers’ intervention towards the students’ rescue.
The parent further alleged that all the pieces of information gathered since their abduction two months ago were released to the State Government and security operatives but none were acted upon and that rather than act, the Nasru El-Rufai led administration directed “we should be arrested if we negotiate with bandits”.
It would be recalled that on 11th March 2021, 39 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State were abducted from their hostels by bandits dressed in military uniform.
The bandits, days after the abduction, released 10 students in two batches of five each but withheld 29 others with a strict demand for ransom before release.