By AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna, Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja and Segun Showunmi, Ibadan

  • Kidnappers give Tuesday as deadline for N100m payment

  • Parents beg

Distraught parents of the 17 abducted Greenfield University, Kaduna students on Monday begged the kidnappers to spare the lives of their wards.

They lamented that after raising and paying N55 million to the kidnappers, they should respect the agreement to free the children.

The kidnappers on Monday issued today as ultimatum for the payment of N100 million or they would kill the 17 students.

According to them, the N55 million paid had been used to “feed the students.”

Twenty-two students and matron of the university’s female hostel, were abducted April 20 from their campus   at Kasarami Chikun Local Government Area on the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway.   The bandits, who initially contacted the parents and demanded N800 million ransom, later killed five of the students following the inability of the parents and the university management to pay.

They killed three of the students on April 23 and dumped their bodies close to the university campus.

The bodies of two more abducted students were found also close to the campus on April 26.

Leader of the  gang, who identified himself as Sani  Jalingo, spoke yesterday on Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service. He said in addition to N100m, they also wanted 10 new  Honda   motorcycles  popularly known as Boko Haram to be delivered to them.

He threatened death for all the 17 students if the cash and the motorcycles were  not made available by today.

The bandit leader said the 17 students comprised 15 ladies and two boys.  The VOA reported that one of the abductees is a grandchild of the 18th Emir of Zazzau, the late Alhaji Shehu Idris.

One of the parents who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity said, they had collectively raised all they could as parents and paid more than the N55million mentioned by the bandits leader as ransom.

The parent said, “we were shocked by the latest threat by the bandits to kill our children. We are not only shocked, we are scared because these people had earlier killed some of the children.

“We were shocked because, when we paid them the ransom last week, and mind you, we paid more than the N55 million the bandits claimed to have collected from us, our agreement was that, they were going to release the children.

“We have nothing to say now than to beg the bandits to please spare the lives of our children and release them unconditionally. Because, we don’t have more money to give them.

“They should please, keep their promise and release our children,” he said.

Jalingo, who described yesterday’s threat as the final, said:  ”You are speaking with the abductors of Greenfield students. We heard the utterances of the Kaduna State Governor (Nasir El-Rufai)  that he would not pay ransom to bandits to purchase additional arms.

“He (El-Rufai) also told his family that, whoever goes to a place where they are kidnapped, he will not pay even N5 ransom to rescue them. That is to show that the Nigerian government has failed and does not love the citizens. That is why we killed the students (the initial five).”

Asked if he is into terrorism, Jalingo laughed and replied: “I am not a terrorist  but a food seeker.”

“If they (government and parents) fail to bring N100 million and 10 brand new Honda motorcycles by Tuesday (today), I can assure you, In Shaa Allah (by God’s grace), they will use trucks to evacuate the bodies of the remaining students.”

In the VOA report, two of the students, a male, and a female spoke, begging the government to pay the ransom because “these people (bandits) don’t make empty threats, whatever they say, they carry out.”

Reacting to the threat, the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr.  Frank Mba, told The Nation that the police, the military, and other security agencies  were determined to rescue    the students.

He said: “A lot has been done, unfortunately, this is a high profile and very sensitive matter, the measures being taken are not measures anybody would discuss on the pages of the newspapers.

“The Federal Government is concerned, the Kaduna State Government is concerned, the security community is concerned, the intelligence community is concerned, the law enforcement community is concerned and the military is concerned.

“We are all working intensively and collaboratively to do whatever we can to avert further arm to those innocent students.”

A group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) told President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor El-Rufai to do everything possible to prevent the kidnappers from carrying out their threat

It expressed consternation that   the government has failed to “protect the lives of the students only because they are not their biological children.”

The group also flayed the political elite for abandoning “these students and simply assumed that their lives are not worth rescuing.”

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