Students’ killing: Fear grips parents as bandits insist on N800m ransom
•• We’re overwhelmed, says varsity
•• President, Northern governors outraged
•• Third victim identified
Fear has gripped parents of the students of Greenfield University, Kaduna, who are still being held by bandits, following the killing of three of the kidnapped students.
The parents are under serious pressure to raise the N800 million ransom demanded by the gunmen.
President Muhammadu Buhari vowed on Saturday that bandits, kidnappers and their patrons who are behind recent violent activities in the country will pay for their brutality with the same measure of recompense under the full weight of the law, while Northern governors described the development as shocking, barbaric and condemnable.
The identity of the third murdered student was revealed on Saturday as Precious Nwakacha.
The only male among them, Abubakar Yusuf Sanga, was buried on Friday. The other victim is Dorathy Yohanna.
Precious Nwakacha a.k.a Presh hailed from Nnewi, Anambra State.
Describing herself on her Facebook wall, she said: “I’m an Igbo girl and I love having fun.”
She had 1,060 followers.
Sources close to the parents told The Nation in Kaduna on Saturday that the kidnappers were insisting on getting N800 million as ransom.
The parents of the 29 abducted students of the College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Kaduna, are in a similar dilemma.
The tormentors of their children are demanding N500 million as ransom.
The parents of the Greenfield University students are understood to be going through severe psychological torture, not knowing what could become of their children for as long as they remain in captivity.
The management of the university confessed yesterday that it was overwhelmed by the development and it needed help to secure the safe release of the students and staff.
The university’s Registrar, Bashir Muhammad, said in a statement that efforts so far made to secure the release of abductees have not yielded the desired results.
He pleaded with government and people of goodwill “who can be of assistance to come to our aid as the situation is becoming overwhelming.”
He appealed to “those in custody of our staff and students to spare their lives.”
The chairman of the Parents Association of the College of Forestry Mechanization, Samuel Kambai, declined yesterday to comment.
One of the parents told The Nation that they have resorted to prayer for the safe return of their children, as the bandits are insisting on N500 million ransom.
The parent said: “We are scared about the safety of our children. We have started negotiation with the bandits. We had paid them more than N15 million before they released 10 students.
“What they told us was that they were going to be releasing our children in batches. So, when they released the initial five, we became very hopeful. Then they released another five after one week. Since then, they have refused to release the others as promised.
“Now, they are renegotiating the ransom. They are now going back to the initial N500 million. We have begged them and told them we only have N4 million on ground, but they are not ready to listen to us.
“They are also asking us to facilitate the release of some of their members in security custody in Abuja, but we told them that we are not security people or constituted authority and as such, we cannot get their members released. That is where we are now.
“So, we are now praying to God to intervene and help us touch the hearts of the abductors to release our children unconditionally.”
Bandits, sponsors’ll pay with same measure of their brutality under wrath of law — Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari vowed that bandits, kidnappers and their patrons, who are behind recent violent activities in the country, would pay for their brutality with same measure of recompense under the full weight of the law.
The President also said his administration would use all the resources available to Nigeria to fight the scourge of banditry, kidnapping, as well as what he described as the ‘politics of murder’.
In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, President Buhari condemned the incident, describing it as a terror attack.
He said those who think that profits can be made, either from money paid as ransom or in politics, “will suffer with equal measure of recompense under the full weight of the law for their wickedness and brutality.
“Banditry, kidnapping and the politics of murders will be fought with all the resources available to our country,” declared the President.
While commiserating with the families of the victims, the President condemned politicians and religious leaders whose comments he described as further stoking the pains and anguish of the families that have had to cope with the realities of the ravaging violence.
According to him, conquering the prevailing violent acts of bandits, kidnapping and other criminal elements in the country require a concerted confrontation by the society against perpetrators.
He described as “unfortunate, the tenor of some political and religious leaders that seem to further incite and stoke the pain and anguish of mourning families who are forced to confront these atrocities.
“Addressing this scourge requires a great show of empathy and coming together as a society to squarely confront these elements and the danger it poses to our democracy and peaceful life in the country.”
The President described the students as bright youngsters who were cut down by evil people in their prime.
“My thoughts are with their families in this time of grief. May their souls rest in peace,” said the President.
We’re devastated – Northern governors
Also reacting, the Northern States Governors Forum said it was distressed by the killing of three of the students.
Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State Simon Lalong described the murder of the young innocent students as shocking, barbaric and condemnable.
Lalong said there was no justification for the kidnap and murder of the innocent students who were simply in school to study and prepare themselves for service to the nation.
This action, according to him, is an act of sheer wickedness that must not be allowed to go unpunished.
He said the northern governors have continued to engage the Federal Government and security agencies towards a lasting solution to this menace of kidnapping and other criminal activities, particularly in schools which has great implications for the future of education in the region and the nation at large.
Lalong said the recent meeting of the Forum with President Muhammadu Buhari and Service Chiefs was to further consolidate on measures towards addressing the security challenges of the region and the nation as a whole.