Dr. Solomon N. Yusuf, one of the four University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) lecturers abducted by suspected Boko Haram terrorists in Magumeri, Borno State, has lamented the failure of Federal Government to free them from captivity. Dr. Yusuf and his colleagues were abducted on 25 July while obtaining soil samples for hydrocarbon exploration around the Chad Basin. The exploration was being coordinated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The lecturer's lamentation was contained in a letter from captivity to his wife, Hannatu. In the letter, dated 4 September and obtained by SaharaReporters, Dr. Yusuf reminded the government that he and his colleagues were abducted while on a national assignment, not on a sightseeing trip. He pleaded with the government to meet the demands of the abductors under the control of Abu Mus'ab Albarnawi, warning that delay in doing so poses a huge risk to their lives.
"I want to emphasize that delay in getting our freedom poses risk to our dear lives. We never expected we would spend over 42 days (as at 4 September) in captivity because the project has presidential orders to explore hydrocarbon in the Chad Basin," Dr. Yusuf wrote.
He recalled that the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, while functioning as Acting President, made a promise during the commissioning of a rice mill in Kebbi State that the government would do everything to secure their freedom within the shortest possible time.
"The government should please continue negotiating with the present contact given to them by the University of Maiduguri as a means of contacting soldiers of Khalifa under the leadership of Abu Mus'ab Albarnawi. We plead with the government to treat our freedom with all sense of urgency and sympathy so that that we can be reunited with our families. The use of force is a serious threat to our lives," he pleaded.
The lecturer, who thanked the local and international media for focusing on his abduction and that of his colleagues, told his wife that he and his colleagues, Messrs Yusuf Ibrahim and Haruna Dashe are alive, well and hoping to return home. Dr. Yusuf inquired about his children Suzy, Bryan and a newborn apparently delivered after his abduction. He directed the wife to, in his absence, have the newborn named by his father, Mr. Nehemiah Yusuf. He also told his wife to extend greetings from Messrs. Yusuf and Dashe to their wives and children.
Dr. Yusuf called on members of the abductees' families to weigh in with pressure on the authorities of University of Maiduguri and the Federal Government for their freedom.
He used the letter to complain that Professors Saidu Baba and Adamu Dziuama, coordinators of the exploration of behalf of the NNPC, that he and his colleagues have been in captivity for long. Dr. Yusuf said he expected the government to have freed them by now, given that over 70 lives have been lost in the abduction saga.
Dr. Yusuf thanked the national and University of Maiduguri chapters of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for calling for their release, especially for including their matter as one of the reasons for the ongoing national strike by members of the union.