Workers and students of Government Science College Kagara, Niger State, who were kidnapped by bandits on February 17, 2021, are still in captivity eight days after their abduction.
Rumour was rife on Sunday night that the students had been freed but Governor Abubakar Sani Bello later announced that they had yet to be released.
SaharaReporters had reported how gunmen suspected to be bandits stormed the school last Wednesday, abducting 27 students and staff members.
While one student who tried to escape was gunned down, a member of staff luckily broke loose from captivity.
Meanwhile, the gunmen have threatened to starve the students and workers to death if the ransom they demand is not paid on time.
One of the abductors stated this in an audio recording made available to journalists on Wednesday by a prominent Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi.
One of the abductors who spoke in Hausa, rejected the N2.7m offered him as a ransom for the 27 abductees.
“I don’t have food for them. If anybody dies among them, we will tell you where to go and pick the corpse.
“You know these children are hungry. I don’t have food to give them, only water if they are going to die, let them die,” the bandit said.
SaharaReporters gathered that parents of the 27 students had made frantic efforts to contribute N100,000 each amounting to N2.7 million to secure the release of their children.
But the gunmen rejected the money which was presented to them through their contact person who is mediating on their behalf.
Speaking further, the leader of the gang of bandits told the negotiator that he was aware that many security agents and vehicles had been deployed in Kagara.
He said, “It is with the help of the people of the city that intruders can overrun the city. Don’t you know that? The person who gave us this business is there among you. He is there with you. Wherever you go, he is watching you. If you want to do this deal, go ahead. From God, we come and to Him, we will return
“Even if you put together the entire security forces of Nigeria in Kagara, I have eyes all over Kagara. Whichever step you take in Nigeria, I swear, I will know. You people are saying they should not pay us, that if they pay us, we will use to money to buy weapons. With whose money did we buy our weapons? If we don’t have weapons, you will just send security agents to kill us and take the children.”
“If I want Kagara to be in peace, it will be in peace. If it is not going to be in peace, it will go in pieces from here until Ilorin. If I die in this process, I have children that I have instructed that if I die that I don’t want Kagara to be peaceful if you don’t do as I say. Even if I die, nobody will come into Kagara.”
Receiving the delegation from the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) led by the Chairman, Kayode Fayemi recently, Governor Bello said that negotiation was in top gear to secure the release of the students and workers.
He noted that there were two phases of dialogue his administration was exploring at the time.
First, he said, was to secure the release of the students, while the second phase was to dialogue with the gunmen on their challenges and reasons for the attacks.
Meanwhile, two former heads of state who hail from Niger state, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar, have asked the government and security agencies to employ all means necessary to secure the release of the abductees