Parents of the kidnapped students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna state say they have been asked to pay a ransom of N500 million before their children will be released to them.
They also said they had lost hope in government’s intervention aimed at securing the release of their children.
Although 10 of the students were released by the gunmen and have since reunited with their respective families, the remaining are still held by the kidnappers since March 11, 2021.
During a press conference in Kaduna on Friday, the spokesperson for the parents, Friday Sani said the gunmen have started calling them personally, requesting ransom amounting to N500 million for the release of their children.
He said, “The condition we are in today is very pathetic, and we are calling on the entire world to come to our aid. We held a protest and the Kaduna State Government called us, thinking they were going to give us hope that they will rescue our children. But they told us that anybody caught negotiating with bandits will be prosecuted.
“That also led to our second coming out to address the world through the media that it will be better for us to be arrested, even though we have already been arrested emotionally since our children's abduction.
“We are already under the arrest of government. Some of us could not eat and sleep while some of us have developed sickness, so there is no arrest higher than this.
“We will continue to protest, no matter the number of security forces. The highest is death and we are ready to sacrifice that for our children who have promising futures,” he said.
“If we can negotiate for the release of our children and succeed and then being arrested afterwards, we will be the happiest people. It is better for us to be in government’s detention rather than allow our children to die.
“The fate of our children is what we don’t know and that is the problem we have, the government has kept silent since the release of 10 of the children.
“Maybe it is because we are no longer talking and because they pleaded with us not to address the media and protest on the street. The government has remained quiet about our abducted children. We wouldn’t mind if the government take credit for the release of the 10 students. Be that as it may be, we want them to enable the release of others so that we can applaud them the more.
“The government may turn Kaduna into Dubai but if there are no people to benefit from it, then it is a waste of resources. People are not secure; the stories of daily incidents of killings, kidnappings and other forms of crime are disheartening.
“We are pleading with the government to ensure our children do not lose their lives during any action they want to use in securing the release of our children, however, their silence,” Sani said.
He, therefore, called on the Minister of Environment, Director General of Forestry, the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies to come to their aid and ensure the safe return of their children.