Popular Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has assured that the remaining 16 of the kidnapped Greenfield varsity students will be released soon.
He said negotiations were ongoing with the bandits who seized them since they issued a threat to kill the abductees if a ransom of N100 million was not paid.
Gumi disclosed this in Kaduna shortly after receiving parents of freed students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, who paid him a ‘thank you visit’ for his roles in securing the release of their children.
He said, “The role myself and former President Olusegun Obasanjo played in the release of the 27 Afaka students is the role of mediators, because the fight is not between us and them, but between the bandits and the government.
“What we understand is that these people are trying to attack the government by attacking the government institutions and taking innocent children. Having understood that, we came to the conclusion that, this is not a hopeless situation, we can really go in and negotiate for the release of this child, which we did after so many ups and downs. But in the long run, a conclusion was reached and these children are out.
“So, we are happy that, all of them are out and none was killed. The talk with the Greenfield University students’ abductors is also going on because we are. You know they threatened to kill all of them after a particular deadline, but after talking to them, they are now lowering their bar.
“So, we are thankful they have stopped killing. And we are still negotiating with them. I hope this Afaka case will also encourage us to know that there is hope in negotiation and release of the children.”
On the reported swap of a bandit for the students, Sheikh Gumi taunted the Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-Rufai over the comments he made in 2014.
He said, “I cannot confirm that, but I can quote the Governor of Kaduna state when the children of Chibok were kidnapped by Boko Haram, he said it is the duty of the government to use whatever means possible to save the lives of Chibok girls.
“This is a general rule that life is more precious. Now, I am happy that 27 lives have been saved.”
SaharaReporters recalled that El-Rufai had in 2014 criticised the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan shortly after Boko Haram insurgents abducted students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
He had said Jonathan was insensitive to the plights of the kidnapped girls, calling on the Nigerian government to pay ransom to facilitate their freedom.
The video recently sparked an outrage amidst mixed reactions, which have continued to trail the ongoing attacks and abductions of citizens in Kaduna state.
The governor had said, “If one of these girls was Jonathan’s daughter, the story would have been different.
“The only reason why these girls are still in captivity is because they are not the daughter of any important Nigerian and we know it.
“If you say we are politcising terrorism, go and rescue the girls so that I will not have the basis to politicise it.”
Asked if he was in support of negotiation, he had responded, “I am in support of every option, when you have life of a citizens at risk, you should not have any option on the table. You should reflect and listen.”