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Afaka 39 abducted students’ parents’ protest rocks Kaduna

…Gives Govt 48 hours’ ultimatum for the students’ rescue. 

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

Parents of the 39 abducted students of Kaduna’s Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, on Monday staged protest, demanding for the immediate rescue of their children. 

The protesting parents, who also blocked Kaduna-Birinin Gwari expressway, wondered why their children that were abducted since 11th March, 2021, could not be rescued same way other kidnapped school students were rescued speedily.

A press statement issued and addressed at the instance of the protest by the parents’ chairman, Kambai Sam, and secretary, Comrade Friday Sanni, demanded for the rescue of their abducted children within 48hrs by government by all means.

“We have called this press conference to address the world on the excruciatingly painful development surrounding the kidnap of 39 of our sons and daughters, students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Igabi Local Government Area, Kaduna, Nigeria.

“You would recall that on the night of 11th March, 2021, gunmen invaded the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, and forcefully abducted 39 students of the institution at gun point – 23 of them are female students, while 16 are male. Several others sustained varying degrees of injuries, while running for their dear  lives. 

“The bandits had a field day on the night of capture and for over an hour carried out their nefarious activity largely unchallenged until the military came after 3 batches of students had been taken out of the college through the perimeter fence.

“Not a single one of the 39 abducted students has been rescued. We have put our trust in the government and school authority to rescue the students in good time and safely, but that has not happened,” they said.

According to the parents, “It is now 12 dark dreary days since the unfortunate incident happened, and we as parents have not received any positive message from either the school management, the Minister of Environment under whose ministry the school is or the  Kaduna State Government under whose territorial jurisdiction the school is located.

“This silence is unacceptable, as it only feeds our hopelessness with each passing day. We have, therefore, called for this press conference to call the attention of Government at State and Federal levels and all stakeholders involved and, indeed, the world, to act with dispatch to ensure the immediate – and safe – release of our children.

“We have seen this kind of ugly event happen in Katsina, Zamfara and Niger States and swiftly the governments acted and ensured the safe and timely rescue of the victims. So, why is the case of the Afaka 39 differents? Why should our innocent children pay for the failure of government to provide security of life and property? Or, is it now a crime to seek education in schools? 

Let us not forget that the students were taken in bad shape – some were barely covering themselves, especially the ladies. This is a dangerous thing and should have made the government to act faster,” they lamented.

“We do not think enough is being done. Indeed, the  failure, negligence or refusal of the government to keep us in the loop as regards the measures they are taking as well as subsequent kidnap of students in Kaduna State has heightened our anxiety on the safety of our children.

“We are, by this press conference, demanding that the Government rescues our children by all means and within 48 hours so that the process of their rehabilitation can commence, because the longer they stay in captivity the worse off.

“We also call on the Human Rights Organizations, NGOs, NBA, ASUU, the United Nations, and all well-meaning Nigerians and citizens of the world, to rise together with us and prevail on the authorities to ensure the speedy rescue of the Afaka 39. Unless that is done, we will continue to hold the feet of the authorities to the fire until our children returned safely,” it stated. 

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