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Afaka 39 students’ parents vow to negotiate with bandits for their release

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

Parents of the 39 abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, in Afaka, Kaduna, have vowed that they’ll use any means available to secure the freedom of their children, following a threat by Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to prosecute anyone found negotiating with the kidnappers to secure the release of the students, who have been in abduction for over three weeks. 

It would be recalled that on Sunday, 4th April, 2021, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, announced that the state government had not appointed any negotiator for the release of the 39 kidnapped students and, that, “anyone caught negotiating with the kidnappers on behalf of the state will be prosecuted.”

The aggrieved parents, in a statement issued on Monday and signed by Sam Kambai (Chairman) and Sanni Friday (Secretary) on their behalf declared that they will not neglect their children, reiterating their stance to free them at all costs.

“We wish to reiterate that, we will do everything within our power, everything humanly possible, with the help of God, to ensure that our children do not perish,” the parents declared.

They also lamented how the state government has neglected them and refused to listen to them, despite efforts, describing the recent announcement by the state government to prosecute any negotiator as callous.

“For the record, the Governor of Kaduna State has never addressed the parents of these students from the first day of the incident until now. They have shown no concern about the trauma the parents have been enduring.

“Let us be clear; it is first and foremost due to the failure of government to live up to its primary responsibility of securing life and property that we have this ugly development in our hands. 

“For government to not do everything to secure the release of the students 25 days after their abduction, and for government to keep the parents in the dark as to what it is doing, if any at all, smacks of gross insensitivity. 

“We observe with disappointment that in the Easter Message by the Governor, there was no mention whatsoever of the students or any assurance of what government is doing to ensure their release. For us, it was a confirmation of our fear that the government has abandoned our children.

 “We can never abandon our children, and we will do whatever we can to see that we get them back. Furthermore, we read in the media, the statement credited to the Commissioner of Internal Security, Mr Samuel Aruwan, to the end that anyone, who negotiates the release of the students will be prosecuted.

“For us, the statement is unfortunate and another demonstration of callousness on the part of the government. We have been beaten, and we are now forced not to cry.

We are the parents of these children and, if their lives mean nothing to the government, they mean everything to us,” the neglected parents declared.

It would be recalled that one of the parents of the kidnapped students, Malam Ibrahim Shamaki, died ten days ago of complications that resulted from the trauma caused by the abduction of his daughter.

However, the commissioner had, during Journalism Peace Forum demanded to know, if journalists have evidence that Governor el-Rufai-led government was not doing anything on the Afaka 39 abducted student, but kept it to itself for security reasons. 

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