by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Penultimate to the release of the abducted Afaka 39 students, controversy had ensued, as a mother of one of the abducted students had made a stunning revelation against the revered Sheikh Dr. Mahmud Gumi, saying they contributed and paid N800,000 to the bandits through him.
The student’s mother, who revealed that the Afaka 39 parents contributed and paid the money to a Fulani man through Sheikh Gumi for the release of their children has however, had her allegations immediately refuted and described as “untrue” by Afaka 39 parents’ representative in a statement on Wednesday in Kaduna.
The statement signed by the representative committee Chairman and Secretary, Malam Abdullahi Usman and Mrs Catherine Y. Saleh, maintained that the claim is untrue and has no basis of fact.
The statement reads in part: “The attention of the parents of the 39 abducted Afaka students has been drawn to a screaming headline in today’s (May 5, 2021) publication of Roots TV to the effect that one of us (name upheld), who spoke to them in a live interview, claimed that we, the parents of the abducted students, contributed and paid the sum of N800,000 to a Fulani man through Sheikh Gumi for the release of our children.
“We wish to state in no unclear terms that the claim has no basis in fact. Though, the woman in the said video has a child in captivity, but her claim is untrue. The woman is not a member of the committee representing the affected parents and did not speak on behalf of the parents.
“To be sure, the Forum of the Abducted Parents has never gathered money and given to Gumi or to someone through the revered Islamic scholar at anytime. We, therefore, dissociate ourselves from the statement.
“The committee considers the statement as unfortunate and an unnecessary distraction from its commitment to secure the release of their children, who have now spent 56 days in captivity.
“For the record, the committee representing the Forum of Parents of the 39 Abducted Students visited the home of Sheikh Gumi to seek his intervention for the release of our children, but he declined, on the grounds that as a law abiding citizen he would not want to go against the position of the state government, which has forbidden anyone to negotiate with bandits.
“We apologise to the esteemed Sheikh for any personal injury the statement might have caused him.
“Again, we call on all to join their voices in calling on government at state and federal levels to work extra hard to ensure the safe release of our children so that they may be reunited with their families.
“While we await God’s intervention for the release of our children, we call on all people of goodwill to join us in prayers as we continue to seek God’s help for the release of our children,” it stated.
Recalled that Governor Nasir el-Rufai had earlier prohibited any form of negotiation with bandits on behalf of himself or Kaduna State Government.