After 40 Days in Captivity, All Remaining Abducted Greenfield Students Freed
•El Rufai: Bitterness of the last few weeks, now over, would set the backdrop for positive achievements in their lives
•We paid N180 million, received no help from govt, say parents
John Shiklam in Kaduna
All the remaining abducted students of the Greenfield University, Kaduna, have been released after spending harrowing 40 days in captivity, the authorities of Greenfield University, confirmed this in a statement last night.
The registrar of the University, Mr. Mohammed Bashir, in the said statement stated that all the remaining students and non academic staff that were abducted by the bandits were released and had been reunited with their families.
Also, confirming the news, the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai assured the studentsthat, “the bitterness of the last few weeks, now over, would set the backdrop for positive achievements in their lives, as he wished them well for the future.”
But some of the parents of the released students have expressed disappointment in the government at all levels for allegedly leaving them to their fate, saying they had to cough out a whopping N180 million to the bandits before they released their children.
However, part of the statement by Greenfield stated thus: “As you are aware that on Tuesday, April 20th, 2021 armed bandits attacked Greenfield University and abducted 20 students and three non academic staff. Five out of the abducted students and a Male warden were grossly murdered by the bandits.
“I am pleased to inform you that, today, being Saturday, May 29, 2021 that all the remaining students and non academic staff have been released by the bandits and they have already been reunited with their families.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, University Council, Management, Staff and Students of our university, we wish to thank all Nigerians and well wishers all over the world for standing by us during this trying times”.
Bandits had on April 18 invaded the university located along the dreaded Kaduna-Abuja road about 8:30pm and abducted 23 students. Few days after the abduction, the bandits, who had demanded N800 million as ransom, killed five of the students, when negotiations were still going on.
On April 23, the bandits killed three of the students, five days after their abduction. Their remains were found in Kwanan Bature village, close to the university. On April 26, two more students were killed and security personnel recovered their corpses in the bush.
One of the parents was said to have paid a ransom of N20 million for the release of her son.
On its part, the Kaduna State Government said in a statement by the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, “The kidnapped students of the Greenfield University, who had been held hostage by armed bandits, have been released by their abductors.
“This was reported to the Kaduna State Government by security agencies. According to the reports, about 2pm today, Saturday, the hostages were found released along the Kaduna-Abuja road. Fourteen persons were released in total, comprising students and staff.
“It would be recalled that they were abducted by armed bandits in April and had been in captivity since then. Five students were gruesomely killed by the bandits in the period.
“Governor Nasir El-Rufai welcomed the news of the students’ release, and conveyed solace and encouragement to them following their harrowing ordeal.
“He assured them that the bitterness of the last few weeks, now over, would set the backdrop for positive achievements in their lives, as he wished them well for the future.”
Meanwhile, in a short video that went viral last night, two of the parents of the abducted children, a man and a woman, who were bitter about their experience so far despite the release of their children confirmed that they paid some N180 million before the release that was later celebrated by government and security agencies.
The parents, who alleged neglect by the government both confirmed that neither the state nor the federal government participated in the process that led to the release of the children, particularly, that the security agencies refused to help in whatever form of shape.
“N180 million, that’s what we paid; that’s what they collected. One hundred and eighty million, that is they collected from us – from the parents without the help of a government. None of the government officials that has come to our aid since the 20th of April that they took these children. No single one policeman that the government has released to go after them,” the male parent told a reporter, shortly after the children were released.
Similarly, spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, Mohammad Jalige, also confirmed the release of the 14 students, when contacted by telephone. Jalige, who said the students were released Saturday evening, added that three of them were still being held.
“Yes, 14 of the students of the Greenfield University were released from captivity this evening (Saturday), remaining three of them still in captivity,” Jalige explained. He did not give details of the students’ release and why three were still being held.
When contacted, Registrar of the university, Mr. Mohammed Bashir, said he was busy and promised to confirm later. “Yes, we are still on it. I am very busy right now. You can call me back later to confirm,” Bashir said by telephone.
One Sani Idris Jalingo, who claimed to be the leader of the bandits that abducted the students, had in an interview with the Voice of America (VOA), Hausa Service, on May 3, threatened to kill the students if a ransom of N100 million in addition to 10 new Honda motorcycles were not provided the following day.Jalingo had disclosed during the interview that the families of the abducted students paid N55 million.
However, in a statement on May 14, the spokesman of parents of the students, Mr. Marcus Zarmai, said the parents contributed N60 million as ransom for the release of the students but failed to secure their release.
After series of negotiations, the bandits were said to have demanded the sum of N10 million from each of the parents of the students for their release.
It could not be immediately established how much each parent paid for the release of the students and why three of them are still in captivity.
Thirty-nine students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna, had also be kidnapped on March 11 in a similar manner, when bandits invaded their school about 11: 30pm. The last batch of 27 of the students was released about two weeks ago after spending 56 days in captivity. Their parents were said to have paid millions of naira before they were released.