Bandits vow to kill 17 Greenfield varsity students today over ransom delay

Kidnappers of the students of Greenfield University, Kaduna have threatened to kill the remaining students from Greenfield University in their custody, if a  ransom of N100m  is not paid on  or before Tuesday (today).

A leader of the bandits, who abducted the students,   Sani Jalingo, spoke to the Hausa service of the Voice of America on Monday.

He insisted that  a ransom of N100m and 10 motorcycles must be provided for the students to stay alive.

Recall that 23 students and  a member of staff of the privately-owned university, located along the Kaduna-Abuja highway were abducted from the school on April 20, 2021.  Few days later, five of the students were killed by the bandits.

Jalingo, in the interview with  the Hausa service of the VOA,  demanded a ransom of N100m and ten motorcycles.

He warned that the failure of the Kaduna State Government or the students’ families to meet the demands by Tuesday, would lead to the killing of  the remaining students.

He insisted that if the money ( N100m) and the items(motorcycles) demanded were not provided on Tuesday, trucks would be used to evacuate the lifeless bodies of the remaining students.

He said 17 of the abducted students, including 15 females and two males, were in their custody.  Jalingo disclosed that the families of the remaining students had so far paid N55m.

Jalingo said the  N55m was used to feed the abductees.

Following the kidnap of the students and a staff member of the school, the bandits had made contacts with the parents and demanded  N800m ransom for the release of the students.  But five of them were later killed for failure to meet the demand.

The Middle Belt Forum (MBF)  described as sad the threat by the bandits.

The National Publicity Secretary of the MBF, Dr Isuwa Dogo, who spoke to one of  our correspondents in Jos on Monday, condemned the development.

He said it was unfortunate that some people had chosen to take the law into their own hands under the guise of banditry while the government whose responsibility is to protect the citizens  from such devilish acts watched helplessly without doing anything.

He stated, “I don’t believe that the government and the security agents do not know where the bandits are hiding with the abducted students.

“In this era of information technology, they can easily use the necessary gadgets to track down the criminals who are issuing the threats to kill the kidnapped students but government has not done that for whatever reason.

“So, it is left for them to rescue the kidnapped students or allow the bandits to kill them.

“The choice is left for the government, but I don’t think that if  the abducted children were to be the President’s sons or daughters, or  the Senate president’s children, they would have allowed them ( bandits) to kill the students  without doing everything possible to free them from the hands of their captors.”

The pan-Northern sociopolitical organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), said whatever the grievances of the bandits, the waste of human lives would not solve the problem.

The National Publicity Secretary of the forum, Emmanuel Yawe, in an interview with The PUNCH, lamented that government lacked the capacity to stop the horror.

He stated, “We in Nigeria are unlucky to be visited by this peculiar kind of wickedness. You captured students, kept them in a remote place and just shoot them one by one before the eyes of traumatised citizens and a government that lacks the capacity to stop the horror? We never knew things would get to this.”

Also, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) described the situation as unfortunate.

SOKAPU’s spokesman, Mr Luka Binniyat, told one of our correspondents on Monday that the state Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, should be held responsible should the bandits carry out their threats of killing the students.

The Spokesman said, “It is unfortunate that the situation is becoming more tragic than expected. After killing five of  these beautiful, harmless, promising children without mercy or conscience, the threat by these armed men should prove to everyone that we don’t share the same humanity with them.

“Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai should be held responsible if anything happens further to these students. He knows that he had no capacity to crush these evil men; he knew he had no options at his disposal for the release of these students, yet he said he would not pay or negotiate their release.

“Leaders who should be so tough with outlaws like these usually have a potent alternative action outside negotiation. But his opinion of non-  negotiation, or prosecuting those who hold dialogues with the kidnappers is more of a death sentence to the captives. If his child were among them, we don’t believe he will act this way.

“We are therefore calling on the Federal Government to collaborate and assist  the Kaduna State Government in doing what is humanly possible to secure the freedom of these hapless victims.”

When contacted for reaction, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan could not be reached on the telephone.

As of the time of filing this report, a message sent to his WhatsApp platform by our correspondent was still being awaited for response by the correspondent.

One of the parents of the abducted students  said  that they were shocked by the latest threat by the bandits.

The parent, who spoke on condition of anonymity, because of the sensitive nature of the matter,  begged the bandits to spare the lives of the students.

According to the parent, the parents paid more than N55 million the bandits claimed, adding that  they (bandits) agreed that they were going to release the children.

The parent said, “We were shocked by the latest threat by the bandits to kill our children. We are not only shocked, we are scared because these people had earlier killed some of the children.

“We were shocked because, when we paid them the ransom last week, and mind you, we paid more than the N55m the bandits claimed to have collected from us, our agreement was that, they were going to release the children.

“We have nothing to say now than to beg the bandits to please spare the lives of our children and release them unconditionally.” – Punch.

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