Two weeks after the abduction of three students of Al-Qalam University in Katsina State by heavily armed bandits in the Dutsinma area of the state, the state government has refused to comment or engage the parents of the victims to find possible ways of rescuing their loved ones.
Habiba Shatali, a 200-level of Political Science student, Mariam Musa, a 400-level Microbiology student and Yusuf Abdulazeez, a 400-level Mathematics student were abducted around Kurfi, Dutsinma on January 14, 2024, while heading back to school from Minna, the Niger State capital.
Despite the hue and cry by the parents of the students over the incident, the government has yet to make a formal statement to give hope to the affected families who have been traumatised by the incident.
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The trio had earlier travelled home for the Christmas and New Year break but met at the motor park in Minna where they agreed to travel together. They were waylaid by gunmen suspected to be bandits on their way to school.
The state police command has also maintained a deafening silence on the possible ways of getting the students out of the kidnappers’ den since the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the area formally briefed the state police commissioner about the incident.
The police have also not given any update on the issue.
It was gathered that the kidnappers had initially demanded a ransom of N100 million for each of the students and later reduced it to N50 million following the inability of the affected families to raise the money.
A source who spoke to SaharaReporters on condition of anonymity said, “The kidnappers have now reduced the ransom and agreed to collect N25 million on each student but till today we have not heard anything from the Katsina State Government and Commissioner of Police. Nobody is talking to us on the matter. As we speak no parents have been able to raise the money.”
The public has condemned the uncaring and insensitive attitude of the government towards the plight of the affected students and called for a holistic approach to rescuing the victims.
The Secretary of the National Association of Nigerian Students in Niger State, Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, urged the state government to work with the Katsina State Government to fast-track the release of the students who have been languishing in captivity for two weeks.
He expressed confidence that the Niger State Government was doing everything possible to ensure the safe return of the students.
“We issued a press statement when it happened and I believe the government is aware of it. We have engaged the government and I know our state government is working on it. Sometimes these things are done underground and not for public consumption,” he said.
The abducted students hail from Borgu Local Government Area in Niger State.
Meanwhile, efforts to get the reaction of the spokesperson for the state police command failed as repeated calls to his mobile phone were not answered.
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