The students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna north central Nigeria were abducted on March 11, 2021.
The bandits are demanding a 300 million Naira ransom from the Kaduna State Government.
Ten of the students were released after their parents paid ransom. The other 29 students are being held because Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna has refused to negotiate with the bandits even after several pleas by the students’ parents.
Mr Friday Sanni, the parents’ representative on April 16, 2021 said they have been receiving telephone calls from the bandits who were threatening to either kill the male students and marry the female abductees.
“We are calling on Nigerians, non-governmental organisations, charity organisations and donors to come to our aid in donating money to rescue our children,” said Mr Sanni.
“The bandits have threatened to kill our children. The other time, they said they would marry female students and kill the male ones. The government has said that any parent who negotiates with the bandits will be prosecuted,” he added.
Unconfirmed sources say that the bandits had earlier been paid 17 million Naira to release all the students.
The Kaduna State government has warned it would not succumb to “emotional blackmail” regarding the fate of the students.
The Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, on April 6, 2021 said: “The governor will continue to work hard until banditry is contained, without succumbing to emotional blackmail and gradual politicisation of the unfortunate situation.”
He denied that Governor Nasir El-Rufai threatened to prosecute any parent who enters into negotiations with the bandits.
“The governor would neither negotiate nor pay ransom to bandits,” he said.
He explained that “impostors have been presenting themselves as government-appointed emissaries to negotiate with bandits across the state.”
Meanwhile, many of the 1,029 schools shut to avoid further abduction of students in Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Katsina, Niger and Yobe states in northern Nigeria have re-opened.
According to data released by the police, at least 1,830 secondary school students have been abducted in different states of the north this year. The security forces comprising the army, police and some security volunteers, have been deployed in schools.
Abduction of students was first carried out by Boko Haram fighters who stormed Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State, taking away more than 276 students on April 14, 2014.
Insurgents and bandits have since seen abduction of children as a lucrative venture. The federal government has resolved not to pay ransom to discourage the crime.