Parents of the 39 abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna state, on Monday took to the streets to demand urgent government action on the rescue of their children.
The parents lamented that its been several days since armed bandits stormed their children’s school and abducted some of them and they have heard nothing from the government.
They worried that the government is not doing enough on rescue efforts and their children may also go the way of some students abducted by criminals and are yet to be rescued after several years in the captivity of their abductors.
Naija News recalls suspected gunmen about two weeks ago, on the 11th of March, broke through the perimeter fence of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation in Kaduna State and abducted some students.
The abductors later released videos of the students in their captivity and demanded N500m for their release.
However, several days after the episode transpired, not much has been heard about rescue efforts for the children, forcing the parents to take to the streets in protest.
The parents in a press statement signed by Kambai Sam and Comrade Friday Sanni demanded government safely rescues their children within 48 hours.
They also called on stakeholders including non-governmental organizations and the international community to prevail on the government to take action.
Below is the full text of the press release containing their demands.
“Gentlemen of the Press, Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your empathy and for joining us at this very important press conference. We have called this press conference to address the world on the excruciatingly painful development surrounding the kidnap of 39 of our sons and daughters, students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Igabi Local Government Area, Kaduna, Nigeria.
You would recall that on the night of 11th March, 2021, gunmen invaded the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, and forcefully abducted 39 students of the Institution at gun point – 23 of them are female students while 16 are male. Several others sustained varying degrees of injuries while running for their dear lives.
The bandits had a field day on the night of capture and for over an hour carried out their nefarious activity largely unchallenged until the military came after 3 batches of students had been taken out of the college through the perimeter fence. Not a single one of the 39 abducted students has been rescued. We have put our trust in the government and school authority to rescue the students in good time and safely, but that has not happened.
It is now 12 dark dreary days since the unfortunate incident happened and we as parents have not received any positive message from either the school management, the Minister of Environment under whose ministry the school is or the Kaduna State Government under whose territorial jurisdiction the school is located. This silence is unacceptable as it only feeds our hopelessness with each passing day.
We have therefore called for this press conference to call the attention of Government at State and Federal levels and all stakeholders involved, and indeed the world, to act with dispatch to ensure the immediate and safe release of our children.
We have seen this kind of ugly event happen in Katsina, Zamfara and Niger states and swiftly the governments acted and ensured the safe and timely rescue of the victims, so why is the case of the Afaka 39 different? Why should our innocent children pay for the failure of government to provide security of life and property? Or is it now a crime to seek education in schools? Let us not forget that the students were taken in bad shape – some were barely covering themselves, especially the ladies. This is a dangerous thing and should have made the government to act faster.
We do not think enough is being done. Indeed, the failure, negligence or refusal of the government to keep us in the loop as regards the measures they are taking as well as subsequent kidnap of students in Kaduna state has heightened our anxiety on the safety of our children.
We are by this press conference demanding that the Government rescues our children by all means and within 48 hours so that the process of their rehabilitation can commence because the longer they stay in captivity the worse off.
We also call on the Human Rights Organizations, NGOs, NBA, ASUU, the United Nations, and all well meaning Nigerians and citizens of the world, to rise together with us and prevail on the authorities to ensure the speedy rescue of the Afaka 39. Unless that is done, we will continue to hold the feet of the authorities to the fire until our children return safely.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Lucky Irabor has disclosed that the military is more than prepared to crush insurgency and restore peace in the country.
This is as he revealed that fresh strategies which involve dealing with the prevailing security challenges confronting the nation will be activated by the military.