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Kidnapped Akwa Ibom NYSC members: Parents, families resort to prayers, fasting

September 12, 2023

 

  • As abductors demand fresh N200M after receipt of agreed N13M
  • Victims 26 days in kidnappers’ den
  • Stakeholders angry with govt, police

UYO – FRUSTRATED families of eight Akwa Ibom state graduates kidnapped in Zamfara state since 17 August on a bus journey to Sokoto state National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation Camp, have resorted to fasting and prayers on the fate of their children as the abductors denied them freedom after receiving N13Million demanded ransom.

A brother to one of the victims told Vanguard on anonymity Tuesday that the abductors were now demanding two hundred million Naira (N200M) additional ransom to grant freedom to the seven Corps members and the Akwa Ibom Transport Company (AKTC) bus driver being held captive.

The source said, “We don’t know how we are going raise that kind of money. Everybody was shocked when two parents who have been over there since the incident happened told us that after they released the balance of a million (to make up the N13M ransom negotiated) they waited for a long for the kidnappers to release our brothers and sisters, but they didn’t.

“They said instead the kidnappers contacted them to demand for N200M ransom. We have paid the sum of N13M already. First, we paid N5M, and later N8M to make up N13M. Some parents sold their lands, and some even collected loans to be able to raise the N13 million.

“We have not received any help from government. We found it difficult to raise that N13M, so how are we going to raise this fresh ransom of N200m? We have deliberately kept this development from my mother. I don’t think that poor widow will survive if she hears this. We are suffering, so helpless.”

Another relative close to one of the victim’s parents said the victims’/families were particularly worried after being told on Monday that the health condition of their children was deteriorating as a result of the nature of the place they are being held captive.

The woman who could not hide her anguish lamented, “In fact, all the parents and their family members have resorted to fasting and prayers. Our children in captivity told us to pray for them, that they are very weak.

“As we speak I just returned from Church. We believe in God to help us bring back our children. God will not fail us. The parents don’t have the kind of money those people are demanding. Where would they get that kind of money?”

Vanguard had reported last week that after the first release of N5M of the initially negotiated total ransom of N13M by the families, the abductors gave them up till Wednesday, September 6, to pay the outstanding N8M.

 

When the helpless families could not meet the deadline, the captors extended the grace period to Saturday September 9, 2023 in response to pleas by parents of the victims asking for more days to enable them raise the outstanding N8M.

Vanguard checks on Tuesday revealed that after two parents who volunteered to go pay the remaining N8M delivered the money, the kidnappers still did not free the Corps members.

Meanwhile, the failure of government and security agencies to rescue the victims after three weeks of their abduction continues to generate controversy back home in Akwa Ibom state.

Some stakeholders in the state have taken to the social media and private Radio stations, expressing their anger and disappointment over failure of Nigeria Government to protect lives and property of its citizens, in the case the life of the kidnapped Corps members.

“Where is the human face the Akwa Ibom State Government under Governor Umo Eno professes to applying to run the administration. If their children were involved, will the issue come to come to public light, will it linger for a day before they will do all it takes to free them?”, a resident in Uyo wondered.

When contacted on phone for probable update on the Akwa Ibom State Police Command’s efforts are collaborating with the Zamfara state’s Command towards rescuing the victims, 26 days in captivity, Command’s Spokesman, Odiko MacDon, responded, “I’m in a meeting!!”, hanging up before our reporter could explain.

 

(Vanguard)

 

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