The Nigerian authorities recently announced that some 29 college students who had previously been abducted in Kaduna State were released amidst outcry throughout the nation. These Nigerian college students were enrolled in the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization and of the 39 students that were kidnapped, ten had been released earlier.
The Nigerian college students after being released by the gunmen were taken to the police headquarters in the city, where the police didn’t allow their parents to meet them. Journalists have been denied any direct interaction with the kidnapped. These students were returned in a condition of disarray, wearing torn clothes with panic written all across their faces. The students had been held captive for nearly two months – a grueling time for their loved ones.
The wave of abductions began in December. Ever since, more than 700 people have been abducted for ransom. The ‘bandits’ also released a graphic ransom video of female students yelling as they were being struck by their captors. Other students could also be seen pleading for help. The governor of the state, Nasir El-Rufai, has adamantly refused to engage in a negotiation with these ‘bandits’, and decreed to pay any ransom or meet any of their other demands. This terrifies the student communities of future attacks.
Abdullahi Usman, chairperson of the parents’ association, declared that a ransom had been paid to free the students but refused to name the amount or benefactor. Friday Sanni is the father of two girls who had been abducted – Rejoice, 17 and Victory, 19. He is anxious about their safe return. ‘We pray it is all of them’, he said.
The country in recent years has faced several such internal conflicts from armed forces which it has not been able to tackle to ensure the safety of its citizens. The journey towards a ‘successful future’ is a long one, with the nation not having adequate means to handle such heinous crimes taking place in different regions. Crimes against the student community have sparked widespread courage throughout the world and the need is to work toward lessening its intensity and frequency to a near-zero to warrant a future that looks bright for the upcoming generations. Over the recent years, voices have been raised repeatedly to keep the student community safe which often falls prey to the onslaught of several crimes.
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