Abductors of Kaduna Schoolgirls Demand N50m Ransom

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  • El-Rufai vows to retain son in public school despite kidnap

John Shiklam in Kaduna and Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

Abductors of the six female students and two staff of Engravers College, Kakau Daji, in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna state have demanded a N50 million ransom.

Reacting to the abduction, Kaduna State Governor Nasiru el-Rufa’I, who registered his son in a public school a few weeks back, said the boy would remain there despite the abduction and vowed that the kidnappers would be brought to justice.

The victims were abducted on Wednesday by the bandits who invaded the school at about 12:10am.

One of the two security guards on duty in the school when the bandits stormed the premises, was said to have been shot and wounded when he attempted to shoot one of the criminals with his dane gun.

A staff of the school, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the bandits called on Thursday at about 7:00pm to demand a N50 million ransom.

“Yesterday in the evening, they called and said we should pay N50 million for the release of the students and the two staff that they kidnapped.

“But we pleaded with them that things are hard and we don’t have that kind of money. They also said things are also hard for them.

“We begged them to collect N100, 000, but the man laughed and said N100, 000 was nothing and that he could even gift somebody N100, 000.

“This morning (yesterday’s) they called again and we are still negotiating,” he said.

Meanwhile, parents have since evacuated their children from the school following the incident.

The Director of the school, Mr. Samuel Amamchukwu said the school was temporarily closed for two weeks, as academic activities could not continue while the six students and two staff were in captivity.

The school, according to the Vice Principal (administration), Mr. Funom Giwa, was established in 2004 and had graduated 10 sets of students.

When contacted, spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, Yakubu Sabo said the police had commenced a manhunt for the criminals with the aim of apprehending them and rescuing the victims.

“Operations are still going on, our men are still in the bush, we are trailing them; it is a combined effort of security agencies.

He said a combined team of police mobile force, anti-kidnapping squad, SARS and operatives of Operation Puff Adder were on a manhunt for the criminals.

El-Rufai Vows to Retain Son in Public School Despite Kidnap

Meanwhile, Governor Nasiru el-Rufa’i of Kaduna State has said that his child would remain in public school despite the abduction of six students and staff of Engravers College.

The governor, who spoke to State House Correspondents in Abuja yesterday, said his child should not be safer or more protected than any other child in the state.

“I took an oath of office to protect everyone and my child is just only one of the two million children we have in Kaduna State primary schools and I have no intention of reviewing that. For me, taking my child to a government school was not only a commitment I made, but a clear expression that I have enough confidence in the quality of our public schools for my child to attend.

“We have already given directives that all the staff of our Ministry of Education who are in charge of managing our education system must have their own children in government schools.’’

The governor said his administration got an intelligence report about the likelihood of the kidnap of pupils, three months before it happened.

According to him, the state government, parents and guardians of the victims, as well as security agencies are doing everything possible to secure the release of the abducted pupils and staff.

El-Rufai, however, dismissed insinuation that parents were already withdrawing their wards from schools following the pupils’ abduction.

He confirmed that the kidnappers had made contact with the parents of the students, demanding ransom.

According to him, the state government has assembled the affected parents and the relations of the teachers in one place.

He said this was to ensure one line of communication with the kidnappers to facilitate speedy release of the victims, adding that the state government had no intention of paying ransom to the kidnappers.

“We have put in place measures that I don’t want to go into details about. But any bandit that comes to Kaduna to try to do this has a very high chance of getting killed. That is all I can say; very high chance of getting killed,” he warned.