Parents of 39 Abducted Kaduna Students Urge Govt to Act Fast

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By John Shiklam

Parents of the 39 abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Kaduna, have called on the government to act with dispatch to ensure the immediate and safe release of their children.

At a news conference on Monday in Kaduna, the parents said since the abduction of their children eleven days ago, they had been going through excruciating pains and anxiety. The students were abducted by bandits who invaded the school at about 11:30pm on March 11, 2021.

Chairman of the parents, Mr. Kambai Sam, who spoke on their behalf, said the plight of the parents was further compounded by the continuous silence of the government and the management of the school on efforts being made to rescue the students.

Sam said, “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.”

According to him, “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 three batches of students had been taken out of the college through the perimeter fence.”

He said, parents had thought that the government and the school authorities, will swing into action and rescue the students, lamenting that, since the incident, there had been no communication from the authorities.

“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”, he said.

According to him, “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.”

He said further that, “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.”

The parents called on Human Rights Organizations, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) the United Nations etc as well as 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 students.

“Unless that is done, we will continue to hold the feet of the authorities to the fire until our children return safely”, Sam added.