By John Shiklam
Parents of the 39 abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna, have called on the government to hasten efforts at securing their release within 48 hours.
At a news conference yesterday in Kaduna, the parents said since the abduction of their children 11 days ago, they had been going through excruciating pains and anxiety.
The students were abducted by bandits who invaded the school about 11:30 pm 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”.
He stated that gunmen on March 11 invaded the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation and abducted 39 students at gunpoint.
According to him, 23 of them are female students while 16 are male students.
“Several others sustained varying degrees of injuries while running for their dear lives,” he said.
According to him, the bandits had a field day on the night of capture, adding that for over an hour, they 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 the parents had thought that the government and the school authorities would take immediate steps to rescue the students, lamenting that since the incident, there has been no communication from the authorities.
Sam said: “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 11 dark 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 governments 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.”
The parents called on human rights organisations, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the United Nations, as well as well-meaning Nigerians and citizens of the world, to join them in prevailing 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.