Kidnappers of the students of Greenfield University, Kaduna have threatened to kill the remaining students in their custody, if a ransom of N100m is not paid on or before Tuesday (today).
A leader of the bandits, who abducted the students, Sani Jalingo, spoke to the Hausa service of the Voice of America on Monday.
He insisted that a ransom of N100m and 10 motorcycles must be provided for the students to stay alive.
Jalingo issued the threat as herdsmen on Monday killed 19 persons, including children, in fresh attacks on some communities in the Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State.
The communities attacked included Tse Amgbem, Udam near Aondoana and Agbanu Seghev/Ukuse all in the Gwer West LGA area of the state.
Groups, including the Arewa Consultative Forum, the Middle Belt Forum, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union and a Tiv group, condemned the killing in Benue State and the threat by bandits to kill students of Greenfield University, Kaduna State.
Recall that 23 students and a member of staff of the privately-owned university, located along the Kaduna-Abuja highway were abducted from the school on April 20, 2021. Few days later, five of the students were killed by the bandits.
Jalingo, in the interview with the Hausa service of the VOA, demanded a ransom of N100m and ten motorcycles.
He warned that the failure of the Kaduna State Government or the students’ families to meet the demands by Tuesday, would lead to the killing of the remaining students.
He insisted that if the money ( N100m) and the items (motorcycles) demanded were not provided on Tuesday, trucks would be used to evacuate the lifeless bodies of the remaining students.
He said 17 of the abducted students, including 15 females and two males, were in their custody. Jalingo disclosed that the families of the remaining students had so far paid N55m.
Jalingo said the N55m was used to feed the abductees.
Following the kidnap of the students and a staff member of the school, the bandits had made contacts with the parents and demanded N800m ransom for the release of the students. But five of them were later killed for failure to meet the demand.
Govt watches helplessly as bandits hold sway – M’Belt
The Middle Belt Forum described as sad the threat by the bandits.
The National Publicity Secretary of the MBF, Dr Isuwa Dogo, who spoke to one of our correspondents in Jos on Monday, condemned the development.
He said it was unfortunate that some people had chosen to take the law into their own hands under the guise of banditry while the government whose responsibility is to protect the citizens from such devilish acts watched helplessly without doing anything.
He stated, “I don’t believe that the government and the security agents do not know where the bandits are hiding with the abducted students.
“In this era of information technology, they can easily use the necessary gadgets to track down the criminals who are issuing the threats to kill the kidnapped students but government has not done that for whatever reason.
“So, it is left for them to rescue the kidnapped students or allow the bandits to kill them.
“The choice is left for the government, but I don’t think that if the abducted children were to be the President’s sons or daughters, or the Senate president’s children, they would have allowed them ( bandits) to kill the students without doing everything possible to free them from the hands of their captors.”
Govt lacks capacity to stop the horror – ACF
The pan-Northern sociopolitical organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum, said whatever the grievances of the bandits, the waste of human lives would not solve the problem.
The National Publicity Secretary of the forum, Emmanuel Yawe, in an interview with The PUNCH, lamented that government lacked the capacity to stop the horror.
He stated, “We in Nigeria are unlucky to be visited by this peculiar kind of wickedness. You captured students, kept them in a remote place and just shoot them one by one before the eyes of traumatised citizens and a government that lacks the capacity to stop the horror? We never knew things would get to this.”
Also, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union described the situation as unfortunate.
SOKAPU’s spokesman, Mr Luka Binniyat, told one of our correspondents on Monday that the state Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, should be held responsible should the bandits carry out their threats of killing the students.
The Spokesman said, “It is unfortunate that the situation is becoming more tragic than expected. After killing five of these beautiful, harmless, promising children without mercy or conscience, the threat by these armed men should prove to everyone that we don’t share the same humanity with them.
“Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai should be held responsible if anything happens further to these students. He knows that he had no capacity to crush these evil men; he knew he had no options at his disposal for the release of these students, yet he said he would not pay or negotiate their release.
“Leaders who should be so tough with outlaws like these usually have a potent alternative action outside negotiation. But his opinion of non-negotiation, or prosecuting those who hold dialogues with the kidnappers is more of a death sentence to the captives. If his child were among them, we don’t believe he will act this way.
“We are therefore calling on the Federal Government to collaborate and assist the Kaduna State Government in doing what is humanly possible to secure the freedom of these hapless victims.”
When contacted for reaction, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan could not be reached on the telephone.
As of the time of filing this report, a message sent to his WhatsApp platform by our correspondent was still being awaited for response by the correspondent.
We are shocked by latest threat from bandits to kill our children – Parent
One of the parents of the abducted students said that they were shocked by the latest threat by the bandits.
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The parent, who spoke on condition of anonymity, because of the sensitive nature of the matter, begged the bandits to spare the lives of the students.
According to the parent, the parents paid more than N55 million the bandits claimed, adding that they (bandits) agreed that they were going to release the children.
The parent said, “We were shocked by the latest threat by the bandits to kill our children. We are not only shocked, we are scared because these people had earlier killed some of the children.
“We were shocked because, when we paid them the ransom last week, and mind you, we paid more than the N55m the bandits claimed to have collected from us, our agreement was that, they were going to release the children.
“We have nothing to say now than to beg the bandits to please spare the lives of our children and release them unconditionally.”
Again, suspected herdsmen kill 19 people in Benue
In Benue State, suspected herdsmen attacked some communities in the Gwer West Local Government Area and killed no fewer than 19 people.
A resident, Terna Abende, who escaped the attack told one of our correspondents that the attackers came through Akpachi in the Otukpo Local Government Area to attack Tse Amgbem.
Abenda said, “At about 5am today (Monday), the attackers stormed the Tse Amgbem and Udam near Aondoana community and killed several people and several others were injured.
“The attackers who are suspected to be herdsmen also burnt down houses.”
It was reliably gathered that the suspected herdsmen had earlier on Sunday ambushed some motorcyclists at separate areas on Naka Nagi Agagbe and Naka/Makurdi roads killing six persons.
An indigene of the Gwer West Local Government Area, who identified himself as Albert, said that herdsmen had taken over seven council wards of the council: Sengev, Gaagev/Tongev, Saghev/Ukusu, Tough, Ateer/ Ijaha, Gaambe Ushin and Mbachohon Avihijme.
Confirming the attacks, the Chairman of the Gwer West Local Government Area, Mrs Grace Igbabon, told one of our correspondents on the phone that 19 people were killed in three separate attacks in the council area between Sunday and Monday.
According to her, “We had about six persons yesterday (Sunday) and 13 people today.
“I was told that the attackers were suspected herdsmen who attacked the Mbamodu community and killed 13 people and several others injured. The attackers burnt down several houses in the community.
“The other incidents happened on Sunday at other side of Mbachon, some motorcyclists were riding on the road and they saw a man in military uniform who stopped them.
“I was told that in the process of slowing down, another set of people who possibly had laid ambush came out from the bush and shot severally at them, four of them died and one later escaped.
“Also along Naka/Makurdi road on Sunday, they (suspected herdsmen) killed two others.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer of Benue State Command, Catherine Anene, said she only had report of the attack on some communities near Aondoana, but had no details
Recall that last week, bandits attacked the Abegana area of the state and killed seven people.
Nigeria heading towards disintegration – Tiv group
The President General of Mzough U Tiv, MUT, worldwide, and Chairman of the three main socio-cultural organisations in the state, Iorbee Ihagh, expressed disgust over the continuous killing of innocent people in the state and across the country, stating that the country was drifting to disintegration.
He said the manner killing of innocent people in Benue and across the country continued showed that there was no government in place.
Ihagh stated, “The way things are going in the country today, show that we don’t have government in place, or how do you imagine that there is no day we don’t have record of 20, 30 or 40 people being killed across the country.
“It is high time we stopped all these things, if not Nigeria will break or there will be no election in 2023.”
Reacting to the killing in Benue State, the Middle Belt Forum called on the people of the state to heed the advice given by a former Minister of Defence, Gen Theophilus Danjuma (retd,), if they wanted to stop the killings in their domain.
The National Publicity Secretary of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr Isuwa Dogo made the call in an interview with one of our correspondents in Jos on Monday.
Recall that Danjuma had in March 2018, urged Nigerians to defend themselves against killers in the country.
The Middle Belt Spokesman who condemned the fresh killings in Benue communities pointed out that he believed that the attacks on the people had continued because the citizens had yet to act on Danjuma’s advice.
Security agents know killer herders – Ortom
The state Governor, Samuel Ortom, condemned in strong terms the killing in the state on Monday.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, the governor said that several people were still missing from the attack.
He said the state government knew that the killers were herdsmen and called on security agents to fish out the Killers.
He stated, “The governor is not happy with the killing. We know the killers are herdsmen and we wonder that the sponsors of killings in the state are there in Abuja and are allowed to walk freely. Security agents know them and they should be apprehended.” ,,