The situation looks gloomy, confusing, nervous, slow to slow down and utterly uncertain. These are some of the immediate ways to describe the plight of the parents of 39 students at the Kaduna Federal Forestry College, who today spent two weeks, or 14 days, in a forest somewhere in the northwestern part of the country.
A widow whose only child has been abducted, her world is currently hanging by a thread. College staff with two daughters somewhere out there in the woods, but because of their daughters and others, doing one job, coordinating efforts from a parent’s perspective, while another, whose child is also missing, is unable to have any form of communication with him, shuttles between St. Gerald, Kaduna during a visit to other parents who were hospitalized for the trauma of taking their children into deadly bandits.
The situation for parents, some of whom have spoken to DAILY LENT, is even more embarrassing, almost hopeless and discouraging, as they have complained that they are completely in the dark about their children’s whereabouts and the extent of efforts to get rid of them through dialogue or security agencies. save.
According to the parents, both the federal and state governments chose to remain silent, treated them with contempt, and showed no form of empathy for their plight and the children of their children, many of whom said they were captured barefoot and almost untrained.
Tired of waiting
One of the parents, Samuel Kambai, in a telephone interview with DAILY POST, said they were tired of waiting without any significant feedback on efforts to save the students and decided to take to the streets again today to draw the world’s attention through what they are going through.
He said: “We have been up and down trying to find a lasting solution and bring our children home. This morning (Wednesday), we spoke with the college’s proto-deputy, who said that a meeting was underway to provide feedback that would inform us about the condition of the children and when they are returning. According to him, he is also working tirelessly to see the outcome of the problem, adding that he was in the office of the police commissioner to discuss how the children are returning.
“We, the parents, don’t know what to do! We are still waiting and trusting the feedback we get from them, but we also agreed that by the end of today (Wednesday), if we don’t see our children, we will be back on the streets because we are tired. Today would be thirteen days as they were in the bushes, and we still have no idea of their condition or what is happening to them. “
Feeling in the dark
The distraught parent also revealed that no one, bandits, government or security agents had contacted them. He added that they also tried in vain to call their children’s phone numbers. According to him, the bandits only communicate with the government, but the government has refused to talk to them.
“We even tried to see the environment minister while he was in Kaduna, but he denied us access. We tried to see people from the state government as well, but we got the same response, saying they couldn’t see us.
“We did not hear anything from them. We are the ones who are trying to contact them, but without success, ” Kambai said.
Why the sudden change?
Speaking further, Kambai questioned the tough stance of Kadun’s state governor, Nasir el-Rufai, refusing to negotiate with the bandits to release their children. According to him, it is confusing why a governor who once told the world he had to negotiate and pay huge sums to bandits to prevent them from killing innocent people in South Kaduna, remained steadfast in his new ideology and endangering the lives of their children.
Kambai went on to say: “As far as I am concerned, Governor Nasir el-Rufia has made a statement that he is willing to negotiate with the bandits and even pay them money to ensure that there are no more kidnappings or killings in the country, but unfortunately we are surprised to see that the same governor who made this statement came out to say he was not ready to negotiate with the bandits. We believe it would be his children, they would already be out. But since they are not his, he makes such statements.
“We now say that we should be connected with these people, so if that happens, we are negotiating with them to return our children. We’re willing to do it if they’re not ready, because we’re tired of waiting, and our kids are still in the bush; we just want our kids back.
A painful experience
Kambai also painted a gloomy picture of what the parents had been going through for the past 14 days, with many unable to sleep, others developing high blood pressure, and some being hospitalized.
“To be honest with you, we didn’t sleep on that issue; some of the parents developed high blood pressure. I just got out of St Gerald Hospital where I went there to see some fellow parents because of the condition of their children.
“Like one of us, her only child, the girl is in the bush today, so we feel bad. We are not happy about that and we do not know what to do. Some parents even said that we should go to the bushes and start looking for our children, because we hoped that the government would do something, but so far they have not done anything, ”he said.
A passionate appeal
Kambai, on behalf of the parents, however, appealed to President Muhammad Bukhari and Governor al-Rufai to intervene urgently in the matter, help in the search for their children and bring them home.
“We beg them, the state government and the federal government, to help us find their children because we believe they can bring our children back.
“No one would want to see his child in the situation we saw in the videos posted online. We’re just asking the government to help us because we don’t like the situation we’ve seen our children in, so we use this opportunity to ask the government to help us because we have nowhere to go again.
Movement without movement
Another parent, Mr. Sunday Sani, who is the parent leader of 39 students and college staff where they were abducted, said what is happening can be compared to moving without moving.
According to him, the first contact with the bandits when the children were abducted was through the phone number of one of the students and that the bandits told them that they were not dealing with their parents but with the government.
“The government expects to negotiate with them and pay the ransom. The management and the protest talked to them several times and without progress.
“All of us, the parents, were in the dark until last week on Friday, when we met with the protest and asked him about the situation. He told us that everything is going well and they are making progress. But they have been saying that for some time, so we asked to know what progress has been made if it is built on a security report or they have negotiated, ”he said.
Sani, whose two daughters are in the hands of robbers, said they told Provost that their parents would like to be partners in college if they didn’t have the money to pay.
Sani further said: “We want to be taken, but we could not get an answer to that. We set up the committee because we realized that the protest was limited to some levels and that we could best protest, and we did so on Monday by inviting the government to talk to us.
She told the world a great lie
Sani also accused State Commissioner for Internal Security and Internal Affairs Kadun Samuel Aruwan of deceiving Nigerians and the world that the army had rescued 108 students from the hands of bandits, with 39 remaining.
“The first lie Commissioner Samuel Aruwan told was that the military saved 108 students and left 39. We opposed that; the army saved no one. They entered only when the bandits had abducted, and began to shoot into the air from the gate and the bandits fled with those they had already taken. Those who ran into the bushes when the kidnapping and shootings began when armies appeared, evacuated to the barracks.
Trauma, resolute defiance
Parents on the team also noted that everyone is determined to decide to bring the children back and will do their best at any time, even if it means defying the government, because the current situation is too traumatic to be silent.
“You had to be with us on Monday, even when the army came, we were like letting them kill everyone. I have two daughters with bandits, but even with that, I felt sorry for some widows who came out crying that day.
“If parents are asked today to pay a ransom, some will not have up to fifty thousand to pay; that is why we call on the government. The government is about the people. You promised us that you would take care of us in terms of security of life and property, but here we are today.
“When the bandits came, they said they were fighting against the government, but they did not destroy any property belonging to the government. “Instead, they kidnapped the children of the people,” he said.
Ignored, left in the cold
Speaking further, Sani accused the state government of ignoring and refusing to say a word even after the protests they held on Monday. According to him, despite the fact that the video of the protest went viral, the government of the state of Kaduna remained silent.
He also accused the government of excluding them from everything they do to bring back students, explaining that they demanded that a parent representative be co-opted to security meetings involving kidnapping or even a negotiating team.
“They didn’t answer us; in fact, they ignored us because they didn’t want us to know what was going on. We, however, ask the bandits to leave us their children in any arrangement they have with the government, because it is not a crime to send our children to school, ”he said.
Killing education in the north
With the constant attack on schools in the north, Sani believes the government has not only failed to justify its words, but the inspiration and motivation for education in the north has dealt a fatal blow.
“It is unfortunate that the government that promised us security is the same one that tells us today that they cannot insure all schools. They asked us parents to stay awake because they can’t help us.
“They killed all the inspiration for education in the north. Bandits have entered many schools in Kaduna, almost everywhere, including tertiary institutions that we believe some agree to bandits.
The way forward
Sani, while also appealing to the government to meet expectations, said he must also understand that life is precious to God and that both Christianity and Islam know that no one has the right to take another person’s life, adding that it is against God’s will for humanity.
“The federal and state government, the administration of the Federal Forestry College, the local government and the environment minister should team up to bring our children back.
The government must also try as much as possible to stop all these kidnappings in the state and the nation as a whole; that is my request to the government, ”he said.
Attempts to react by Samuel Aruwan, the state commissioner for internal security and internal affairs, proved unsuccessful. Calls to his mobile phone were rejected, while text and WhatsApp messages to the same number have yet to be answered at the time of completing this report.
For these disturbed parents they can only continue to wait, appeal to the government, vent their frustrations as vowed in today’s protest and, of course, continue to pray for the safe and speedy return of the 39 children the nation and its security have failed to protect. According to them, children in search of knowledge for a great future have become prey in the hands of a group of criminals, whose only motive is to kill, maim and make money from someone else’s misfortune.