The abductors of six female students and two teachers of Engravers College last Thursday in Kakau Daji of Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State have made contact with parents and administrators of the school, amid unconfirmed speculations they asked for N50m to free the abductees.
At the State House in Abuja on Friday, State Governor, Malam Nair el Rufai, confirmed that contacts have been made though he did not speak on the ransom demanded by the abductors.
He also disclosed that the government months ago had put security measures in place when it filtered in that criminal elements were targeting schools in the State.
“We have been receiving intelligence from three months ago that the bandits have connected with some elements of Boko Haram and that they will be targeting schools to kidnap children because they know that’s what makes the news, and we have reinforced security around our schools.
“But this school called Engravers Academy is in the middle of nowhere, until two days ago when the kidnap happened, I did not know the school existed.
“It is right in the middle of the bush off along Abuja/Kaduna road, right in the middle of nowhere, that’s why it became vulnerable .
“Our other schools are protected and no one should have any doubt that if your child is in school in Kaduna state.. we are doing our best to prorect him or her,” he said
One of the parents on Friday said the kidnappers had made contact with the management of the school where they demanded for the N50m ransom.
The unnamed parent said: “We were told that the school authority told the kidnappers that they could only afford to pay N100, 000 for the release of the students and their teachers. The kidnappers told them they are not serious to get the children back. Negotiation is still going on.” The kidnappers, it was gathered actually asked for N30 million per head.
But a worried parent, Mr. Julde Juli, whose 15 years old daughter was among abductees, prayed that nothing untoward happens to the girls and their teachers.
He urged all those that indulge in kidnapping for money to repent of their sins.
Meanwhile, Governor el Rufai insists that the government was working assiduously to secure the release of the students and teachers.
His words to journalists in Abuja, “I must say its most unfortunate for us in Kaduna for the kidnap of children and teachers.
”The report I got that six students of a private secondary school were kidnapped along with two teachers.
“This morning, the kidnappers have made contacts to the parents and we have got the parents of the kidnapped students and the relations of the teachers to be in one place so that there is one line of communication with the kidnapoers to facilitate their release.
“However, from the moment of the kidnap, the security agencies, all agencies of the SSS to the police, air force and the army have been on the matter.
“And I am confident that not only are we going to secure the release of the students and their teachers, but we are going to get the kidnappers by the grace of God, the governor prayed .
“It is always a moment of sadness when young people that are trying to get an education become victims of these criminals.
“But kidnapping has become so wide spread now that for many people, it is not news.
“But for us in Kaduna, this is one of the biggest tragedies and we are doing everything to manage the situation to get the students and their teachers safely and pursue these kidnappers with everything that we got.
“We appreciate the SSS and the Police for being very vigilant, on this their response was quick but unfortunately we are having to deal with this situation.
“But I’m confident that it will be resolved and it will be resolved very soon.”
He spoke further: “We already had this arrangement in place three months ago, this is what I’m saying.
“This school fell through the cuts because it is quite isolated, kilometres off Kaduna /Abuja road, that is why it was vulnerable.
“But other schools are being watched. We do regular surveillance, we use Nigeria airforce planes, we use drones.
“We do regular surveillance all across the state we get intelligence as to likely targets.
“So, with the help of the security agencies we are doing the best we can on this.
“But of course, you can never get this one hundred percent.
“As security challenges evolve, as you close this chapter, another chapter opens, so, it’s work in progress.
“The reason why we are here is to continue to address those problems.
“All I am saying is that we are trying to do so with the best resources available and we are getting the cooperation of all the Federal Agencies and we are grateful for that.”