One of the parents of the abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna State, has disclosed that they paid N800,000 as transport fare to a ‘Fulani man’ directed to them by Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, a prominent Islamic cleric.
The parent disclosed this in an interview when the parents and relatives of the abductees protested in front of the National Assembly.
On March 11, 2021, 39 students of the school were kidnapped by bandits in the state. Out of the 39 students, 10 had so far been released, remaining 29 of them.
According to the parent, who is a female, she and other parents met with Gumi, who is a known advocate for dialogue with bandits, in a bid to secure the release of their children.
She stated that the unknown Fulani man was invited by Gumi to an office in Kaduna to meet the parents, noting that they pleaded with him to reduce the amount requested for the release of their children.
“We had been going for several committee meetings; we were taken to meet Sheikh Gumi for a meeting. We were directed to a man called Ahmed who invited a Fulani man whom they gave N800,000. The money, we were told, was just for transport,” the woman told Roots TV.
“I cried, I told him I am a widow and I don’t have a husband, I am just training this boy to help me tomorrow. I begged him and he said it was none of his business. We tried to begging and he said no, until we pay about N500 million.”
Another parent said the kidnappers had called her for almost two weeks asking how much the parents were able to raise.
However, following the inability of the parents, who are petty traders and poor, to raise the money, the parent said the bandits told them to meet government officials to provide the ransom.
“We told them all we were trying to do was to get the government to assist us. Then he asked us if we were going to abandon our children if the government failed to pay,” she said.
The abducted students have spent over 50 days in the custody of the abductors.