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‘Don’t let our children die in kidnappers den’ – Parents of missing NYSC members beg govt

…bring them back to us alive – Mother

By Egufe Yafugborhi & Chioma Onuegbu

Parents whose children were kidnapped along Zamfara Highway on August 17, 2023, while traveling to Sokoto State Orientation Camp for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme have again appealed to the Federal and Akwa Ibom state governments to assist in the release of the victims.

Some of the affected parents who spoke to Vanguard after their brief meeting yesterday in Uyo also expressed a lack of confidence in security agencies on efforts to rescue those prospective corps members three months after being kidnapped and kept in Zamfara Forest.

One of the parents, Solomon Emmanuel, pointed out that two of the victims (a male and female) only regained their freedom after they struggled to raise the ransom the kidnappers had demanded.

“I feel so bad when the government, particularly security agencies, say they are doing something to rescue those children. We only hear such things in the news, but we are not seeing results. The N70m those people are demanding currently is beyond us. We cannot afford that amount of money.

“So this is the time for the government to show that they are truly doing something about rescuing our children. They were sent to serve their fatherland in Sokoto, and they were kidnapped. That is why we decided to gather today and collectively appeal to the government for help.”

Another parent who identified herself as Mrs. Idongesit expressed fears over the kidnappers threat last week that if they (parents) fail to raise the N70 million ransom, they will start to kill their children one after another.

She said, “The last time I saw my daughter was at the AKTC motorpark when I saw her off. That day, I felt happy when I saw other corps members traveling with her. How could I have known that my daughter would not be safe traveling in AKTC? Till today, I blame the AKTC for what happened to those children in Zamfara.

“We were told that the driver was told not to go through that route once it was 6 p.m., but he didn’t listen. And after that first week, the incident happened, and I have not been able to talk to my child again because they collected their phones from them. It hurts when I think about the punishment and suffering those children are passing through in the bush.

“These days I don’t sleep; I hardly eat. I spend the nights anguishing why nobody, not even our own (Akwa Ibom) government, has abandoned us in this situation. It’s sad and painful. We (parents) are helpless and desperate because all the people we have contacted have not given us any hope.

“We have met with even the Paramount Rulers to help us reach out to the Governor, but since then there has been no feedback. I personally used other avenues, like using some governor’s aides, but I doubt if Governor Umo Eno saw those letters we wrote to him for help more than one month ago.

“And I am telling Governor Eno and our federal and state lawmakers, especially Senator Akpabio, that we will not rest and will continue to appeal to them to help bring our children back to us alive. Don’t let them die in the Zamfara bush. We, the parents, are helpless. We need your urgent support because we have just a few days to pay the ransom. There is no time.

“Some of us borrowed money, some took loans, and some sold our property to raise over N30 million in ransom, but unfortunately, those children are still in captivity. If you are well placed in society, we need your support. Help us rescue our children, who have been abducted for over three months now by Zamfara bandits. I have been restless since we were told that our children are weak.”

Mr. Bassey, who could not speak much as he was close to tears when asked how he was faring, simply said, “I have not been myself since my son was kidnapped. I don’t want to lose my child. I can’t talk on this please.”

Meanwhile, it was gathered that some parents and family members could not make it to the meeting in Uyo because they are presently in shock over the health condition of the children still in the kidnappers den.”


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