Nigerians have taken to social media to react after bandits who abducted 22 students from Greenfield University in Kaduna State threatened to execute the remaining 17 students starting from Tuesday.
Recall that armed men stormed the school on April 20 and abducted the students after killing a security guard.
The kidnappers had demanded N800 million and when their demands were not met, they killed three students and two others a few days later.
The bandits had vowed to keep killing the innocent students within an interval of days until their demands are met.
In addition, in an interview with the Hausa Service of Voice of America (VOA), monitored by our correspondent, a leader of the bandit group who identified himself as Sani Idris Jalingo, said if the Kaduna State Government or the victims’ families fail to pay a ransom of N100 million as well as provide them with 10 brand Honda motorcycles by Tuesday, the remaining students will be killed.
Jalingo, who said the families of the students have already paid N55 million to them, claimed that they had used the money to feed the students.
“We heard the utterances of the Kaduna State Governor that he will not pay ransom to bandits to purchase additional arms.
“He also said he told his family that he will not pay ransom if any of them is kidnapped. So, we want to show that the Nigerian Government has failed that is why we killed the students,” he said.
Two of the abducted students who spoke during the interview also appealed to the government and their parents to take the threats seriously.
One of the students identified as a grandchild of the late 18th Emir of Zazzau, Shehu Idris, called on the government to negotiate with their captors.
“They mean what they say because they have already killed some of us,” said the student simply identified as Idris.
Since the threats went viral, lots of Nigerians condemned the government.
Some noted that if the kidnapped students were politician’s children, they would have made efforts to release them.
There were others who stated that the government were responsible for creating these monsters as they had allegedly earlier negotiated with bandits.
See some reactions below:
Meanwhile, the Kaduna state governor, Nasir el-Rufai and his government has insisted on its refusal to negotiate with kidnappers.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, El-Rufai insisted that his administration would not offer ransom to kidnappers, saying that doing so had not curbed criminality in the country.
The statement read, “Those pushing that kind of narrative are sharing a video clip of a 2014 interview in which Malam Nasir El-Rufai called on the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to use all options, including negotiation, to rescue the Chibok girls.
“The years since 2014 may have led some people to forget the denial and doubt that defined the FG’s response to the Chibok abductions, especially the initial refusal to acknowledge that it happened. That was the context under which civic pressures were brought on the government.
“Nigeria’s journey since the 2014 Chibok tragedy has proven that the solution to violent crimes, including terrorism and banditry, is a robust response from the state and its coercive agencies. The quantum of money paid as ransom following many negotiations with bandits have not stopped kidnappings, reduced their frequency or deterred the criminals.
“The experience of many states in the Northwest of Nigeria since 2015 has included cattle rustling, kidnappings, killings and the devastation of communities by criminals. Several states sought to negotiate their way out of the problems by talking to bandits, paying them money or offering them amnesty.
“This has not worked and has only encouraged the criminals to press ahead for a surrender of the public treasury to them. That is clearly not in the public interest.
The statement also explained that mass abduction was like in novelty in 2014, but in 2021, the facts have changed.
It added, that negotiations and ransoms have been undertaken, but these have not stopped the criminals.
“It has only encouraged them. It is only prudent to review one’s position when the facts change, and the suggestion made by a citizen years ago cannot be taken as the immutable answer to a serious problem which has evolved since 2014, no matter the viral replays of the said video clip.
“The Kaduna State Government has been consistently transparent about its security challenges. It has supported and continues to resource the security agencies in the state. We are engaging the Federal Government to have security responses that move away from reactive response of repelling bandits towards a comprehensive, proactive offensive that takes the battle to the criminals and uproots them.
“As a sub-national, with no direct control of any of the security agencies, we cannot make this task more difficult by giving criminals the resources to acquire more arms.
“KDSG regrets the recent kidnapping and killing of students from tertiary institutions in our state, and we sympathise with their families with whom we share the aim of the safe return of all the students. We mourn the dead students and we offer our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.
“The ruthless and heartless resort of the kidnappers to murdering these young persons is part of their effort to further their blackmail and compel us to abandon our ‘no-ransom, no-negotiation’ policy. Are people bothering with the consequences of state surrender to hoodlums, or is the continued politicisation of security challenges not going to make all of us ultimately victims of the insurgents?
“The fact that criminals seek to hold us by the jugular does not mean we should surrender and create an incentive for more crime. In today’s Nigeria, it has become fashionable to treat the unlawful demands of bandits as worthy of consideration and to lampoon people who insist that outlaws should be crushed and not mollycoddled or availed the resources they can use to unleash further outrages.”