Richard Elesho/ Lokoja
Apprehension over the fate of 42 students and staff of Government Science College, Kagara in Niger State has continued to rise. Hopes of an early release of the victims dim as the abductors have continued to talk tough and threatened to starve them to death if ransome is not paid on time.
These were made known through a recorded audio conversation between a negotiator and the bandits. According to Abuja Reporters, the audio was accessed through the help of respected Islamic Cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi.
The conversation is in Hausa. The bandits rejected the N2.7 million offer made by the negotiator, suspected to an official of the college. The gunmen further boasted of their ability to destroy not on Kagara, but the entire Niger State up to Kwara.
The leader of the bandits said: “I don’t have food for them. If anybody dies among them, we will tell you where to go and pick the corpse.
“You know these children are hungry. I don’t have food to give them, only water if they are going to die, let them die.”
The bandits requested for the telephone numbers of parents of each of the 27 students. The negotiator eplained that he does not have them and that it would be difficult for him to get the phone numbers of all the parents.
The bandit responded that he was aware that many security agents and vehicles had been deployed in Kagara, vowing they would not succeed in rescuing the abductees
He asked, “You think I don’t know what you people are doing? I can tell you how many security vehicles are in Kagara as we speak.
“It is with the help of the people of the city that intruders can overrun the city. Don’t you know that? The person who gave us this business is there among you. He is there with you. Wherever you go, he is watching you. If you want to do this deal, go ahead. From God we come and to him we will return
“Even if you put together the entire security forces of Nigeria in Kagara, I have eyes all over Kagara. Whichever step you take in Nigeria, I swear, I will know. You people are saying they should not pay us, that if they pay us, we will use to money to buy weapons. With whose money did we buy our weapons? If we don’t have weapons, you will just send security agents to kill us and take the children.”
Appealing to the bandit, the negotiator stated, “They (parents) have agreed to pay N2.7m. Each parent will pay N100,000 .”
But the abductor rejected the offer threatening to unleash terror on Kagara.
The abductor stated, “If I want Kagara to be in peace, it will be in peace. If it is not going to be in peace, it will go in pieces from here until Ilorin. If I die in this process, I have children that I have instructed that if I die that I don’t want Kagara to be peaceful if you don’t do as I say. Even if I die, nobody will come into Kagara.”
He also berated governors, who said they should not be paid ransom.
He added, “Governors are saying we should not be given money because we are going to use it to buy guns; guns that Allah provides and you are boasting about.
The bandit requested for the disbandment of vigilante service in Niger State, if the State must know peace.
“In all of your (Niger State) madness, you are not up to Zamfara. It was compelled to accept our terms and talk less of small fries like you. You see, if you want to seek peace, seek peace and if you don’t stop the activities of vigilantes in Niger you will not know peace forever.”
“Your deploying security officials in Kagara is a waste of time. Is there a fence in this forest? You know we are not in the cities, we are in the forest.
The News recalls that in the last two weeks or so, bandits stepped up their activities in Niger State. 21 passengers in a bus belonging to the state transport service were abducted on Sunday 7th February while returning from a wedding. Days later bandits stormed the Kagara college about 2am killed a student, abducted 27 others and 15 staff members.
The wedding guests have been released. The abductors are however still holding tight to the Kagara victims.