Akwa Ibom state parents whose children were kidnapped along Zamfara Highway 17 August 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 release of the victims.
Some of the affected parents who spoke to Vanguard after their brief meeting yesterday in Uyo also expressed 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 that two of the victims (a male and female) only regained their freedom after they (parents) struggled to raise the ransom the kidnappers had demanded.
“I feel so bad when 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 government to show that they are truly doing something about rescuing our children they sent to serve their fatherland in Sokoto and they were kidnapped. That is why we decided to gather today and collectively appeal to government for help.”
Another parent who identified self as Mrs Idongesit expressed fears over the kidnappers threat last week that if they (parents) fail to raise the N70M ransom they would 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 is 6pm but he didn’t listen. And after that first week the incident happened 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, 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 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, our federal and state lawmakers, especially Senator President, Akpabio that we will not rest, will continue to appeal to them to help bring back our children to us alive. Don’t let them die in Zamfara bush. We the parents are helpless. We need your urgent support because we have just few days to pay the ransom. There is no time.
“Some of us borrowed money, some took loan, some sold their property to raise over N30m ransom but unfortunately those children are still in captivity. If you are well placed in the society, we need your support. Help us to rescue our children abducted for over three months now by Zamfara bandits. I have 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.”