The gunmen who kidnapped some students of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Nigeria’s restive Kaduna State have demanded ₦270M for their release, reports said on Wednesday.
News Central reports that the students, who are studying the French Language at the institution, were abducted when the bandits intercepted some buses along the Kaduna-Abuja highway on Sunday.
Local reports said one of the students, Dickson Oko, who escaped with a gunshot injury from the kidnappers confirmed they are demanding ₦30m for each student.
He said nine students were kidnapped and not eight as earlier reported.
A female relative of one of the kidnapped students confirmed in a Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service report that the kidnappers had reached out to the family demanding ₦30m per student.
She pleaded with the kidnappers to have mercy and release the victims, saying they were only students.
The students, who were on their way to the French Village in Lagos for their language immersion programme, were trapped at the Akilubu-Gidan Busa axis on the highway when gunmen blocked both lanes of the road and opened fire on motorists.
The Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi, said on Tuesday that bandits had been degraded in the country.
Dingyadi, while briefing reporters after the quarterly meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, said bandits had been subdued and that they would not recover.
“These bandits have already been degraded. So, there is no way they can resuscitate themselves and take over. I think they have already been degraded; what they are doing is just a hit-and-run kind of tactics. So, we don’t see any sign of them coming to take over or overpower. I think they have been well degraded and they are just trying to show their presence in a very cowardly manner,” he said.
The minister, while reacting to the concerns that police had abandoned the Abuja-Kaduna road and the plans to ensure peace returned to the route, said it was an overstatement to insinuate that security agents had deserted the highway.
He said the reported cases of attacks along the route should not be interpreted that bandits had taken over despite the 24-hour patrol being jointly done by the police and the military.
“Once a small thing happens in a particular place like this Kaduna, we begin to talk about the lack of security in that area. That place is being monitored 24 hours. There are police and the army who are on a kind of joint patrol on a 24 hours basis.
“We also have our separate police formation that is also on that road. I think it is an overstatement to say that that place is not being secured. People are still following it.
“We agree that there have been cases of attacks, but these are normal things these people do whenever they have an opportunity, and we are equal to the task.
“Whenever this kind of thing happens, we pursue them like what happened just two days ago; those people were rescued. So, police and security personnel will continue to monitor this road and all other places to ensure that peace is to a very large extent maintained in the area,” he stated.
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