Talks for release of Greenfield varsity students ongoing – Gumi


There were indications on Thursday that bandits, who kidnapped students of the Greenfield University, Kaduna, had dropped their threat to kill the remaining students of the university in their custody.

An Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, gave this hint in Kaduna while receiving parents of students of Afaka, who were released on Wednesday.

Recall that a leader of the bandits, Sani Jalingo, had in an interview with the Hausa Service of the Voice of America on Monday, threatened that the remaining 17 students in their custody, would be killed if the Kaduna State Government or parents of the abductees failed to pay N100m and provide 10 motorcycles on or before Tuesday (this week).

But Gumi, on Thursday expressed optimism that the remaining students of the Greenfield University, Kaduna would soon be freed.

The cleric, who indicated that the bandits had rescinded their decision to kill the students, stated, “The talk with the Greenfield University students’ abductors is also going on. You know they threatened to kill all of them after a particular deadline, but after talking to them, they are now lowering their bar.

“So, we are thankful they have stopped killing. And we are still negotiating with them. I hope this Afaka case will also encourage (everybody) to know that there is hope in negotiation and release of the children.”

While fielding questions from newsmen shortly after the visit, Gumi said the role he and former President Olusegun Obasanjo played was purely mediatory, noting that fight was between the bandits and the government.

He explained that the bandits while attacking government, attacked government institutions and “innocent children.”

When asked about the reported swap of a bandit for the students, Gumi said, “I cannot confirm that but I can quote the governor of Kaduna State (Nasir El-Rufai) when the children of Chibok were kidnapped by Boko Haram. He said it was the duty of the government to use whatever means possible to save the lives of Chibok girls. This is a general rule that life is more precious. Now, I am happy that 27 lives have been saved.”

Earlier, the parents of the 27 abducted students had said they were in his residence to thank him for the role he played in freeing their children.

Led by the chairman and the secretary of the Parents’ Forum, Mallam Usman Abdullahi and Friday Sanni, respectively, they urged the Islamic cleric to extend their appreciation to Obasanjo.

Meanwhile, parents of the 27 Afaka students on Thursday waited in vain as they couldn’t be reunited with their children released by bandits after 57 days.

The parents, who gathered as early as 8am to receive their children at the school premises along the Kaduna International Airport road opposite the Nigerian Defence Academy, were disappointed.

There were reports on Thursday that the students were freed after the payment of N15m ransom and the release of a bandit, who was detained by security agencies following Obasanjo and Gumi’s intervention.
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