- Sheik Abubakar Gumi has said sent a word of hope to Nigerians over the abduction of Kagara schoolchildren
- Gumi said on Saturday, February 20, that the abducted children might regain their freedom on Sunday, February 21
- The cleric noted that the negotiation is ongoing between the government and the bandits
Four days after the abduction of some students of the Government Science College, Kagara, Niger state, a prominent Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, has said that the kidnapped children might be released today, Sunday, February 21.
The Punch reports that some bandits on Wednesday, February 17, invaded the school and whisked away 27 pupils and 15 staff members after killing a Senior Secondary School 3 pupil.
Legit.ng gathered that the incident has created nationwide agitation and worries over the safety of the kidnapped pupils and school staff members who were whisked away into the bush by the bandits.
Speaking with the newspaper on Saturday, February 20, Gumi said there was a possibility that the abductees might regain freedom on Sunday, February 21, given ongoing talks between the government and the bandits.
Gumi, who recently held a parley with some bandits in Zamfara state forests and consequently called for amnesty for bandits, noted that the negotiation for the release of the schoolchildren and members of staff was slowed down due to logistics, adding that the negotiation does not involve payment of ransom.
Gumi was quoted to have said:
“What I hear from (our contact) is that they are still negotiating to release them (schoolchildren and staff members) and hopefully, hopefully, we will get them tomorrow (Sunday), hopefully.
“Up till now, they have not been able to identify the boys, who (did the kidnapping). You know they are splinter groups. So, when you are dealing with groups like that in a vast area, with no communication, no road, then it has to be slow. But the main actors are ready to negotiate and stop the kidnapping altogether.”
The cleric, however, said that the negotiation does involve money, adding that if it does, it means the same criminality.
Gumi also noted that the bandits are mainly asking the state to release their comrades in the custody of security agencies.
“They have just four people in detention and they are asking for them. They also need assurance and that is why we are calling for amnesty for them. They have been fighting for a long time; it’s been more than eight years.
“These people are fighting for their existence because when they go to town they are lynched, when the police see them on the road, they arrest them; sometimes they are executed extrajudicially, so they took arms against the state. When you give them amnesty, all of them will drop their weapons.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, lamented that Nigeria is currently facing a crisis triggered by mounting insecurity.
It was reported that the former governor of Lagos made the comment at the 8th Day Firdaus Prayer of the first civilian governor of the state, Late Alhaji Lateef Jakande, held on Friday, February 19 in the Ilupeju area of the megacity.
Wale Akinola is a passionate journalist and researcher. He works as a senior political/current affairs editor at Legit.ng. He holds both B.A and Master’s degree in Communications and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan. He also holds a Diploma Certificate in Peace Journalism. He has over 15 years of work experience in both print and online media. He derives joy in keeping the public abreast of current happenings locally and internationally through his writings.