*task government at all levels to work hard unfreezing their children
By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
While admitting that they approached reverred Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi to assist in facilitating the release of their children, parents of the 39 abducted Afaka College of Forestry College have informed that he declined and as such, couldn’t have collected money to that effect.
The parents expressed this in a statement jointly signed by their Chairman, Malam Abdullahi Usman and Secretary, Mrs Catherine Y. Saleh, made available on Wednesday,following a report on the media that Sheikh Gumi was given N800,000 to secure release of one of the students.
“The committee considers the statement as unfortunate and an unnecessary distraction from its commitment to secure the release of their children who have now spent 56 days in captivity.
“For the record, the committee representing the Forum of Parents of the 39 Abducted Students visited the home of Sheikh Gumi to seek his intervention for the release of our children but he declined, on the grounds that as a law abiding citizen he would not want to go against the position of the state government which has forbidden anyone to negotiate with bandits,” the statement said.
The group said that the attention of the parents of the 39 abducted Afaka students was drawn to a screaming headline on Wednesday (May 5, 2021) publication of Roots TV to the effect that one of them, who spoke to them in a live interview, claimed that they, the parents of the abducted students, contributed and paid the sum of N800,000 Naira to a Fulani man through Sheikh Gumi for the release of their children.
“We wish to state in no unclear terms that the claim has no basis in fact. Though the woman in the said video has a child in captivity, but her claim is untrue. The woman is not a member of the committee representing the affected parents and did not speak on behalf of the parents.
“To be sure, the Forum of the Abducted Parents has never gathered money and given to Gumi or to someone through the revered Islamic scholar at anytime. We therefore dissociate ourselves from the statement,” they clarified.
The group in the statement titled, “Re: Afaka 39: Kidnapped student Mother Exposes Sheikh Gumi, Reveals His Role in Banditry” apologised to the Islamic cleric.
“We apologise to the esteemed Sheikh for any personal injury the statement might have caused him,” the statement said.
They therefore, called on all to join their voices in calling on government at state and federal levels to work extra hard to ensure the safe release of their children so that they may be reunited with their families.
“While we await God’s intervention for the release of our children, we call on all people of goodwill to join us in prayers as we continue to seek God’s help for the release of our children,” they appealed.