*urge govt to make school environment safe
By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
While clarifying that all abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Kaduna, have been safely returned, the parents forum of those affected have thanked Nigerians for their solidarity and support.
They expressed this in a statement jointly signed by the Chair of the Forum, Malam Abdullahi Usman and Secretary, Mrs Catherine Y. Saleh, made available to newsmen in Kaduna on Thursday, in which they demanded the rehabilitation of affected students.
“We extend profound gratitude to all Nigerians and lovers of humanity at home and abroad who showed up and showed out in solidarity as we went through the dark horrendous period of waiting and hoping for the return of our children,” the forum said.
They explained that the parents of the 27 students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Kaduna, have met and reviewed what they described as one of the most important matters in their lives, which is the release of their children by armed bandits.
“You would recall that the students were abducted on 11th March, 2021.
“It is, first and foremost, pertinent for us to effect an important correction on the number of the released students.
“They are 27, not 29, as reported by some nations media. The total abducted students were 39, out of which 2 (two) escaped not long after abduction, 10 were released in 2 batches of 5 each, leaving the remaining 27, who were released yesterday, Wednesday 5th May, 2021, 56 days after their abduction,” they explained.
They said that as parents, they made several efforts to secure the release of the students.
“We even took our peaceful march to the National Assembly on Tuesday, 4th May, 2021, presented our plight and prayed for the intervention of the lawmakers in securing the release of our children.
“We are grateful that we did not leave any stone unturned on the path to where we have arrived today,” they stresed.
They confirmed that the 27 released students were received at a location in Kidanda, Giwa Local Government Area and conveyed to Kaduna.
“On arrival in Kaduna, they were taken to the Police College Clinic for medical checkup,” the statement informed.
The elated parents said that they are unable to thank every one who stood by them enough for the sacrifices they made in various capacities financially, morally, spiritually and otherwise.
“We most especially register our immense gratitude to former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, and Abubakar Abdulsalami, Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Mahmud Gumi, and the Provost of the College, Dr Usman, for the various roles they played in securing the release of our children.
“We appreciate immensely the students and staff of the Institution for their relentless solidarity.
“We thank Barr Gloria Mabeiam Ballason and the House of Justice crew, Channels TV, BBC, DW Radio, the NUJ, Kaduna Chapel, Comrades Deji Adeyanju, Omoyele Sowore, Steven Kefas, and others too numerous to mention. Special thanks to The Ordinary President, Ahmed Isah of Berekete Radio/TV programme,” they said.
The forum however said, that the journey is not yet over because their children will definitely require rehabilitation to overcome the trauma that accompanies such ugly experiences.
“We therefore call the Minister of Environment, the Managements of FRIN and the College of Forestry Mechanisation, to ensure that all the students are well rehabilitated so that they may get back to normal life again and continue with their education,” they appealed.
They prayed for the repose of the soul of Malam Ibrahim, one of the parents of the abducted students, who died as a result of the trauma that resulted from the abduction of his daughter.
“We also pray for the souls of the 5 Greenfield University students who were killed by their abductors and ask God to grant the remaining students speedy release because we understand what the parents are passing through,” they added.
The forum called on government to get more serious and aggressively pursue safe schooling as a pertinent agenda to give parents the confidence to send their children to school, stressing that if the schools remain as security porous as they now, many may not find it worth the trouble to enroll their children anymore.
“Finally, we thank God Almighty for the victory he has granted us. He has done for us what no man can do.
“We thank you sincerely and pray that Kaduna State and Nigeria will return back to the days where we can all sleep with our two eyes closed,” the statement concluded.