In what will come across as a really tragic development, the terrorists’ group that kidnapped eight Akwa Ibom State graduates, abducted in Zamfara State on their way to Sokoto State for the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Orientation Camp, has made more demands.
The terror group has demanded an additional N200million as ransom, after collecting N13 million earlier paid by the victims’ families.
SaharaReporters had reported how the corps members were kidnapped on August 17, and had spent 26 days in their abductors’ den.
On the condition of anonymity, a sibling of one of the victims informed Vanguard on Tuesday that the abductors were also demanding an additional N200 million ransom to release the seven corps members and the Akwa Ibom Transport Company, AKTC, bus driver who were being held captive.
The source said: “We don’t know how we are going to raise that kind of money. Everybody was shocked when two parents, who have been over there since the incident happened told us that after they released the balance N8 million (to make up N13 million ransom negotiated) they waited for long for the kidnappers to release our brothers and sisters, but they didn’t.
“They said instead, the kidnappers contacted them to demand N200 million ransom. We have paid N13 million already. First, we paid N5 million, later N8 million to make up the N13 million. Some parents sold their lands, some even collected loan to raise the N13 million.
“We have not received any help from government. We found it difficult to raise that N13 million. So, how are we going to raise this fresh ransom of N200 million? We have deliberately kept this development from my mother. I don’t think that poor widow will survive if she hears this. We are suffering and helpless,” the source told Vanguard.
Another relative close to one of the victims’ parents claimed the victims’ families were especially concerned after learning on Monday that their children’s health was worsening due to the nature of the facility where they were being held, hostage.
The woman, who could not hide her anguish, lamented: “In fact all the parents and their family members have resorted to fasting and prayers. Our children in captivity told us to pray for them, that they are very weak.
“As we speak, I just returned from church. We are believing in God to help us bring back our children. God will not fail us. The parents don’t have that kind of money those people are demanding. Where would they get that kind of money?”
Recall that when the families released N5 million of the initially discussed total ransom of N13 million, the abductors gave them until September 6 to pay the balance of N8 million.
When the helpless families could not meet the deadline, the captors extended the grace period to September 9, 2023 in response to pleas by parents of the victims asking for more days to enable them raise the outstanding N8 million.
SaharaReproters had also reported that a Facebook user who claimed to be privy to the situation revealed that the terrorists contacted the family of one of the victims and demanded a ransom of N4 million in August.
The Facebook user wrote: “Sad to hear that young graduates going for their National Service year in Sokoto have been kidnapped by bandits
“Both the Federal Government and various State governments should do everything possible to rescue the eight NYSC members.
“Nothing must happen to them oh!!!Some of them included Emmanuel Esudue, a graduate of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, Akwa Ibom State University and Victoria Udoka, a graduate of Mass Communication from University of Uyo.
“At the moment, one of the families, it was learnt have been contacted to pay N4m. Please, this is Federal government matter not the family and should be taking seriously to save these children from been tormented further by the wicked kidnappers.
“This is another challenge to the federal government to review deployment of NYSC to nearby states where they schooled due to insecurity rather than posting them across the country.”
“May the Almighty God rescue them and let those wicked kidnappers be arrested and brought to book. Their crimes must not go unpunished,” the Facebook post added.