Three pupils among the 156 abducted girls of the Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School, Tegina in the Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State have reportedly died in the kidnappers’ den.
It was gathered that many of the remaining students were also seriously ill resulting from hunger, cold and trauma.
SaharaReporters had reported that some of the pupils and their teachers were abducted on May 30, though 17 of the abductees escaped from the bandits’ captivity three weeks after.
In a recent development, the bandits informed some of the parents in a telephone conversation that three pupils had died though they (bandits) did not disclose the names of the deceased pupils.
The Chief Imam of Tegina was also said to have made a similar announcement after one of the regular Muslim prayers in the town.
However, according to findings, the bandits reportedly told the parents contacted that they would send the video of the burial of the late pupils and the present condition of the others to confirm their bad state of health.
The deadline given by the bandits for the payment of the reduced ransom of N30million had already passed about two weeks ago.
It was gathered that when the bandits reduced the ransom, the state government which had hitherto not shown any interest in the payment of the ransom to the bandits allegedly reached out to the parents during which it reportedly asked the parents to source for N10million, while the government would provide the balance.
“We contributed our own N10 million but up till now, we have not seen or heard anything from the government. It appears we have been left on our own. No one is showing any interest in getting our children released from the den of the bandits,” one of the parents was quoted as saying.
However, the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Matane, debunked the claim, saying: “There was never a time that government promised to pay ransom to bandits or assist the parents to pay any or part of the ransom. We have a policy not to pay ransom; we still stand by that policy.
“You know this issue of payment of ransom is not healthy. The government as a policy does not do it but I know that because they are engaging with the bandits, they can tell them anything.”
Asked if the government was aware that three of the children had died, he said, “I am not aware that three of the girls have died. You know these people (bandits) can be very deceptive. They raise a lot of emotions and sentiments so that we will accept their bidding.”