Parents of nine abducted students of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in Kaduna State have recounted how they raised money and drinks as ransom which they delivered to the kidnappers in the forest on Saturday night.
Two of the parents told journalists in a telephone interview they paid amounts varying from N500,000 to N4million to get the children released, even as soldiers they encountered on the journey to the kidnappers den were helpless.
According to them, while some were made to hand their ransom to members of the kidnap syndicate in Kaduna, the rest who were contacted separately, were united by the kidnappers through telephone calls at Abuja Junction, in Kaduna.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the parents were made to convey the cash, accompanied with cartons of Maltina drink and milk, to the kidnappers’ enclave in the bush along the Kaduna-Abuja highway.
“They called me yesterday (Saturday), and said if I am not able to pay N1 million, they will kill the girls or marry them or use them as sex slaves.
“On arriving Kaduna we were told that security personnel were monitoring the bandits in the bush, but surprisingly, the bandits called us and told us to come and wait at Abuja junction.
“They sent us a telephone number to call. We called the number and the person came to take us to a car. Unknown to me the owner of the car is also a victim’s parent; his daughter was among those abducted.
“We drove along the Kaduna – Abuja road around 11pm to deliver the ransom and other things they demanded for”, recounted one of the parents.
According to him: “When we got to Dutse, we stopped at a junction leading to the bush. We met soldiers there and they stopped us and made the four of us in the vehicle to sit on the ground.
“The soldiers noticed all of us were carrying nylon bags and the items and they asked what were in the nylon bags. We told them that we are carrying money to go and pay ransom for the students that were kidnapped.
“The soldiers wished us safe journey to the bush and we parked the car at the junction.
“We trekked far inside the bush from Dutse and handed over the money to them and they released the girls to us.”
Another parent said: “Some parents paid N1million, some paid over N1million, some paid N2milion, some paid over N500,000, depending on how each parent bargain with the hoodlums because they spoke separately with the parents.
“Some parents were asked to drop their money at a particular place at Abuja junction and leave the place then somebody picked the money, counted it and notified the people in the bush that the money had been paid.
“Four of us went to deliver the money but we didn’t know that we were all victims,” he said.
He added that “after series of bargaining, they said I should pay N1 million but I told them that I cannot afford to raise that amount. I told them I have over N500, 000 and they asked me to bring it.
“I sold my goats, pigs and other belongings to pay the money.”