Minna Sixty three days after bandits abducted 136 pupils of Salisu Tanko Islamiyya School, Tegina, Rafi Local Government Area, Niger State, their parents are going door to door soliciting for N3 million to buy six motorcycles for the abductors as ransom.
That was even as the state government has shut down 31 boarding schools across the state. Competent sources close to the families, who spoke to Sunday Telegraph on condition of anonymity, said the parents of the under aged pupils have exhausted all they have to raise the sum of N55 million which they paid as first tranche of the ransom.
The source, who did not want his name mentioned, told Our Correspondent that, the parents are broke financially and have resorted to begging from doorto- door in order to raise N3million to buy the six motorcycles.
It would be recalled that the pupils were abducted on May 30th, 2021 and have since been in the bandits’ den even after their captors had collected N55 million in ransoms.
Sunday Telegraph had reported that the bandits claimed there was a shortfall of N4.6 million from the last tranche of N30 million ransom paid.
Due to this, they refused to release the children, insisting they must receive the shortfall. In addition, they demanded that they must be supplied six Honda motorcycles worth over N450, 000 each before they could release their captives.
Findings have it that the bandits’ insistence on the provision of motorcycles was based on security operatives, who arrested some of their members.
A source deeply involved in the negotiation, Sunday Telegraph gathered, said the bandits’ insistence on motorcycles was a key demand from the parents as a condition for the release of their captives.
The source close to the parents of the abducted pupils in Tegina said the parents were moved by the picture of sordid conditions of their children as painted by the courier of the ransom, Kassimu, who was abducted and later released by the bandits.
Another parent confirmed that some of them have started contacting relations and well-wishers to raise money for the purchase of the motorcycles, with the hope that providing the motorcycles will lead to the release of the pupils soonest. This has led to apprehension in the state.
As a result of this, the State government on Thursday disclosed that it has shut down 10 of the 56 boarding schools across the state while 31 are not operating at optimum capacity due to bandits’ attacks.
The Commissioner for Education, Hajiya Hannatu Jibrin Salihu, made this known at the post-State Executive Council meeting while briefing the press. She reiterated that with the closures, only 25 boarding schools are still operational in the state, adding that 10 out of the 31 schools have been shut down.
She said: “We have 56 boarding schools in Niger State. We had to shut down 10 boarding schools and deboarded some of them. The ones that were totally shut down are those in the highrisk areas.
“The decision was based on risk assessment by security agencies in the state. There are also plans to review the risk assessment and decide if some of the schools will be reopened”.
Furthermore, the Commissioner said that students in SS3, who are to sit for Senior School Certificate examination (SSCE) in the affected schools, had been directed to go to alternative schools to write their final examinations.