Daily Courier – Worried by the recent audio interview where terrorists who abducted the passengers of the attacked train on the 28th March, 2022 threatened to start killing their abductees in seven days if the federal government does not immediately release their (terrorists´) eight children in government custody, families of the abducted passengers have cried out for help.
The terrorists had on Tuesday released an audio tape, saying that, government was holding in custody eight of their children between ages one and seven, and that, government should release the children within seven days or they (terrorists) would start killing the victims in their captivity.
The kidnapped passengers’ families who addressed a press conference in Kaduna yesterday, however, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to personally supervise the process and grant the demand of the terrorists, to secure the release of their 62 loved ones in captivity.
This was also as they appealed to the abductors of their family members to be compassionate and spare the lives of the victims who they described as innocent Nigerians.
Addressing journalists in Kaduna, leader of the families, Dr AbdulFatai Jimoh, said the families woke up on Tuesday to the sad reality of a recorded audio tape from the abductors of our family members, which contained some highly disturbing information that was having negative impact on their lives.
According to Jimoh, “It is exactly 58 days since our loved ones were captured and 23 days after Mr. President issued a directive to security agencies for their immediate and safe rescue, we are still anxiously waiting for a positive outcome of rescue efforts.”
Speaking on the threat issued by the terrorists, one of the families leaders, Dr. Abdulaziz Atta said, “The seven-day ultimatum is real and that seven-day started since yesterday, so we have six more days to go. And we are asking the government to act fast, because these people don’t make empty threats.
“We have all heard the audio of from those that are holding our loved ones in captivity. They have a clear demand and we are actually taking the demand up. The government is holding eight of their children.
“There is absolutely no reason those children should not be released for 62 of our loved ones to be released. For us, it is no more 62 of our loved ones, it is now plus eight. So, we are now fighting for 70, because it cannot be justified why the government is holding the eight children.
“Government should please release those eight children to those who abducted our loved ones. It appears the government is absolutely not concerned in bringing our loved ones out. They are not concerned because they are busy with politics, they are busy fighting for positions, that is their interest now, they are not interested in several people being held in captivity.
“But the good news we have is that, those that abducted our loved ones, are now speaking with us directly. So, what you are hearing from us today is unadulterated. What you are hearing from us is directly from the abductors. We are going to release a video now to buttress our points.
“What they (abductors) are saying is that, they have eight children held by government and kept in Yola. They should be brought down to Kaduna and taken to the abductors. And if the government cannot take the children there, they should give us the responsibility, we will take the children to the forest, so that, we can get our loved ones out.
“For the past few days that we opened direct communication with the abductors of our loved ones, we had asked for proof of life and they sent a video to us.
“We also asked them for the names of their children in custody and they sent them to us. So, we can say we are building confidence between us and them. So, we don’t have any reason to doubt them, because we have 62 people there and we want them out.
“The government should take their responsibility serious. For now, it appears like they don’t know what to do, or they have refused to do what they are expected to do.
“Our message is now directed to the President of our country. President Muhammadu Buhari should come to our aid. The President should handle this issue directly. This is eight weeks now and we have children and elderly people there in the forest. We have pregnant and injured people there.
“How can you sleep Mr President? How can you sleep? You can’t do this to us Mr President,” Dr Atta said.
Another relative, Malam Sani Lawal, said, all the victims’ family members had been traumatized since the past 58 days, “we cannot concentrate on anything, we cannot work, because our loved ones are in dehumanized condition.
“We are in democracy for God sake. We voted for people to protect us, but what bothers them is how to recontest election and return to office.
“Since government is not concerned about our plight, it is even better for us to go and meet the abductors in the forest to capture us too.
“These people have stated their reason for abducting our innocent loved ones and they had stated what they want in return. And to us, it is not something that is too difficult to give. That, government is holding their children of one year, two years and seven years among others. What do children know about what is happening?
“So, why will the government not do the needful? So, we are telling the government that these people are talking to us directly and they are accusing the government of cheating them, of deceiving them.
“The government should do the needful because these people have issued a seven-day ultimatum to start killing our people. They also made other threats to our loved ones. Government should meet the demand of the abductors as a matter of urgency.
“We are begging the abductors to be compassionate and see our loved ones with them as their fellow Nigerians, who are just victims of circumstance. We believe they have the capacity to release our loved ones. They should please do so and not carry out their threats,” Lawal said.
In her own remarks, a female relative, Dr. Fatima Ciroma, said the victims’ families had been broken down by the latest video released abductors of their loved ones, as well as the threat to slaughter them, once their demand is not met.
Ciroma said, “We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, that we are law abiding citizens, so we don’t deserve this kind of treatment. We have been through 58 days of horror. We have had enough. Then, a video came yesterday from the abductors which broke almost all of us down.
“Mr President, if you don’t listen to us, your wife, as a mother, knows our feelings right now. We are pleading with you, because this is not a joke. They said they are going to slaughter our people after seven days, this type of thing has happened before, so there is no doubting the fact that they can carry out their threats.
“Please, please, we are begging you, release those small innocent children. I don’t even know why you arrested children. In a country where they know what they are doing, they don’t touch women and children but here we are in Nigeria, our people are inside the bush for 58 days.
“Ahhh! Please, Mr. President, we are law abiding citizens. You promised to protect us; you promised to give us good security and everything. But we are very sorry, the government has failed us. The government has failed us because I don’t even trust the government anymore. Please, we are begging you on behalf of all the families. Please, wake up and wake. Call your people (security), let them start working because definitely, they are not working,” she said.
The families carried placards with different inscriptions like “Rescue AK9 passengers now!” “Bring back our loved ones.” And “release abductors children” among others.