The parents of the abducted Kaduna schoolgirls, on Tuesday, said their children were never rescued by the police as claimed.
On October 3, 2019, six female pupils and two teachers of the Engravers College, Kakau Daji, in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State were kidnapped by some gunmen, reports PUNCH.
The victims were released on Saturday after 23 days in captivity after their relatives had allegedly paid a ransom of N13.6m.
The state police command had claimed that its personnel rescued the schoolgirls and their teachers following an intelligence report.
The command’s spokesman, DSP Yakubu Sabo, had said in a statement on Saturday, “Today, being October 26, 2019, around 8am, police operatives attached to the Operation Puff Adder in Kaduna acted on intelligence and intercepted the kidnapped pupils and teachers of the Engravers College, Kakau Daji, Kaduna, at Dutse in the Chukun LGA.
“Consequently, all the eight victims of the kidnapping incident of October 3, 2019, have been rescued unhurt and have been reunited with their respective families by the command.”
However, while addressing journalists on Tuesday, the parents, through their spokesman, Ohemu Fredrick, insisted that the children were set free by their abductors after the families had met the ransom demand.
Frederick failed to disclose the amount paid as ransom but noted that the girls were released after the payment.
He also singled out a former governor of the state (name withheld) for commendation, saying he neither knew them nor met them, but that he and his friends were able to raise the ransom paid to the kidnappers.
He also said the former governor also bankrolled the medical bills of the children and their teachers aside from providing the ambulance that conveyed the victims to hospital.
Frederick expressed gratitude to all Nigerians irrespective of tribe and religion.
He stated, “We appreciate all Nigerians. Several people prayed in churches and mosques. Through their prayers, God brought us help. God used a former governor of Kaduna State to assist us. We are thankful to all Nigerians. We are in celebration mood now.
“We paid ransom before their release, but we don’t want to state the amount. We paid ransom, but all the same, we want to thank the police as well.”
One of the parents, who spoke on condition of anonymity after press briefing, explained that the police only conveyed the victims to the Kaduna tollgate after the kidnappers had set them free.
He stated, “What happened was that when the children and the two teachers were released, they had no shoes. So, out of the ransom paid, the kidnappers gave the victims transport fares to come back to town. One of the teachers crossed over to the other side of the road to buy footwear for the victims from the money. It was at that point that the police arrived and offered to give them a ride.
“Even the first time part of the ransom was paid, the kidnappers gave the ransom bearer transport fare back to town. So, we really appreciate the police for giving our children and the teachers a ride.”