Renowned Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has expressed optimism that the remaining students of the Greenfield University, Kaduna will soon regain their freedom from their captors.
Gumi said negotiation was ongoing for the release of the students of the privately-owned university abducted by bandits on April 20, 2021.
Few days after their abduction, five of the students were killed by the bandits while the leader of the bandits, Sani Jalingo, said the remaining students would be killed if the government or the parents failed to provide N100 million and 10 motorcycles for the bandits.
The deadline to kill the remaining students had lapsed since Wednesday.
But on Thursday, Gumi while receiving the parents of the 27 Afaka students on a thank-you visit to his Kaduna residence, said the bandits had rescinded their decision to kill the students.
He said, “The talk with the Greenfield University students’ abductors is also going on. you know they threatened to kill all of them after a particular deadline but after talking to them, they are now lowering their bar.
“So, we thankful they have stopped killing. And we are still negotiating with them. I hope this Afaka case will also encourage to know that there is hope in negotiation and release the children.”
While fielding questions from newsmen shortly after the visit, Gumi said the role he and former President Olusegun Obasanjo played were purely mediation roles, noting that fight was between the bandits and the government.
He explained that the bandits while attacking the government, attacked government institutions and “innocent children.”
Gumi said, “The role myself and former President Olusegun Obasanjo played in the release of the 27 Afaka students is the role of mediators because the fight is not between us and them but between the bandits and the government.
“What we understand is that these people are trying to attack the government by attacking the government institutions and take innocent children.
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“Having understood that we came to the conclusion that this is not a hopeless situation and that we can really go in and negotiate for the release of these children, which we did after so many ups and downs.
“But in the long run, a conclusion was reached and these children are out. So, we are happy that, all of them are out and none was killed.”
Earlier, the parents of the 27 abducted students had said they were his to thank him for the role played in securing their children from bandits.
Led by the chairman and the secretary of the Parents Forum, Malam Usman Abdullahi, Friday Sanni, respectively, begged the Islamic cleric to extend their appreciation to former President Olusegun Obasanjo for their struggle to bring back their children.
Credit: THE PUNCH