The bandits who abducted 156 pupils of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School in Tegina town of Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State 10 days ago have reduced the ransom they earlier demanded to N150 million.
The criminals had initially asked for a N110 million ransom, which was later hiked to N200 million before reducing it to N150 million.
THISDAY gathered that the parents of the pupils and some good Samaritans were also able to raise N11.6 million, which they reportedly took to the bandits, but the money was allegedly rejected.
The Headmaster of the school, Alhaji Abubakar Alhassan, confirmed the new development, saying both the parents and the school authorities are confused on the next step to take.
“We are pleading with the federal and state governments to come to the assistance of these parents. “Only the government can afford the amount they are demanding,” he stated.
Alhassan, however, said the bandits allowed him to speak to one of the victims, who told him that “they are all fine.”
The headmaster said the girl, a fairly elderly one among the victims, who was also a teacher, said they were being fed with one groundnut cake (Kulikuli) daily.
He said only the Chairman of Rafi LGA, Mr. Ismaila Modibo, had visited the parents and the school during which he (Modibo) assured them that “the government will do something.”
Meanwhile, as part of measures to improve security in the state, the state Governor, Abubakar Bello, has directed the profiling of new residents in the state.
He said: “Traditional and religious institutions should work in cooperation with the local government council chairmen to profile all new residents in their domains.”
In his message during the commencement of the sale of fertiliser and 2021 planting season in Minna, the state capital, yesterday, Bello said the government would continue to strive towards mitigating security challenges in the state and its repercussions on agriculture and food security.
Laleye Dipo in Minna