Parents of the 27 students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna, who were freed on Wednesday after 55 days in kidnappers’ den, have called for the rehabilitation of their children to enable them to overcome possible post-traumatic stress disorder.
The parents, in a statement on Thursday, also appealed to the federal government to aggressively pursue safe schooling as an agenda so as to give parents the confidence to send their children to school.
The statement, jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the Forum of Parents of Afaka Abducted Students, Abdullahi Usman and Catherine Saleh, respectively, urged the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, and the management of the school, to ensure that all the students are rehabilitated to live a normal life and continue with their education.
“The journey is not yet over because our children will definitely require rehabilitation to overcome the trauma that accompanies such ugly experiences,” the parents said.
They prayed for the repose of the soul of one of the parents, Malam Ibrahim, who died as a result of the trauma from the abduction of his daughter.
The statement also prayed for the souls of the five students of Greenfield University, Kaduna, who were killed by their abductors and asked God to grant the remaining students’ speedy release.
“We call on the government to get more serious and aggressively pursue safe schooling as a pertinent agenda so as to give parents the confidence to send their children to school because if the schools remain as porous as they now are, many may not find it worth the trouble to enrol their children in schools anymore,” the parents added.
The statement expressed gratitude to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former military Head of State, Gen. Abubakar Abdulsalami (rtd); Sheikh Ahmad Gumi and the Provost of the Forestry College, Dr Usman Bello, as well as other Nigerians and the media for their roles in securing the release of the students.
The parents added that although 39 students were abducted, two of them escaped while the bandits released 10, leaving 27 in captivity.
“First and foremost, it is pertinent for us to effect an important correction on the number of the released students.
“They are 27, not 29, as reported by some media. The total abducted students were 39, out of which two escaped not long after the abduction.
“Ten of them were released in two batches of five each, leaving the remaining 27, who were released yesterday, Wednesday, May 5, 2021, after 56 days of their abduction”, the statement said.
It added that on arrival in Kaduna on Wednesday, the students were taken to the Police College Clinic for medical checkup.
“We, as parents, made several efforts to secure the release of the students. We even took our peaceful march to the National Assembly on Tuesday, 4th May, 2021, presented our plight and prayed for the intervention of the lawmakers in securing the release of our children.
“We are grateful that we did not leave any stone unturned on the path to where we have arrived today.
“We most especially register our immense gratitude to former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Abubakar Abdulsalami, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi and the Provost of the College, Dr Usman, for the various roles they played in securing the release of our children.
“We appreciate immensely the students and staff of the Institution for their relentless solidarity.
“We call on the government to get more serious and aggressively pursue safe schooling as a pertinent agenda so as to give parents the confidence to send their children to school because if the schools remain as security porous as they now are, many may not find it worth the trouble to enrol their children in schools anymore”, the statement said.
Usman also told THISDAY in an interview that the students were expected to be handed over to their parents yesterday, but the event was postponed till today.