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Greenfield students’ parents paid N180 million to kidnappers

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A man walks with his son as residents block the Kaduna-Abuja highway in Gauruka, near Abuja, Nigeria, on May 24, 2021, during a protest against incessant kidnapping and killing after gunmen kidnapped 16 residents and killed three others in Niger State. (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

An angry parent of kidnapped Greenfield University students said N180 million naira was paid to the abductors of the university students kidnapped over a month ago.

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A total of 10 motorcycles were also given to the kidnappers as part of the ransom to secure the release of the students abducted from their school on April 20.

14 students were freed on Saturday.

“N180 million, that is what they [the kidnappers] collected from us,” a parent told Television Continental on Saturday, noting the ransom was paid “without the help of the government.”

One of the students was released in early May after his parent paid a ransom.

Five of the Greenfield students were executed by the kidnappers to force the government and parents to pay a ransom.

But the Kaduna State Government insisted paying ransom only emboldens the criminals.

“We will not give them any money and they will not make any profit from Kaduna,” Kaduna Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai said last month.

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About 730 children and students have been kidnapped Since December 2020, a UNICEF tally showed. At least six states shut down schools temporarily.

States such as Katsina, Zamfara, Niger and Kaduna have seen mass kidnapping of students.

Amnesty International said in a report in April that “over 600 schools” have been shut in Nigeria’s northern region as kidnapping spirals.

AI worried that the spate of kidnapping will worsen the rate of out-of-school children in the region and fuel a spike in child marriages and early pregnancies.

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“Millions of children are paying the price of the government’s failure to protect its citizens from violence,” said Osai Ojigho, the director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

“The Nigerian authorities must restore security to schools in Nigeria and provide psycho-social support to victims of abductions and their families, to enable them to heal from trauma and integrate back into society. There must be a plan to ensure that children can return to safe classrooms.”

In a statement after the release, Kaduna State Government said it is “working with the FG and other states for military operations to secure our people” despite the accusation of abandonment by the Greenfield students’ parents.

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