The people of Tegina in the Rafi Local Government Area of Niger state are currently striving to raise the N110 million ransom demanded by bandits who abducted over 156 students and teachers of Salihu Tanko Islamiyyan School on Sunday.
A source, who spoke with Newzandar News on Thursday said the people have resorted to self-help but had only raised about N10 million so far.
The source also stated that the indigenes of the town both in Nigeria and in the diaspora are contributing towards securing the release of the abducted schoolchildren.
He said the indigenes are trying to raise at least N50 million after which negotiation can be made since the state government had refused to pay the ransom.
He said, “The people of Tegina at home and in the diaspora have now resorted to self-help. They are doing fundraising to raise the N110 million ransom demanded by the bandits.
“As of now, the contributions are close to N10 million but we hope that we will be able to raise at least N50 million so that these innocent schoolchildren can come home in peace.”
Armed bandits stormed the town on Sunday and abducted many pupils of the Islamic school in Tegina.
The bandits reportedly seized the police station in the town and went round the town shooting sporadically into the air to scare residents before breaking into the private school where they abducted children attending Islamic lectures.
The school, which consists of nursery and primary arms, also hosts Islamiyya students in the evening and at weekends.
In a recent report, the bandit had demanded N110 million on Monday after contacting the management of the institution.
The bandits contacted the school headmaster, Alhaji Abubakar Alhassan, asking him to pay N110 million as a ransom for the release of his pupils.
The bandits, who claimed to have 156 pupils with them threatened that if the payment was not made by the end of Monday, they would kill all the children.
The school headmaster, Alhassan said the message has been passed to the state government, which said it will not pay ransom for the release of the children.
The state government, giving reasons for its refusal, said it has set the necessary machinery in motion to ensure the safe release of the schoolchildren.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, Mary Noel Berje, quoted the state Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, as saying: “We don’t pay ransom to abductors. We are trying to negotiate to see how we can bring them back safely.”
Tegina is the hometown of the local government chairperson, Isma’il Moddibo. It is in the same local government area as Kagara where bandits earlier this year abducted many students but later released them after negotiation with the state government.
Newzandar News – News