The fear of receiving bad news has gripped the parents of abducted members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as the ultimatum for the ransom given by the abductors expires today.
The corps members who were said to be travelling from Uyo in Akwa Ibom State to Sokoto State to report for their mandatory national service were kidnapped by gunmen who intercepted their bus along a highway in Zamfara in August.
Some of the families of the abductees who spoke to Vanguard on Tuesday said the abductors had been calling them to complete the N8 million balance of the ransom latest today, having paid N5 million.
One of the relatives of the victims who narrated to Vanguard on the condition of anonymity said: “The young man left Akwa Ibom on August 16, 2023, with other corps members, and on August 17 night, they kidnapped them on their way to Sokoto.
“On Friday, they contacted us. That first day, those people that kidnapped them demanded N4 million ransom from each of them (victims). They were eight NYSC members and the AKTC driver made them nine.
“The mother of the boy (name withheld) started crying because as a poor widow and petty trader, she could not afford such an amount of money. The following day, Saturday, the abductors contacted us again and decided all parents of their victims meet to jointly raise N10 million.
“The families have been able to raise N5 million and send to them. It would have remained N5 million, but they later requested money for three power bikes. And we have checked each power bike cost N1 million plus.
“They spoke to us again Monday this week to give till Wednesday, September 6, as the deadline for the remaining amount to be paid. So, we are looking at N8 million, including money for the powerbikes. And they warned that we should try and meet the deadline if we don’t want to hear bad news.”
The relative added that the government had made no effort to ensure the release of the abducted corps members, despite the families' protest to the State House of Assembly.
One of the distraught fathers of the kidnapped corps members, Emmanuel Etteh, had also expressed disappointment in the government for being quiet about the situation.
It is very devastating because, as a parent, I am very disappointed by the government. No one has been talking about or asking questions since this incident happened," he said.
Another relative identified as Mfon who expressed restlessness over the deadline of the ransom said: "We have been moving around to see people who can assist us in any way to raise this amount. Just this morning, the village head and the wife gave us N300,000 to support us.
“We are still looking for N700,000 to make N1 million on our part because each of the families must contribute N1 million to complete the outstanding N8 million ransom.”