Amid continued confinement of 39 students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna State 17 days after they were abducted by armed bandits, no fewer than 8 members of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Region 30, Trinity Sanctuary, Kaduna, were on Friday abducted by gunmen. Saturday PUNCH gathered the victims were on the church bus travelling for a programme when they were attacked.
A Facebook user, Eje Faraday, around 7pm broke the news on his page with a picture of the white vehicle. “All passengers in this bus were just kidnapped along Kachia Road, 63 km from Kaduna,” he wrote. A credible source and official of the church confirmed the report. He said, “They were 8 in the bus. They were going to Kachia in preparation for the Let’s Go a Fishing Easter programme. Gunmen took them out of the bus and put them in their own operational vehicle. They have yet to contact the church.”
State Police PRO, Mohammed Jalige, said he was still making enquiries on the incident. He said, “I have contacted our officers along that axis. Actually, we have 3 divisions in that area. I have responses from 2 DPOs, who said they were not aware of the incident. I am just waiting for the response of the 3rd DPO. When I get it, I will let you know.” RCCG Head of Media and Public Relations, Pastor Olaitan Olubiyi, did not answer calls to his mobile, which rang several times.
MEDICAL EXPERTS RAISE ALARM
Meanwhile, medical experts have raised the alarm that abducted students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation may suffer panic disorder, nightmares and other manifestations of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The experts comprising psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health advocates, in separate interviews with our correspondents, warned that when eventually released or rescued, the students could suffer depression, difficulty with attention in class, lack of trust and other mental issues.
Parents of the students had on Monday protested and given Kaduna State and the FG 48 hours to rescue the students, lamenting they were worried about the health of their children, some of whom they said sustained injuries during their abduction. A parent who spoke on behalf of others during the protest, Mr Friday Sani, said, “We are by this press conference demanding that government rescue our children by all means and within 48 hours so that the process of their rehabilitation can commence because the longer they stay in captivity the worse the situation will be.”
Bandits had on the night of March 11 abducted no fewer than 30 students from the school, located opposite Nigerian Defence Academy on Airport Road. State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, said in a statement that checks by government revealed 39 persons were missing, comprising 23 females and 16 males. He, however, gave assurance that security agents were working hard to rescue the students, noting that troops of the Army from 1 Division prevented bandits from taking away more students and that they were able to rescue 180 persons.
The state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, had insisted his government would not negotiate with the bandits, who demanded N500m ransom. The bandits also warned that the students would not go home alive should any attempt be made to rescue them. He said, “We will not engage with bandits or kidnappers. Private citizens like clerics and clergymen can do so in their individual capacities, to preach to them and ask them to repent. We also want them to repent but it is not our job to ask them to do so.”
But in an interview on Friday, a consultant clinical psychologist at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Dr Oluwafisayo Adebimpe, told Saturday PUNCH that the students might suffer panic disorder, nightmares, night terrors, being suspicious of others, hyper-vigilance, lack of trust and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She added, “The longer the duration of their being captive and