The bandits who abducted eight Akwa Ibom State graduates en route to the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation Camp in Sokoto State have demanded an additional N200 million in ransom. This demand comes after they had already received N13 million from the families of the victims.
These prospective corps members were kidnapped on August 17, 2023, in Zamfara State and have endured 26 days in captivity. The abducted individuals are Abigail Peter Sandy, Uyoobong Victor Udofia, Daniel Etim Bassey, Sabanah Anyaewe Monday, Emmanuel Esudue, Victoria Udoka, Solomon Bassey Daniel, and Glory Etukudo Thomas. A relative of one of the victims, speaking anonymously, revealed to Vanguard on Tuesday, September 12, that the kidnappers are also demanding N200 million as ransom for the release of the eight corps members and the Akwa Ibom Transport Company (AKTC) bus driver, Udeme Umoren, who was also kidnapped.
“We don’t know how we are going to raise that kind of money. Everybody was shocked when two parents, who have been over there since the incident happened, told us that after they released the balance of N8 million (to make up the N13 million ransom negotiated), they waited for the kidnappers to release our brothers and sisters, but they didn’t,” explained the source.
“They said instead, the kidnappers contacted them to demand N200 million ransom. We have paid N13 million already. First, we paid N5 million, later N8 million to make up the N13 million. Some parents sold their lands, some even collected loans to raise the N13 million. We have not received any help from the government. We found it difficult to raise that N13 million. So, how are we going to raise this fresh ransom of N200 million? We have deliberately kept this development from my mother. I don’t think that poor widow will survive if she hears this. We are suffering and helpless,” the source told Vanguard.
Another relative close to one of the victims’ parents expressed their concern about their children’s worsening health due to the conditions of their captivity. She said, “In fact, all the parents and their family members have resorted to fasting and prayers. Our children in captivity told us to pray for them, that they are very weak.”
“As we speak, I just returned from church. We are believing in God to help us bring back our children. God will not fail us. The parents don’t have that kind of money those people are demanding. Where would they get that kind of money?”
Previously, when the families had paid N5 million of the initially agreed-upon ransom of N13 million, the abductors had set a deadline of September 6 for the remaining N8 million to be paid. However, due to the families’ inability to meet this deadline, the captors extended the grace period to September 9, 2023, in response to the pleas from the victims’ parents who needed more time to raise the outstanding N8 million.