The Kaduna State Government has said it never appointed any group or individual to negotiate with bandits over the abduction of the 39 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Mando, in the Igabi Local Government Area of the state.
The state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, who stated this on Sunday, added that anyone caught negotiating with bandits on government’s behalf would be prosecuted.
The PUNCH had reported that parents of the abducted students had reached out to prominent citizens to prevail on Governor Nasir El-Rufai to do his best to ensure that their children regained their freedom.
This followed the expiration of a 48-hour ultimatum handed down by the victims’ parents to both the state and the Federal Government to effect the release of their children.
The trauma led to the death of one of the parents, Alhaji Ibrahim Shamaki, whose daughter spoke in Hausa in a viral video released by the bandits.
By Monday (today), the 39 students would have spent 25 days in the bandits’ den.
Aruwan distanced the state government from anyone discussing on its behalf with the bandits.
The commissioner, in a statement titled, ‘No intermediaries appointed by Governor El-Rufai to negotiate with bandits,’ said, “The attention of the Kaduna State Government under the leadership of Governor Nasir El-Rufai has been drawn to reports in the media that it has appointed representatives to interface with bandits on its behalf.
“The Kaduna State Government hereby clarifies firmly that such intermediaries have never been appointed.
“The position of the Kaduna State Government remains the same: the government will not negotiate with or pay ransoms to bandits. Any person who claims to do so in any capacity, if found, will be prosecuted accordingly.
“Citizens are urged to report the details of any persons posing as official government negotiators to the Kaduna State Security Operations Room on 09034000060 and 08170189999, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.