Seven abducted students of Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria, Kaduna and two of their lecturers regained their freedom late Thursday after their relations paid a total of N10 million, The Nation learnt lastFriday night.
They have reunited with their families after 28 days in captivity.
In a twist of fate, the parents and friends of the 121 students of Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna, on Friday went down on their knees seeking the face of God to intervene in their ordeal and rescue the abductees.
Confirming the release of the victims, the public relations officer (PRO) of the institution, Ibrahim Shehu, said “nine students and lecturers have been retrieved and all the victims were subsequently reunited with their families.”
On whether ransom was paid before their release, the PRO said: “I may not know since negotiations were carried out between the abductors and the families of the victims.
“All I can tell you is that they have been released and immediately reunited with their families after medical examinations.
However, a family source said the victims appeared gaunt and traumatised.
The source said a cumulative ransom of N10 million was paid to secure their release.
It was gathered that the abductors initially demanded a N10 million ransom on each of the nine victims.
Said the source: “We paid N10 million to get our people back. The kidnappers asked for N10 million on each of the victims initially. After a lot of plea, they reduced it to N2.5 million each.
“Even after then, we pleaded with them further. We raised N6.5 million and paid, thinking they were going to release them, but they didn’t. At the end, they asked us to look for an additional N3.5 million to make it N10 million for all of them.
“So, that was what we paid eventually. We paid the N10 million in two tranches before they were released. We thank God they are back safely. That is all I can tell you.”
Gunmen had attacked the institution on June 10 and took students and staff members.
A student was killed during the raid.
Spokesman for the school Abdullahi Shehu confirmed the release, which he said came about “after their parents and relatives negotiated with the bandits.”
Baptist Convention President leads prayers for release of 121 abducted students
Elsewhere in the state, the President of the Nigeria Baptist Convention, the Reverend Israel Akanji, led other Christian clerics and parents of the abducted students of Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna in prayer to seek God’s intervention in rescuing the kidnapped.
About 145 students were initially abducted when the bandits struck at Mararaba Damishi in Chikun Local Government area on Monday.
The security operatives who engaged the bandits managed to rescue 28 of the students while two soldiers were killed in the process.
The bandits have not yet asked for ransom. But they contacted the management of the school, demanding 30 bags of rice, 20 bags of beans and 10 kegs of palm oil to feed the captives.
The Vice-Principal of the school, Wakili Madugu, told Nigeria Info Abuja 95.1FM on Thursday that the abductors rejected nine bags of rice and other food items offered by the school.
Attendants at yesterday’s prayer session asked God to touch the hearts of the abductors of the students to release them unconditionally.