Bandits Collect N20m Ransom, Refuse to Release Abducted Niger School Girls

It has now been discovered that parents well-wishers and highly-spirited individuals contributed N20million as ransom for bandits who abducted the 156 pupils of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School in Tegina town of Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State a month ago.

However, THISDAY investigation has also revealed that the N20million was collected by the bandits in the forest last week, but after collecting the money, the abductors refused to release the school girls in their captivity.

This information came against the backdrop of the escape of another set of the school girls from captivity bringing those that have regained freedom to two within a spate of four days.

Checks revealed that the money was taken to the bandits by the committee set up by the village head but after the bandits collected the ransom, they did not release the abductees.

THISDAY was told by a source that the bandits did not give reason for not releasing the girls, but another source said the bandits were not happy that only N18million of the N20million got to them.

The second source added that the bandits told those that took the ‘N18m’ to them that the money was the ransom for the 15 people who escaped from their custody over a week ago.

The Headmaster of the school, Alhaji Alhassan Abubakar, when contacted, confirmed that the ransom was actually taken to the bandits but they (bandits) are yet to release the girls.

He said: “They have not given any reason why they collected the money and refused to release our children.”

THISDAY further learnt that 12-year-old Aisha Mohammed escaped from the bandits’ den last Tuesday after wandering for “two days and one night in the forest.”

One Zaynab Salle Boka was the first girl to escape from the bandits last Monday.

Aisha told sympathisers after arriving Tegina that she was to escape with another girl but luck ran out of the other girl.

The school Headmaster, Abubakar, confirmed Aisha escape from the bandits, adding that she lamented the condition under which other abductees are living.

Abubakar said not less than 60 of the girls have swollen feet apart from being emaciated because 30 of them usually shared one spaghetti pack as meal.

He pleaded with members of the public to assist the parents to secure the release of the children.

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