Hope was initially raised yesterday on freedom for the abducted 27 students and 15 others at Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, but later dashed, with the bandits insisting on N500 million ransom before releasing the abductees and other people kidnapped in NSTA bus earlier in the week.
The bandits attacked the school last Wednesday, killing one of the students in the process.
The Secretary to the Government of Niger State (SSG), Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, who is in the team negotiating with the bandits, said the bandits are also demanding for the release of their men being held by security agencies.
Security agents, who have been able to identify where the abductees are being kept, and Governor Abubakar Sani Bello had mounted pressure on the bandits for most of yesterday, but they refused to yield.
Kaduna-based cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi joined the drive to free the abductees on Thursday when he, in company with some government officials, met the bandits in the forest, but could not secure their freedom because of the ransom issue.
Governor Bello insisted that he would not pay ransom to bandits, and that the abductees must be freed unconditionally.
He said his stand was informed by the realisation that ransoms collected were being used to purchase more arms and ammunitions which they in turn use to terrorise the people.
The governor said he was ready to resettle the bandits and help them live normal lives once they laid down their arms.Governor Bello addressed the press in Minna yesterday afternoon, and confirmed that the abductees had not been released but said, “They could be released in a matter of hours or days.” (ThisDay)