Family members of the remaining kidnapped students and workers of the Greenfield University, Kaduna State, said they were forced to sell their property to raise ransom as the remaining victims regained freedom.
Newsmen gathered that the bandits collected N180m ransom and eight new motorcycles.
Although the parents and other relations were happy that they got their children back alive, they were angry with the federal and Kaduna State governments for the alleged levity with which they handled the abduction case.
So furious were the parents that they snatched the students from the police who had allegedly wanted to take the glory for securing their release.
The parents spoke of the physical and mental torture they went through to get the abductees released without any help from government.
ASP Mohammed Jalige, Kaduna State Police Command spokesperson, confirmed the release of the remaining students and workers after 39 days in captivity.
When asked of his health status, the police spokesman said once debriefed, “we will get back to you.”
Although the police were silent on whether or not a ransom was paid, it was learnt that parents paid some unspecified amount to the bandits who earlier demanded N800m ransom.
The bandits, however, reduced the ransom to N100m and 10 motorcycles and later asked the parents to pay N10m for each victim.
It was gathered from reliable sources that the parents paid ransom and provided eight brand new motorcycles to the bandits before the students regained their freedom.
It was gathered that the bandits dropped the 13 students and three staff of the university at around a company from where the security operatives guarding the multi-million dollar firm.
Trouble started when the company security refused the parents who came to pick up their children, insisting that the students would be handed to the police.
The angry parents broke into the company and took their children away amid jubilation.
They branded the government insensitive, uncaring and leaving them to their fate all this while.
They recalled repeated pleas to the state government and the security agencies to help secure the release of the abductees and how they resorted to selling their assets to raise money for the ransom.
The students and staff themselves looked gaunt and traumatised.
Parents and students broke down in tears as they embraced.
One of the parents, (name withheld) said: “we paid N180 million; that is what they collected from us without the help of any government.
“We, the parents, paid. The government did not send a single policeman to go after our children’s kidnappers.”
A crying mother said they also gave motorcycles to the bandits as part of the ransom.
One of the abducted but freed staff, Mrs. Chukwuemeka, expressed appreciation to God that they were able to reunite with their families.
She however said that the bandits did not maltreat them and they gave them normal food. “I gave God all the glory that we returned safely.”
Speaking on what the release of his daughter meant to him and his family, one of the parents, Mr. Bassey, said it was a day of joy and happiness for them.
His words: “After 40 days of trauma, trouble, confusion, disappointment that the future of Nigeria, children of Nigeria were kidnapped, we are very happy that we see them again alive.
“But it is disappointing that the government of Nigeria, both state and federal, could not lift a finger to secure their release. No government showed any intention to help. It was the parents that rallied round to ensure that the students were released.
“We paid a huge amount of money to secure their release; the people collected a number of motorbikes which we had to give because our destiny was tied up.
“There was no effort, no fight by government or security agencies to get them freed. We suffered, sold our properties to rescue our children. No government, no security agencies came to help us. It is shameful that those who did not contribute anything came out to take the glory.’
But he said it was no time yet to decide whether the students would return to the university.
“Now is not a time to take that decision of returning our children to that school. The school authorities tried well. We will take that decision later.”
Also speaking, Mr. Chukwuemeka Lawrence, husband to one of the freed staff said: “we paid ransom before they were released. After the kidnappers called us and told us that government was behind them, that government knew what they were doing, and that we shouldn’t tell government what we were doing that we should look for more money.
“We begged them but they refused to listen to our pleas. We sold houses, two people went to pay N10 million each as they were demanding for more money, government promised that they would help us but deserted us.”
Recall that the students were abducted on April 20, 2021.
Bandits had invaded the university, killing an official before kidnapping 19 students and three female workers of the institution.
Few days later, five of the students were killed by the bandits for failure of the parents to raise the N800m ransom demanded by the bandits.