Kaduna based popular Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmed Gumi, has said that the students of Government Science College, Kagara and others abducted in Niger State would soon be released.
The cleric gave the assurance after meeting with the bandits in the forests between Tegina in Niger State and Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State, The Nation reports.
A source quoted by the report, who was privy to the meeting, said Sheikh Gumi had a meeting with the leader of the bandits and other top commanders at the Dutsen Magaji forest.
The source also stated that a strong delegation from the state government was also at the Dutsen Magaji forest to meet the bandits, adding that they had a dialogue.
Meanwhile, Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, has described as ‘rumour’, the purported release of abducted students and members of staff of Government Science College, Kagara.
Bello spoke on Friday at the Government House in Minna, the state capital, shortly after meeting renowned Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi.
Addressing journalists, he said, “Regarding the event of the past few days where we have two serious cases of kidnappings he NTSA (Niger State Transport Authority) bus that was kidnapped (with passengers). And the second event took place at the Secondary School in Kagara.
“As at this moment, we do not have any additional information to give apart from the one given earlier on, yesterday. But I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can, we are interfacing with the local communities, with federal authorities and our own state authorities to ensure that we recover the victims safely.
“Our utmost priority right now is to make sure we bring them back home safe and that is exactly what we are going to do. So, there hasn’t been any information I can give you at this moment but once we have anything for you, we will let you know.”
Responding to a question on the purported release of the abductees, the governor said, “Everything that is being said out there is rumour and in situations like this, we cannot work with rumour, it has to be confirmed. Yes, we’ve been receiving different rumours from different people within villages but we are still treating those as a rumour until processed and confirmed.”
On his meeting with Gumi, the governor said the state was ready to engage any actor who was willing to assist with the rescue of the abducted persons. Bello said, who noted that the state was exploring kinetic and non-kinetic means to secure the release of the abductees, added that he was waiting to receive a “comprehensive” report of the “findings” of Gumi.