In a heart-wrenching incident that has sent shockwaves through Akwa Ibom State, eleven Prospective Corp Members (PCMs) from local tertiary institutions embarked on a journey of hope, only to face a nightmare of despair. These young students, most of them Akwa Ibomites, were en route to Zamfara State when they encountered kidnappers on the perilous Sokoto axis of their route.
Tragedy struck as three of the PCMs narrowly escaped capture, while one brave soul was wounded while attempting to flee from their captors. Presently, eight victims remain in the merciless custody of the kidnappers.
What makes this ordeal all the more heart-wrenching is the dire financial situation of the victims’ families. Initially, the kidnappers demanded an exorbitant four million naira per person for their release, a sum beyond the means of the struggling parents during these challenging economic times. Desperation led to a compromise, with parents contributing a painstakingly gathered five million naira for the release of all eight victims.
However, their hopes were dashed when the kidnappers, in an act of sheer cruelty, only released the injured victim. To add insult to injury, they demanded an additional five million naira and three power bikes for the remaining students’ freedom.
The parents of these captive students find themselves in a harrowing and helpless situation, their only solace being their faith in the State Government and their determination to see their children safely returned. The Akwa Ibom State Government, while unable to directly negotiate with kidnappers, must explore every avenue to ensure the safety of these young lives.
In the midst of this tragedy, a glaring question arises: why has AKTC, a transport company bearing the insignia of the Akwa Ibom State government, shown minimal effort in resolving this crisis? Is it because their own children are not directly affected, or do they believe it doesn’t impact their business? AKTC has long faced criticism for recklessness and neglect in passenger safety and comfort, leading some to question their corporate conscience.
This crisis should serve as a wake-up call to us all, highlighting where our priorities lie as a society. It is imperative that we rally together, raising our voices and drawing attention to this grave issue. These students deserve our unwavering support, and it is not only the government but also individuals, companies, and businesses who must extend a helping hand.