Amidst growing apprehension and fear, families of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members hailing from Akwa Ibom State are grappling with the anxiety of an expiring ransom deadline set by the kidnappers of their children. The NYSC members were abducted in Zamfara State by unidentified gunmen about two weeks ago while they were travelling to the Orientation Camp in Sokoto State. Compounding their hardship, the Akwa Ibom State Government has yet to address the situation, leaving the victims’ families in a state of despair.
In a conversation with the MiddlebeltTimes, family members of eight still captive victims revealed that they had been contacted by the kidnappers with a demand for an outstanding balance of N8 million as ransom, in addition to the N5 million already paid. They were warned to comply with the deadline, set for today, or brace themselves for the worst.
One of the victims’ relatives, who chose to remain anonymous, shared with the MiddlebeltTimes the harrowing ordeal of their loved ones. “The young man departed from Akwa Ibom with other corps members on August 16, 2023, and was kidnapped the following night en route to Sokoto,” he narrated. “They initially demanded a ransom of N4 million from each of the eight NYSC members and the AKTC driver, totalling nine victims. The news devastated the mother of the boy, a poor widow and petty trader, who couldn’t afford such a large sum.”
He added, “On the subsequent day, the kidnappers contacted us again, suggesting that the families of all victims collectively raise N10 million. So far, we have managed to send them N5 million. However, they later demanded additional funds for three power bikes, each priced over N1 million. They gave us until Wednesday, September 6, to pay the remaining balance, including the cost of the power bikes, which totals N8 million. They have threatened terrible consequences if we fail to meet the deadline.”
The source highlighted the fact that, despite the families’ pleas for aid at the state House of Assembly, the government has yet to intervene to secure the victims’ release.
Another relative of the kidnapped victims, known only as Mfon, voiced his distress over the looming deadline. “We have been restless, seeking help from anyone who would listen, trying to raise the money,” he stated. “Just this morning, our village head and his wife donated N300,000 to help us. We are still short of N700,000 to reach N1 million, as each family is expected to contribute N1 million to raise the outstanding N8 million ransom.”