The National Youth Service Corps has said its Director General, Brig. Gen. Yusha’u Ahmed is working with the Nigeria Police Force, the Department of State Services, and the military brigade to secure the release of eight corps members kidnapped in Zamfara State on Saturday.
The NYSC Director, of Press and Public Relations, Eddy Megwa, made the development known on Wednesday in a telephone interview with our correspondent.
“As I speak to you, the NYSC DG is in Zamfara state, and the NYSC is currently working with the police, the military brigade, and the DSS to release the eight corps members that were kidnapped in Zamfara,” Megwa said.
The PUNCH reports that gunmen abducted eight members of the NYSC on a highway in Zamfara on Saturday. The corps members were traveling inside an AKTC bus from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, to Sokoto State, en route to Zamfara State, to take part in the mandatory national service.
A source in the transport company, who did not want his name mentioned because he was not authorised to speak, confirmed the development, adding that the corps members were 11 in number but three escaped during the attack by the gunmen.
“The corps members were offloaded (from the bus) and taken into the bush. The police have recovered the bus.
“They left here (Uyo) on Friday and slept over in Abuja. It was when they were proceeding to Sokoto that they were kidnapped,” he said.
He further noted that the incident had been reported to government authorities and security agencies, adding that the bus driver was also killed.
Meanwhile, another NYSC member, Miss Esther Akande, with Call-up No: NYSC/IFE/2023/201810 (Batch B stream 2), who was kidnapped on Wednesday, August 16, while on her way to the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, Magaji Dan Yanusa Keffi, Nasarawa State, and released on Saturday, August 19, has revealed that the sum of N1m was paid to secure her freedom from the den of her abductors.
Family sources had confirmed to The PUNCH on Saturday that the kidnappers demanded a ransom of N1m, adding that the police were nonchalant about the situation, while the NYSC urged the family to pay the ransom.
However, Miss Esther, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Wednesday, gave the full details of her abduction and subsequent release.
When asked about her release, Esther revealed, “I spent four days. From Wednesday, I was released on Saturday. The incident happened on Wednesday. They released me on Saturday after collecting money from my parents. So, they actually requested money. At first, they were requesting N300m.
Then later, it was reduced to N100m. Then, after begging, it was later reduced to N1m.
“They asked my dad to bring the money to Abaji. So, I don’t know how it happened there, because I know they delayed him; he was there since 12 and they attended to him by 9. So after they collected the money, they later released me.”
She further explained that she was taken to the NYSC camp from there and received treatment. She further added that although her aunty informed the police, she wasn’t taken into custody after her release. The police weren’t involved in the transaction process either.
However, when contacted, the NYSC Director, of Press and Public Relations, Eddy Megwa, said, “The important thing is that she’s out of their hands now, and she’s not hurt. She’s in orientation camp now with her colleagues. It took the combined efforts of security men and pleading for her to be released. We at NYSC worked with security agencies to ensure that she was released. We’re not aware that any ransom was paid.”
Also, Esther’s father, Mr Akande, who is also a pastor, denied the payment of ransom to the kidnappers, despite contrary revelations by his daughter, the victim.
Also, confirming Esther’s narration, a family source privy to the development told one of our correspondents that the victim was only released following the payment of the ransom.
“We were advised not to involve the police. It was later taken up by the school authority—the higher institution she graduated from—Adeyemi College of Education. Corps members, undergraduates, and staff members from the school helped raise over half of the N1m ransom,” the source revealed.
Reacting to the denial by the NYSC, he queried, “The question should be, is it possible for the police and other security agencies to get a victim from kidnappers and not arrest the kidnappers? The family had to travel down from here to give them the money. The kidnappers even gave an ultimatum. I don’t need to deny it, especially now that she has been released.”