By Ibrahim HassanWuyo
Hope was raised on the survival of Greenfield University students in captivity, as Sheikh Ahmad Gumi assured that the abductors have now softened their stand after his discussion with them.
While fielding questions from journalists after parents of the freed Afaka students paid him a thank-you visit on Thursday, Sheikh Gumi said “the role myself and former President Olusegun Obasanjo played in the release of the 27 Afaka students is the role of mediators, because the fight is not between us and them, but between the bandits and the government.”
“What we understand is that these people are trying to attack the government by attacking the government institutions and take innocent children. Having understood that, we came to the conclusion that, this is not a hopeless situation, we can really go in and negotiate for the release of this child, which we did after so many ups and downs. But in the long run, a conclusion was reached and these children are out.”
“So, we are happy that, all of them are out and none was killed. ”
“The talk with the Greenfield University students’ abductors is also going on because we are. You know they threatened to kill all of them after a particular deadline, but after talking to them, they are now lowering their bar.”
“So, we are thankful they have stopped killing. And we are still negotiating with them. I hope this Afaka case will also encourage us to know that there is hope in negotiation and release of the children .”
On the reported swap of a bandit for the students, Sheikh Gumi said,
“I cannot confirm that, but I can quote the Governor of Kaduna state when the children of Chibok were kidnapped by Boko Haram, he said it is the duty of the government to use whatever means possible to save the lives of Chibok girls. This is a general rule that life is more precious. Now, I am happy that 27 lives have been saved.”
Parents released Afaka students paid a thank-you visit to Sheikh Ahmad Gumi for his role in securing the release of their children.
They were led by their Chairman and Secretary, Usman Abdullahi and Friday Sanni.
They thanked and begged him to help convey their appreciation to former President Olusegun Obasanjo who worked alongside the sheikh in the struggle to bring back their children alive.