The families of the remaining 50 abducted passengers of the AK-9 Abuja-Kaduna bound train have renewed calls to the Federal Government to secure the safe release of the victims.
This is as the negotiator and media consultant to controversial Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, Tukur Mamu, on Monday, alerted that the victims are being threatened by snake bites, and sicknesses.
The PUNCH reported that the bandits had penultimate Saturday, released 11 persons out of the 61 abducted train passengers.
Mamu urged the Federal Government to hasten the release of the remaining 50 passengers before it is too late.
He announced his withdrawal from the negotiation team for “for personal reasons.”
According to him, the health status of the remaining hostages is fast deteriorating owing to the fact that they are being exposed to dangerous conditions.
He said, “This is not the time to politicise issues. The lives of very promising, innocent Nigerians are involved. Their health is deteriorating by the day. Even animals without proper care will hardly survive in the environment they are forced to leave for nearly three months now.
“I believe the government is aware and has taken note of the testimony of the 11 victims that were secured. It makes me sad when issues like this should not be treated with the seriousness and speed it requires.
“The government must activate all avenues of diplomacy. It must be at the top of its priority now. We must not be distracted by prioritising 2023 as I am sadly seeing now, while there are visible and glaring threats of losing the remaining victims.
“There has been no major pronouncement lately by all the major political gladiators. All the major political parties have expectedly kept mute. Is it because none of them or their family members are involved?”
Mamu, who is also the publisher of a Kaduna-based newspaper, Desert Herald, said, in the current edition of the newspaper, that apart from the lack of diagnosis and treatment coupled with poor nutrition, poor sanitary condition, the hostages were being exposed to “unbearable forest life, most of the innocent hostages have lately developed series of life-threatening complications, with some vomiting blood.”
He disclosed that the condition of the hostages’ underlying illnesses was fast deteriorating; urging the Federal Government to act fast.
Mamu said, “I can confirm to you that there are many snakes in that forest. Some of them are victims of snake bites as they appear frequently in the night. They only depend on local solutions to treat it.
“The bites as we know can be life-threatening. The government is the only authority with the means and powers to end this crisis as soon as possible. And with the right approach, I can assure you it can be achieved within days or weeks. We have proven that in the release of the 11 victims.
“I keep repeating that when one, by circumstance, is left at the receiving end of every bargain, particularly a bargain that will secure the lives of innocent people from dreaded killers, the government must be prepared to make compromises and take painful decisions.
‘If we can tolerate corrupt officials that are stealing billions every day as a result of which poverty and insecurity increases, for me it is not out of place to use negligible part of such stolen resources to secure such victims whenever the need arises. And if for any reason the government did not act promptly, since it has been alerted, they must be prepared to take full responsibility.”
The leader of the victims’ families, under the umbrella of relatives of AK9 Abuja-Kaduna Train Kidnapped Passengers, Baaba Mohammed, described the news as disturbing, urging the Federal Government to hasten its efforts at rescuing the remaining victims.
He said, “We are pleading with the government not to relent in its efforts. We have just 11 persons that have been released and the information we are getting on those still in captivity is disturbing.
“We can only plead with the government to hasten the process of rescuing the remaining people. The situation is overwhelming for all of us and we want them to do whatever they can do as quickly as possible.”