Parents of dozens of students kidnapped from a local college in north-west Nigeria gathered to protest on Tuesday in the country’s capital, demanding that the government take action and rescue their children.
In March 2021, gunmen attacked the Federal College of F orestry Mechanization ‘Afaka’ in Kaduna state and abducted 39 students. At least 29 of the students are still in captivity.
One mother, Catherine Kwuale (56), spoke of the pain she had experienced since the kidnapping of her child;
“In the night one cannot sleep. If you want to sleep you will be thinking of the condition of your child. Is that child still alive? Is that child dead? What is that child eating?” Kwuale said.
During the demonstration the protestors marched through the city, chanting and giving speeches. Some held placards reading “Afaka Lives Matter,” while others sang “Kaduna must be free.”
Bala Yabani Mohammed, Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly, attended the demonstration and spoke with some of the parents.
“I assure you that we empathise with you. All of us have children and therefore we feel your pain. And I believe that all Nigerians of good morals must feel the pain of our children in captivity,” he said.
In April 2021, in a different assault, dozens of university students were abducted in the same state. Some of them were reported to have been killed.
Since December 2020, hundreds of students have been kidnapped in different incidents from different regions of Nigeria, most of them were later released.
The Islamic extremist group Boko Haram is also known to kidnap young women and force them into marriage, most notably in the 2014 attack on the Chibok secondary school in Borno state. That mass abduction sparked an international outcry and prompted the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Of the 276 girls taken, more than 100 are still missing nearly seven years later.