October 4, 2022

Negotiation with kidnappers of the Abuja-Kaduna train passengers may soon lead to the release of the victims, if the Federal Government agrees to free eight children of the bandits currently detained in a government’s facility.

Also, part of the negotiation with the group interfacing with the terrorists is that the government should consider releasing the commanders and other bandits’ kingpins.

The train victims have spent over 62 days in captivity since the incident. Renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, said there’s hope of the victims breathing the air of freedom soon, if the Federal Government accepts the demand of the terrorists.

Gumi’s spokesman, Tukur Mamu, said government agents’ negotiation with the terrorists started prior to his involvement, adding that he had been able to secure the assurances the bandits that would lead to the release of the victims in their custody.

He said: “I think it is important for the public to understand that there was initial discussion with agents of government that they should release their children as a precondition for any engagement that will lead to the release of the victims.

“They accepted that if they would have assurances, first, that their kids are alive and that they would be released, they would consider something in return. So, I went out of my way, first, to locate those children. I am happy to tell Nigerians that they are alive.”

Mamu argued that the terrorists had withdrawn the death threat on the victims, adding that the government should immediately embark on meeting the demand of the bandits to save those in their custody.

Said he: “My take is that if the government releases the teenagers to secure the victims of train passengers, it is an excellent bargain for the families of the victims and the government.

“Thereafter, we will negotiate on prisoners’ exchange; that is the release of other victims, because they said they have their comrades that have been in detention.”

However, Mamu has blamed the Federal Government for spending so much on top military leaders in the country without checks.

According to him, the top brass in the military have been made billionaires through security votes, without corresponding results.

“Some of the service chiefs, who are supposed to be probed over security spending without results, end up as ambassadors. So, with this attitude of government, how do we expect the security challenges to end?”

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