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75 days after, Niger govt silent as Tegina students ‘roast’ and Commissioner is freed

75 days after, Niger govt silent as Tegina students ‘roast’ and Commissioner is freed

By Angela Okeke

Mum appears to be the word with over 100 students of the Salihu Tanko Islamic School in Tegina, Niger State, remain in kidnappers den, as a high profile victim and State Commissioner for Information, Sani Idris, has been set free four days after.

It is not clear what was paid as ransom for the freedom of the member of the state executive Council, but he said in a viral video in Hausa language that he has forgiven his kidnappers.

He was kidnapped a little after midnight on Monday morning from his country home at Baban-Tunga village in Tafa Local Government Area of the state.

He said his kidnappers told him they were aware he got N200 million monthly from the Governor, adding they told him that the layout of his residence was given to the them before his kidnap.

Idris’ freedom comes amid a viral message on the plight of the poor parents and children of the Tegina Islamiyya School.

As the story goes, the bandits holding the students asked for N50 million ransom. The community contributed N20 million and gave to bandits as first installment. Later they sold belongings to raise the balance of the 30 million.

“Even the islamiyya school was not spared. 2/3 of the school area was also (allegedly) sold out to raise the money.

“At last, 30 million was raised. The district head, the parents and the school met and delegated persons to deliver the balance ….

“The delegation took the money to the bandits in the bush. 2 hours passed by. 4 hours followed. No delegate, no children. Six hours later, the bandits’sent a message that the delegates that delivered the money were also now hostages. Reason? After counting the money, it was discovered that it was short of N2.4 million. For that shortage, they asked for eight motorbikes, the complete sum of the money, and N6 million fine.

“The parents met and decided there’s nothing else to sell.

“Way forward? The bandits can have the children forever while the parents leave their matter in the hands of God.

“Tegina: never cry of being a forgotten community, they never claimed being a highly marginalised society. They never voiced being hated. They never even talk of the government and the government never talks about them. If you don’t have media on your side, no one knows your worries.

“May God be the voice of the voiceless.”

No government official has spoken on record on the viral message. One of them simply sent a terse message to enquiries: “It’s been in circulation for about two weeks now. Not authenticated and since government is not mentioned I have no role in it.”

Another source, however, suggested that the people of Tegina may have been responsible for many of the children not returning home.
“When they learnt that the state government planned to storm the kidnappers’ den, they pleaded for a stay of execution for fear of collateral damage that may claim the lives of some of their children. You know the government has a policy of non-negotiation with bandits, so we are now stuck at this point. It is sad, very sad,” he said. (

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