JUST IN: Four remaining as 6 more abducted Kogi university students regain freedom

The Kogi State Government has announced the rescue of six more kidnapped students of the Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH), Osara, Kogi.

The state’s Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, in a statement on Tuesday, said the fresh number of rescued students brought the number of freed students rescued to 20.

“Our data shows that there are four students yet to be found,” he added.

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He some of the kidnappers escaped with severe injuries during a gun duel with security agents.

“Nine students had been rescued first while five others were found the following morning. The families of the six students just rescued have confirmed that the students have arrived home,” he said.

Last Thursday, gunmen stormed the university at night and kidnapped some students studying for their upcoming exams.

The state government subsequently said rescue operations by security agents commenced immediately.

In another development, Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, has approached the court of law to stop the Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Abdulmalik Sarkin-Daji, from marrying 100 girls.

The minister, speaking to journalists in Abuja on Monday, said she has also petitioned the Inspector-General of Police over Sarkin-Daji’s plan.

She said a thorough investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding the issue slated for May 24.

The Niger lawmaker disclosed last week that he would sponsor the wedding of 100 girls, some of whom were orphaned by insurgency, as part of his Maringa constituency project.

He said he had acquired materials for the event scheduled for May 24, and promised to pay dowries for the bridegrooms.

Following the criticisms that greeted the announcement, the speaker clarified that he was only funding the wedding — not forcing the girls into marriage.

However, Kennedy-Ohanenye said the plan is unacceptable, and that the future of the girls should be a priority.

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She said the ministry will take responsibility for the girls’ education and vocational training.

“I want to let the honorable Speaker of the House in Niger state know that this is totally unacceptable by the Federal Minister of Women Affairs and by the government,” Kennedy-Ohanenye said.

“Because there is something called the Child’s Right Act and I said it from the onset, that is no more business as usual.

“These children must be considered, their future must be considered, the future of the children to come out of their marriage must be considered.

“So I have gone to court. I have written him a letter and written a petition to the IG of police.

“And I have filed for injunction to stop him from whatever he is planning to do on the 24th, until a thorough investigation is carried out on those girls, find out whether they gave their consent, their ages, find out the people marrying them.

“As the speaker did not think about empowering these women or sending them to school or giving them some kind of training support financially. The Women Affairs have decided to take it up and we are going to educate the children.

“Those that do not want to go to school, we will train them in a skill, empower them with sustainable empowerment machines to enable that child build his or her life and make up her mind who and when to get married.

“If for any reason the speaker tries to do contrary to what I have just mentioned, there will be a serious legal battle between him and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.”

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