University of Uyo students in Akwa Ibom State have raised concerns following a series of abductions targeting prospective corps members from the state. The incidents, occurring in rapid succession, have left residents alarmed.
Within a three-month span (August to November), a total of nineteen intending corps members were abducted while en route to Zamfara and Kogi States through the Akwa Ibom State-owned transport company, AKTC.
The string of abductions began on August 19, 2023, when eight corps members were kidnapped on a highway in Zamfara State, en route to the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation Camp in Sokoto. Despite assurances from the NYSC, one person was rescued a month later, while the fate of the others remains uncertain.
Parents of the victims have expressed frustration over what they perceive as government abandonment and negligence. Attempts to secure their children’s release involved selling properties to raise a ransom of N13 million. However, the kidnappers not only accepted the ransom but also demanded an additional N100 million.
In a subsequent incident in early November 2023, another 11 corps members were abducted while boarding the AKTC to the NYSC Orientation camp in Kogi State. While it is unclear if all 11 have been rescued, reports suggest that many were released through the efforts of their families, who paid substantial sums.
A distressed parent shared, “Nigeria is a lost country. Just pray that nothing of this nature happens to you because our government does not care about us.” He recounted the traumatic experience and the urgent need to secure his daughter’s release.
In response to these incidents, the National Association of Akwa Ibom State Students, University of Uyo, has called on the Federal Government, Akwa Ibom State government, security agencies, National Assembly, and NYSC Directors to address the escalating challenge. They urged the authorities to employ strategic mechanisms to rescue their colleagues and ensure their safe return.
Expressing apprehension, some fresh graduates awaiting NYSC mobilization voiced concerns about being posted to the North. One graduate referred to corps members as “endangered species” in the North, emphasizing the risks associated with traveling by land. The students urged the federal government to urgently address the matter before the next posting, given the recent abductions of 19 prospective corps members in the last two batches.