By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
Thirty days after the abduction of passengers on the Abuja-Kaduna-bound train, relatives and friends of the victims said they are still traumatised by the incident.
They stated that the government had yet to reach out to them one month after the incident, noting that life has not been the same without their loved ones.
In an interview with The PUNCH in Kaduna, on Wednesday, Dr. Abdulfatai Jimoh, leader of the families of the victims, said they were willing to discuss with the terrorists if that remains the only option left to see their loved ones release unhurt.
According to the chairman, the government is yet to reach out to the families, adding that they have gone for the release of the victims but the terrorists said they can only discuss with the government.
Jimoh said the families were in the dark and worried over the development, especially as the terrorists preferred to negotiate with the government.
“The situation is still the same. There is no communication from them(bandits). The last time they called, it was our relations that we spoke to. We have not spoken with them (bandits) at all.
“From what they (terrorists) said, it was the government they want to talk to so that’s why they have not called us. But assuming there is an option, we would have explored the option.
“They (terrorists) are not calling anybody and we can’t reach them. It’s only the government that can talk to them,” he said.
When asked if they will jump on the option should the terrorists reach out to them for negotiation, he said: “We would because there is nothing that we can do. We don’t have the power to force them to release our relatives.
“If that’s the only thing they want, we will discuss it with them. We understand the government is discussing with them and we want to believe that the government is talking to them. We just want the whole process to come to an end successfully and quickly.
“Just like you asked if it’s an option to negotiate with the bandits, you know, for now, it’s not an option. I mean, talking with the bandits. We don’t have that option yet but of course, if there is an option and it’s the only option that we have, we will discuss it with them.
“For now, we don’t have that option because we can’t reach them and they can’t reach us. It’s not the preferred option. If it is the option they have that can solve our problem, fine,” Jimoh stated.
He appealed to the bandits to release their loved ones unhurt as they (abductees) were innocent of what transpired between them and the government
“We plead with them to release our relatives because these are innocent people and they don’t know what the terrorists want from the government. We don’t even know what’s happening between them. So, we are pleading with them to release our relatives. That’s just what we can say.
“Our relatives are in captivity for 30 days today. So, you can imagine the condition they are in. They said it’s the government they want to talk to,” Jimoh added.