Prospective corps member, driver kidnapped in 2023 freed in Zamfara

THE National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has confirmed the release of one of the prospective corps members kidnapped more than four months ago in Zamfara state.

A statement by the NYSC director of press and public relations, Eddy Megwa, on Monday, February 5, stated that the bus driver held hostage with the intending NYSC member was also released following a joint effort with the military. 

According to him, the release brought the number of prospective corps members already released to five.

He said efforts were on to ensure the safe release of the remaining three corps members, one female and two males, from the kidnappers. 

The ICIR reported that 11 prospective corps members from Akwa Ibom state were kidnapped on August 17 while travelling to the NYSC camp in Zamfara state. 

They were abducted while travelling in an Akwa Ibom Transport Company (AKTC) bus from Uyo and Akwa Ibom states to carry out the mandatory one-year national service.

Megwa said out of the eleven abducted, three escaped shortly after they were held, leaving eight and the driver, who was taken into the bush.

He added that one person was rescued on September 1, another regained freedom on October 20, and two were rescued on Thursday, December 7.

He said four others were still awaiting rescue.

“Yesterday, we were all excited to hear that two of our prospective corps members, who were kidnapped in the Zamfara saga, were rescued by the military.

“It’s a thing to be happy; it’s hope for all of us and the family. Even the remaining four—two girls and two boys—will still be rescued very soon.

“It’s been worrisome for us in the scheme over this number of months that these young ones that are coming up to serve their fatherland were kidnapped,” Megwa stated.

Megwa, while reiterating the NYSC’s commitment to securing the safe release of the remaining three hostages whom the kidnappers still held, expressed the service’ Director-Gneral’s gratitude to the security operatives.

He further emphasized the ongoing collaboration between the NYSC and security agencies in addressing the challenges corps members face nationwide.

    Nigeria has faced insecurity challenges in the last decade, from insurgent attacks, banditry, inter-ethnic or communal crises, and separatist agitations.

    However, kidnapping in Nigeria has become an industry where abductors demand money from families and guardians before releasing abductees.

    This is most prominent in the northern region of the country, which has recorded a plethora of cases of school children and other kidnappings like in Chibok, Jangebe and Dapchi in the last decade.

    According to the SBM report, between June 2022 and July 2023, 3,620 people were abducted in 582 kidnap-related incidents in Nigeria. 

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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