The kidnappers of nine students of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna state, have reportedly demanded N270 million ransom for their release.
They were abducted during an attack on motorists along Kaduna-Abuja road on Sunday.
The students, from the department of French, were travelling to Lagos for a programme at the Nigerian French Language Village (NFLV) in Badagry.
According to Daily Trust, Dickson Oko, one of the students who escaped but suffered a gunshot wound, said the kidnappers had already reached out to the families of the students to demand N30 million each for their freedom.
Oko and Nuruddeen Mohammed, a driver, said 12 students — 10 females and two males — were on his bus but nine students were abducted. The ABU management had confirmed the abduction of eight students.
The student said he ran away from the bus leaving all his belongings behind.
Corroborating Oko’s claim, the newspaper said a female relative of one of the abducted students told Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service that the kidnappers have demanded N30 million ransom.
But Mohammed said he somehow evaded the kidnappers and returned to Kaduna with three students under the blaze of heavy gunfire.
“Immediately they came on the road, the armed men opened fire. They shot two of the students in the bus and we noticed that they had erected a roadblock behind us and another in front,” the driver was quoted as saying.
“There was another roadblock mounted on the other lane. So the only thing I could do was to stop.
“I opened the door and crawled into the grass. The gunshots were everywhere; the person on the passenger’s seat in front also came down even though he was shot.
“I crossed onto the other lane. I never knew I would survive because there were gunshots directed at me.
“I can’t say how many people were killed but what scared me was how they opened fire at the Gulf car even though it had stopped and there were people in it.
“But the bandits opened fire and kept shooting. That was when I decided that it was better they killed me while on the run than face a gruesome fate in the vehicle.”