Three of the four missing staff of the University of Maiduguri, Unimaid, who were abducted after Boko Haram ambushed them and killed five of their colleagues have appeared in a video released by the insurgents.
In the video, they were shown calling on the government of Nigeria to negotiate their release.
The geologists and their aides were attacked while carry out an oil exploration research that was subcontracted to the university by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
The 4 minutes 30 second grainy footage featured the three staff of Unimaid sitting in a room in which the walls were covered with purple clothing designed with roses.
The three abductees took turn to personally introduce themselves as Yusuf Ibrahim, a lecturer, Geology department, University of Maiduguri; Haruna…a driver from the University of Maiduguri; and Dr. Solomon a lecturer from the University of Maiduguri.
Mr. Solomon who sat in the middle spoke briefly in Hausa before switching to English.
He confirmed that they were abducted on July 25 by Boko Haram fighters whom he carefully referred to as “soldiers of Khalifa Albarnawi”, when they were carrying out geological survey services for the NNPC on behalf of the University of Maiduguri.
Mr. Albarnawi is the leader of a faction of Boko Haram, which broke out from the faction headed by Abubakar Shekau.
Mr. Solomon said the Nigeria government and all other relevant authorities linked with the service they were providing before they were abducted should comply with the demands of their abductors and ensure they are released alive.
He did not mention any specific condition; but warned that the use of excessive force to rescue them should not be an option the government of Nigeria should consider.
His message reads in full:-
“We are recording this video on the 28 of July 2017. I want to reemphasise that we were caught on the 25th of July 2017
I want to call on the entire community of University of Maiduguri, I also want to call on our coordinator of the project, Professor Saidu Baba, and Professor Adamu Zubama, I want to call on the leadership of ASUU under the leadership of Dani Mamman; I want to call on the Vice Chancellor University of Maiduguri, Professor Ibrahim Njodi; I want to call on the state governor, His Excellency Kashim Shettima, I want to call on the NNPC, for which this group is doing a collaborative work with the University of Maiduguri, under exploration; I want to call on the leadership of the NNPC to join in this rescue, Iwant to call on the entire media community to support this our cry so that we will be rescued alive.
“I want to call on the acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo to come to our rescue to meet the demand of soldiers of Khalifa under the leadership of Abu-Musab Al-Barnawi. They have promised us that if their demands are met, they will release us immediately to go back to the work we were caught doing. I want to call on the attention of the entire country that we were captured doing the work of exploration of acquiring gravity, magnetic and soil geo-chemistry for exploration in the Nigeria sector of the Chad basin which would boost the economy of the nation.
“We were caught while in the line of our service to the country, I want to call the attention of the acting president that we have seen the route we took up to this position where we are recording this video right now. I want to advise that the use of excessive force is not the solution and will not be the solution. We want to call on the federal government to meet this demand as they promised they will release us immediately. We call on Nigerians to support our cry to be rescued alive”.
The video was released in the same way the Shekau faction did when they also released the video of abducted women that were captured after the ambush of a convoy of travellers along Maiduguri-Biu road on June 21.
Mr. Shekau released a video of the abducted women on July 17 where they were shown crying and calling on the federal government to negotiate their rescue.
It is not certain if the government has commenced any negotiations to rescue the women.
The Nigeria Army had earlier claimed it had rescued all the NNPC geologists after a rescue mission, a claim later faulted by the lecturers union, ASUU, and the university’s vice chancellor; as well as the new video.