Rev Israel Akanji, President, Nigerian Baptist Convention
Thursday, 8th July 2021: Bandits, who abducted 121 students of the Bethel Baptist High School, Maraban Rido, Kaduna State on Wednesday, reiterated their demand for rice and other foodstuffs to feed the abductees.
A top official of the school, who is involved in the negotiation with the bandits, confided in CEOAFRICA that the hoodlums called again on Wednesday and stated that they had run out of food.
According to our sources, the details of the food items required by the bandits included: 30 bags of rice, 20 bags of beans, 15 jerricans of palm oil, 20 cartoons of magi and 10 bags of salt.
Our sources added that the bandits said with these items, they would be able to take care of the food needs of the abducted students while negotiation for ransom begins after.
Recall we reported on Wednesday that the bandits had contacted the school management and confirmed that they were holding 121 students of the school.
According to the official, the bandits said the students would be starved as they had no food to feed the 121 abductees in their custody.
Recall that bandits in the early hours of Monday invaded the Bethel Baptist High School, Maraban Rido along Kaduna-Kachia road and abducted 121 students.
On Tuesday, the Proprietor of the school and President of the Kaduna State Baptist Conference, Rev. Ishaya Jangado, told journalists that the bandits had contacted the school management and confirmed that they were holding 121 students.
On Wednesday, the top official of the school, who spoke to CEOAFRICA said during the latest call (on Wednesday), they did not make any monetary demand.
According to him, they, however, said the food they demanded must be supplied by the school management if they (the management) didn’t want the students to be starved.
The source stated, “They have yet to ask for any ransom, but they reiterated their demand for rice, beans, oil and other foodstuffs. They insisted that the foodstuffs must be supplied before any negotiation would start. They also said they had run out of food to feed the 121 students and that the abductees would not be fed if the items were not provided.”
We are against payment of ransom for Kaduna abducted students – Akanji
Meanwhile, the President, Nigerian Baptist Convention, (NBC), Rev. Israel Akanji, on Wednesday said the church would not encourage payment of ransom for the abducted students of Bethel Baptist School, Kaduna.
Akanji, who said the church was working with the Kaduna State Government to ensure safe release of the students, said Governor Nasir el Rufai had assured that all necessary steps and arrangements would be done secure their release.
The cleric also said the church was talking with the parents of the abducted students to reassure them that they would be released, adding that prayers were also being offered for the release of the students.
Describing as criminal, the action of the abductors, Akanji said the church would not support payment of ransom and expressed hope that the victims would be released with no ransom paid.
He said, “As a church, we don’t take the position of payment of ransom for innocent children carried away from their school. We don’t think it is the right thing to do and we will not encourage that at all.
“We are not for ransom. We are for the release of these children because it is criminal for people to take away other people from their freedom and take them into incarceration and begin to make demand. As a church, we don’t encourage that, we will not want to do that.
“As a denomination, we are to pray to God for His intervention. So, we mounted up prayers. We also got in touch with the Kaduna State Government. We are able to speak with a number of top officials. Finally, I got to speak with the Executive Governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir el Rufai.
“He assured us that he was already working. He told me that Nigeria Army, the Air Force and other security agents are already collaborating and ensure that everything possible was done so that the children will be released.”