By Godwin Isenyo
The Christian Association of Nigeria, Kaduna State chapter, on Wednesday said it paid N250m for the release of 121 abducted students of the Bethel Baptist High School in the state.
The PUNCH reports that bandits had on Monday, July 2, 2021, stormed the school owned by the Nigeria Baptist Convention in Damishi, Kaduna and abducted 121 students.
However, NBC last week confirmed the release of the last victim, Treasure Ayuba, who was abducted on July 5, 2021.
The NBC President, Dr Israel Akanji, had said: “Glory be to God! Glory be to God!! Glory be to God!!! Treasure Ayuba, the last boy who was still with the bandits who kidnapped the 121 students of Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna, on July 5, 2021, has just returned home today, November 2, 2023.”
Speaking, the CAN chairman in the state, Rev. John Hayab, while leading Ayuba’s parents on a courtesy visit to Governor Uba Sani at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House, Kaduna, the state capital, noted that the bandits took several measures to prevent his release.
He said, “A total sum of N250 million was paid as ransom to rescue the 121 students. Today, we gather here with a mix of feelings of relief, joy, and gratitude. We are here to welcome back Treasure Ayuba, the last of the kidnapped students of Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna, matched out while in their sleep in the school hostel and kidnapped on the night of July 5, 2021 by bandits.
“To the knowledge of CAN, over N250m was paid as ransom to get the 121 kidnapped children out from their captors, but for Treasure, his story became a heart-breaking one, further made worse by distorting the truth that the boy did not want to leave the den of the kidnappers.
“For the avoidance of doubts, CAN is aware of the firm efforts made by the boy’s family, relations, and well-wishers to get him back home. To add salt to injury, on more than one occasion, the kidnappers abducted the persons sent with the ransom to get Treasure out of their hands making his stay become an infinite time of agonising pain until God intervened.
“Accordingly, on Thursday, November 2, 2023, I received a call from Treasure’s parents that the boy returned home safely after being in the hands of his captors for 28 months.
“Treasure’s miraculous return is a moment of triumph, not just for Treasure and his family, Bethel Baptist High School Kaduna, the Baptist family, Kaduna State, and Nigeria, but for all humanity in general.
“Treasure’s abduction, along with his fellow schoolchildren remains a painful reminder of the challenges we face as a nation. The kidnapping of school children and students from a school facility is a stark harsh reality of the threats to our educational institutions and the safety of our young ones.”