Home News We paid bandits N250m ransom to free 121 students – CAN

We paid bandits N250m ransom to free 121 students – CAN

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The Christian Association of Nigeria has said it paid N250 million ransom to bandits before they released the 121 students of Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna, who were kidnapped in July 2021.

The State Chairman of CAN, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, made the revelation during a visit to Governor Uba Sani.

Hayab, who led the parents and family of Treasure Ayuba, the last Bethel student who escaped from captivity about a week ago, on a courtesy visit to Governor Sani, said there is the need to clear the air on the erroneous information being circulated that it was the student that opted to remain with the bandits.

He said: “There was nothing like that as the boy does not look like someone who would take such a decision.”

He said the bandits took several measures for Ayuba not to be released. including twice snatching those that took ransom money to them.

Hayab told Sani: “A total sum of N250 million was paid as ransom to rescue the 121 students.

“Today, we gather here with a mix of feelings: relief, joy, and gratitude.

“We are here to welcome back Treasure Ayuba, the last of the kidnapped students of Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna, marched out while in their sleep in the school hostel and kidnapped on the night of 5th July, 2021 by bandits.

“To the knowledge of CAN, over N250 million was paid as ransom to get the 121 kidnapped children out from their captors, but for Treasure, his story became a heartbreaking 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, 2nd November, 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.

The abduction shook us to our core, leaving us with a profound sense of urgency to bring an end to the atrocities perpetrated against the citizenry, the state, the nation at large and humanity in general.

“Today, as we stand here, welcoming Treasure back into the loving arms of his family, the church, people of goodwill and the government of Kaduna State, we are reminded of the resilience and determination that defines us as a people irrespective of religious affiliations or ethnic origin.”

Governor Uba said: “We are going to support him (Ayuba) in every way to ensure his reintegration into the society.

“I will speak with the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development to provide him with psychosocial treatment to try and erase the impact of the two years he spent with the bandits.

“We have taken steps to safeguard our schools and ensure that our schoolchildren have their education in a conducive atmosphere.

“We will set up a security committee in all schools, ensure the deployment of KADVIS (Kaduna Vigilance Service) to all our schools, secure our schools by building fences round the school among other measures.”

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