CAN Accuses Government of Abandoning 31 Abducted Baptist Students

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The Chairman of Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Joseph Hayab, has accused the government for allegedly abandoning the remaining 31 abducted students of the Baptist High School, Damishi, Kaduna.

In a statement on Sunday, Hayab said the silence of government over the 31 students still being held in captivity by bandits was condemnable.

On July 5, 2021, bandits invaded the school located about six kilometres away from theKaduna metropolis and abducted 121 students.

Some of the students were released by the bandits in batches while others escaped from captivity.

So far, a total of 90 of the students had been released after a ransom, totalling over N200m was reportedly paid to the bandits by the parents.

Hayap said when schools were closed down by the Kaduna State government to pave the way for military operations against the criminals, hopes were high that the students would be rescued.

He noted that the state government had announced that schools should resume on Monday without bringing back the students, who have been in captivity for 67 days.

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Hayab said, “The silence about the 31 Baptist High School children still in the hands of their captors is bad and condemnable. These children were taken away from their school on 5th July 2021. It is 67 days today and our leaders are silent as if all is well when truly all is not well.

“How can it be well when parents of these 31 children have not known sleep for these 67 days? Any caring leader will also not sleep. These children should be released or rescued without delay.

“Kaduna State government closed down schools for over a month, claiming that the military will go after bandits and have again asked all schools to reopen without bringing back our children.

“What happened with the military exercise that led to the closure of schools? Was it just another drama to divert the attention of parents and those sympathising with the parents from the real situation?”

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He, however, said, “The church in Kaduna state will never keep quiet till all our children and everyone in captivity is released and return home”.

CAN has also provided a facility at its secretariat in Kaduna to be used as temporary classrooms for the students of Baptist High School to enable them continue with their studies pending when the management of the school put up a security architecture to protect the school.

Efforts to get the reaction of the commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, was unsuccessful as he did not respond to a text message sent to his mobile phone.

Meanwhile, parents of the remaining 31 students on Sunday held a special prayer session for the release of their children.

Journalists were however bared from covering the prayer session which held on the school premises.

A man, who identified himself as a “security personnel,” said he was directed by the authorities of the Baptist Conference in Kaduna not to allow journalists to cover the event or speak to any of the parents.

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“The parents are in pains, so, I have been directed not to allow the media to cover this event. We also don’t want any media person to talk to parents,” he said.

The prayer session, which was attended by parents, relations and sympathisers, was presided over by the president of the Kaduna Baptist Conference, Rev. Ishaya Jangado.

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