More than 40 days after their abduction, the mother of one of the 80 students of Bethel Baptist College in Kaduna has been diagnosed with a swollen heart, a source told Sunday PUNCH.
The parents were also said to be speaking with the bandits who reportedly insisted on collecting the N80m ransom.
In an interview with our correspondent on Saturday, the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna State and its Vice Chairman (19 Northern states and Abuja), Joseph Hayab, pleaded with Nigerians to assist as the parents could not raise the N80m alone.
He said, “If Nigerians have forgotten our 80 children, those who have forgotten them are not fair to us. We don’t expect the government to forget our children; we don’t expect the military and the Federal Ministry of Education to forget our children.
“We as their parents and the church and Christians in Kaduna State have not forgotten them. We know that well-meaning Nigerians are with us in prayers. Anybody who thinks they have been forgotten, we will continue to remind them that our children are not back, our 80 children are still in captivity.
“This (Saturday) evening, one of the parents whose children are in captivity sent me words; how she has been diagnosed with a swollen heart. I told her that God will not allow her to die until her daughter comes back. I know it is the pain of what is going on that is causing all these new sickness, pains and problems because of her daughter being held in captivity.”
Hayab said the association was praying and working hard to ensure the students are ferred, stating that negotiation with the bandits was ongoing but impeded by funds.
He added, “We are communicating with the bandits, the bandits are actually talking. The only problem is that they are not coming down as we expect. They have been standing on their N80m for too long and the reality is that to raise N80m is difficult.
“We have had cases where some people will say, ‘how can I help you?’ When they hear the N80m ransom, they become weak. We are not even asking anybody to give us the entire amount, but we need money since government cannot assist and we don’t have.
“If our government cannot go and rescue them, we need money to pay and get these children back. We believe that if we raise money, they will release these children. If anybody is moved to help us, we are here.”
The bandits had on July 5, 2021, stormed the school located along the Kaduna-Kachia highway in the Chikun Local Government Area and whisked the students.
The proprietor, who is also the President, Kaduna Baptist Conference, Rev. Ishaya Jangado, disclosed that no fewer than 121 students were abducted by the bandits.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Police Command has confirmed eight farmers were killed when bandits invaded Buruku and Udawa villages in Chikun Local Government Area.
Police spokesman in the state, ASP Mohammed Jalige, who confirmed the killings did not give details of the attack or give specific numbers of the casualties.
Jalige, however, said that the incident took place on Friday.
But a source who craved anonymity told our correspondents on Saturday that the bandits in large numbers invaded the two communities, shooting indiscriminately at anything at sight.
“The bandits actually attacked the farmers while on their farms. The farmers were killed in separate attacks,” he said.The source said five of the farmers were killed at Buruku along the dreaded Birinin Gwari – Kaduna highway, three of the farmers were killed by bandits at Udawa village