The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna State, Reverend John Joseph Hayab, has disclosed that a ransom of N250 million had to be paid to the bandits before they released the 121 students from Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna, who were kidnapped in July 2021.
Reverend Joseph Hayab, who led the parents and family of Treasure Ayuba, the last Bethel student who managed to escape from captivity about a week ago, paid a courtesy visit to Governor Uba Sani. He emphasized the importance of clarifying the misinformation circulating that it was the student’s choice to remain with the bandits, stating, “There was nothing to suggest that the boy would make such a decision.”
According to Hayab, the bandits employed several tactics to prevent Treasure from being released, even going as far as twice kidnapping those who were tasked with delivering the ransom money.
Hayab explained, “A total of N250 million was paid as ransom to secure the release of the 121 students. Today, we gather here with mixed emotions, feeling relief, joy, and gratitude. We are here to welcome back Treasure Ayuba, the last of the kidnapped students from Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna. They were taken from their sleep in the school hostel and abducted on the night of July 5, 2021, by bandits.”
He further stated, “To the best of CAN’s knowledge, over N250 million was paid as ransom to secure the release of the 121 abducted children. However, Treasure’s story took a heartbreaking turn, worsened by the distortion of the truth that he did not want to leave the kidnappers’ den.”
Hayab added, “For the sake of clarity, CAN is aware of the determined efforts made by Treasure’s family, relatives, and well-wishers to bring him back home. To make matters worse, the kidnappers, on multiple occasions, seized the individuals sent with the ransom to secure Treasure’s release, extending his ordeal into an agonizing and seemingly endless period of suffering until divine intervention occurred.”
He continued, “Accordingly, on Thursday, November 2, 2023, I received a call from Treasure’s parents, informing me that the boy had safely returned home after spending 28 months in the hands of his captors. Treasure’s miraculous return is a moment of triumph, not only for him and his family but also for Bethel Baptist High School, the Baptist community, Kaduna State, Nigeria, and humanity as a whole.”
Reflecting on the broader implications of Treasure’s abduction, Hayab remarked, “Treasure’s kidnapping, along with that of his fellow schoolchildren, remains a painful reminder of the challenges our nation faces. The abduction of schoolchildren and students from educational institutions underscores the serious threats to our schools and the safety of our youth.”
He concluded by expressing a sense of urgency to address these challenges and acknowledged the resilience and determination of the people, regardless of their religious or ethnic background.
Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State, who received Treasure Ayuba, assured him of the state government’s support. He mentioned that the government is taking measures to ensure the safety of students in schools across the state, including providing psychosocial treatment to help Treasure overcome the trauma he endured during his two-year captivity.
The government also plans to enhance security in schools, including the deployment of Kaduna Vigilance Service (KADVIS) and the construction of protective fencing around school premises.
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