By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo
The Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN ) has urged the government and security agencies to be serious in locating 61 worshippers of Emmanuel Baptist Church who. were abducted by bandits in Kaduna State, alleging that failure to free the Baptist worshippers would make CAN think there was connivance in the kidnap incident.
Rev.Joseph John Hayab, Vice President of CAN in the North, and Chairman of the Kaduna chapter, told Vanguard that ” the
worshippers must be released,if truly there is something going on.”
“Or else we would even think they are conniving with the people and making propaganda in the media that they are working. “
“Okay, what’s the result of all these punishment that Kaduna state people are going through?That the network has been shut down and no practical result to show that criminals have been arrested? They showed us some videos sometimes ago, pictures of Fulani settlement ,claiming to be the bandits settlement that has been chased..But our people are still with the bandits, somewhere here,what’s goings-on?”
“How would bandits carry 66 people, now 61 people and they’re moving and nobody seems to know where they are?Nobody is doing anything?So that government or security agencies must go out there and get our 61 worshippers of Emmanuel Baptist Church released,if truly there is something going on..Or else we would even think they are conniving with the people and making propaganda in the media that they are working.”
” This is because we cannot understand, 61 people at the time there’s no network, if 300 soldiers are put in a particular place, they would fish out these bandits and bring our people. What is happening, why the silence?Why is everybody keeping quite about our people who are in the hands of the bandits?Why is everybody keeping quite about our children who are suffering?These young children !! How can you expect these children to come tomorrow and want to serve Nigeria haven gone through this?”
He said Nigerians need to know that their students are still with these bandits.
“The Bethel Baptist High School students have not come back all ,3 are still with them now since they have released the Head boy.They aremanding from us N5 million per Head for the remaining 3.We have paid them huge sum of money but look at how they are treating us.”
“This makes us ask questions. All this shutting down of network, what has happened to it?Have we not used it to track criminals?Have we not used it that these bandits could still keep our 4 children to be demanding money from us?Because our understanding is they would’ve been able to track them.”
“So they came up with an unpopular policy that is just punishing citizens and is not bringing any succour to the people. Look at what we are back to, now. So this is the challenge we face.As I speak to you ,the bandits that took away the 66 worshippers at Emmanuel Baptist Church Kakau Daji ,a week after ,they took them on 31st of October ,and you will remember on the 6th, Sunday was 31st October, then on the 6th of November, they now picked 5 young people between the ages of 15 to 24,as if ithey were to release them, not knowing that they had an evil intention. When they came near home.,they opened fire on all of them. Two died ,one later died .So we buried 3,and the other 2 who sustained gun injuries are still been treated. But the 61 are with them in the bush and nothing has happened.”
“They asked us to give then food,we did. First they even refused the food,they later accepted it.Then they are demanding for N99 illion from us for those 61 people that are there with them in the bush. So where is the security that is working to fish out these criminals?That is the question we are asking. Where is the security that is working to fish out these criminals?They’ve done videos,the first video they were showing them and put an old man to speak and one other speaker. The second video they showed them,they even sarcastically said in the 2 videos , “let the world see these are Christians, they are Christians. They forced the people to be saying that they are angry with government, “,but we are the ones suffering the brunt. Christians and Southern Kaduna people. If I pass the video to you, you can listen to it very clearly. I am translating what was said in the video.”
“So what’s going on? Are security no more? When there was kidnapping on Abuja road few days ago, the police and others quickly went. So where have they been that this thing is happening and nothing is happening? From the 31st of October to today ,these people have spent 26 days in the hands of these bandits and no effort whatsoever. Our children have over 150 days in the hands of the bandits and no effort whatsoever.
We are paying money and there is nothing. We rejoice that our Head boy is back but we are sad because of the other 3 and we are sad because of the experience that these whole children are going through, through out this period. That’s why I said I needed to share the concern of the church with you people so that Nigerians would know that our children are not yet back. If anybody is thinking that all is well about Bethel Baptist High School children, now we still have 3.We just got…and they are demanding about 5 million again, per head. What we got to give them, which was almost N5 million, they just released one person. They are still insisting for 5 for each person.” he said.