The Federal Government has expressed concern about the 299 students who are still being held by bandits months after their abduction.
The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, in an interview with one of our correspondents on Wednesday, described the invasion of schools and kidnapping of students as serious matters, adding that the Federal Government was being cautious in its moves to rescue the students.
Nwajiuba stated this as The HEADLINENEWS learnt that parents of 80 students of Bethel Baptist High School, Maraban Damishi, Kaduna State, who were still in bandits’ den, contributed N300,000 each on Friday for the hoodlums.
It was gathered that the bandits promised to release the students this week after collecting the money.
Recall that bandits on July 5 invaded the school and abducted more than 100 students.
On July 25, when 28 of the students were released, the president of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev Israel Akanji, said 87 of them were still in captivity.
Giving an update in an interview with The HEADLINENEWS on Wednesday, the Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria said 80 of the students were still being held by the bandits.
Besides the Bethel Baptist schoolchildren, no fewer than 83 students of the Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State, who were abducted from their school 56 days ago, are still in bandits’ den.
Also, about 136 pupils, who were abducted from an Islamic school at Tegina, Niger State in May, spent 71 days in bandits’ den on Wednesday.
Expressing concern about the situation, the Minister of State for Education, Nwajiuba, told The HEADLINENEWS that government was working with security agencies to rescue the abducted students.
We can’t go to bandits’ camps and bomb them with students – Minister
The minister stated, “It is a security issue. You know that the Chibok girls have been held for over seven years. Kidnapping of students is a very serious matter. The government cannot unilaterally go there and start bombing everybody.
“We don’t want to lose the children. If we have gone ahead and started bombing many people, you may not even have seen some of the Chibok girls back. They would have been killed.
“The government is first of all responsible to its citizens. The fact that they are held by bandits requires more caution.”
On his part, the Vice President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (19 Northern States and Abuja) and Kaduna State chairman, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, told The HEADLINENEWS that 80 students of the Bethel Baptist school were still being held by bandits.