The President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev. Israel Akanji, has declared that no ransom would be paid for the release of the 121 students of the Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi, Kaduna.
The students were abducted on Monday at about 11p.m. when bandits invaded the school.
Speaking in an interview with journalists yesterday shortly after a special prayer session for the abducted students at the school premises, Akanji said the church did not believe in paying ransom to bandits.
He also said the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El- Rufai had assured him that everything would be done to ensure the return of the students.
Akanji said, “As a church we do not believe that people who are free should be taken and then we should go and pay for them.
“That is the position, we do not believe in that, we do not practice it, we have not been doing that.”
He said for the past 166 years, Baptist Church had operated secondary schools in Nigeria, and “it has never happened that our children would be taken away.”
The clergyman said, “now that they have been taken away, we have called upon God for intervention and we believe our God is sufficient.” Akanji also called on those in authority to do something about the security situation.
“We do not have security in our hands and therefore we have called on the governor of Kaduna State to ensure that these children are released and when I spoke with him, he made a promise that he will do his best.
“I am trusting that he will make good his words as a governor and as one who is in charge of the security of the state.
“That is what we are trusting God to do for us. We are looking up to God to touch the governor and use the security agencies to bring our children.
“We are not looking at paying ransom as the way for the release of the children,” Akanji said.
Speaking further, he said the federal and the Kaduna State governments may think they are doing their best to tackle the security challenges, stressing however that their best is not enough.
“I tell you the truth, the federal government and the Kaduna State, may be saying that they are doing their best, but my assessment is that their best is not enough. “Whatever their best is, it could be their best but their best is not enough,” he said.
He noted that a lot of times, the bandits overpowered the security personnel.
“Whether it is because we have inadequate weapons or that the adequate weapons are not in the hands of our security personnel at the right time, I believe that something is wrong somewhere.
“But I believe that the Nigerian army is a strong army. Nigerian army has gone to other parts of Africa and has ensured that there was peace there”, Akanji said.
He said the Nigerian army was known to be strong, having performed excellently during peace missions abroad.
Akanji said Nigerian army “are valiant men, so if they are not doing the right thing in the country, then something is going wrong and something must be done”.
Speaking earlier during the prayer session, the Chairman of Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association (CAN), Rev. Joseph Hayab, lamented the trauma the school children are going through in the hands of the bandits.
“Every right thinking human being would be worried when innocent children go through this trauma”, he said.
He alleged that Governor El-Rufai, has been governing the state with propaganda.
Hayab said, “In Kaduna State you all know, our governor has been governing us with propaganda.
“He says what he cannot do, he intimidates our pastors. Some of our pastors are afraid to tell him the truth. If they speak, they go to their homes in the morning to tell them don’t be like Hayab. “Today we have 121 children in the hands of criminals.”
Hayab said, “one of the reasons why we have not overcome insecurity in Kaduna State is because there is too much lies.”
He said, “If our governor and his team will just own up and say he is overwhelmed and needs help.
“I said this on the television and I want to repeat. If our governor was putting these bandits on the run, they will not ask us to give them food. But because they are having a free day, they have the audacity to ask us to give them food.
Where are they cooking that the security will not see them? Where are the bags of rice we gave to them and the security cannot see them? Are they spirit? Enough is enough.”