The deadline given by bandits to the school management and relatives of the 121 students of the Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna, to pay the ransom fee of N60 million elapsed on Monday, with the fate of the abductees unknown.
This is just as the bandits released one of the captives on the grounds of ill health, reducing the number of captives to 120.
Bandits invaded Bethel Baptist Secondary School on 5 July and kidnapped over 100 students, the final figure of 121 confirmed only after a head count of the students as conducted by the abductors.
The bandits had initially demanded about 30 bags of rice, as well as other food items from the relatives of the students and the school management.
They later N500,000 for each of the remaining 120 students, totalling N60 million, and issued Monday as the deadline for payment.
According to one of the parents, the bandits promised to release the children on Tuesday if the ransom was paid by Monday.
She added that the Baptist Church and parents of the students are already working to raise the ransom.
“The bandits demanded hundreds of millions of naira, but later scaled down their demands to N60m, reducing it to N500,000 per student,” the Punch quoted the parent as saying.
“We (parents) have gathered some amounts but the church is trying to raise the remaining money to meet up with the demands of the bandits.”
A brother to one of the kidnapped students, Jesse Peter, said, “The bandits called us on Saturday and said we should raise N500,000 for each of the 120 students remaining with them in the bush. They gave us till Sunday morning to pay the money before shifting the ultimatum to Sunday evening. We have yet to pay and the time they gave us has elapsed and they have not communicated with us since then.
“The parents are still shocked about the whole thing. As for us, we don’t have such money anywhere. We have resorted to prayers.”
But with the deadline of Monday having elapsed and the ransom seem not to have been paid, it is not yet known what would be the bandits’ next step.