The parents and management of the Bethel Baptist High School, Maraban Rido, Kaduna State, have raised money to buy foodstuffs being demanded by abductors of the 121 students of the school..
A father of one of the abductees, who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity on Thursday, said the school asked parents to pay any amount they could afford.
According to him, there was panic among the parents when they heard that the bandits threatened to starve the students if the items were not provided.
These came to the fore on Thursday as The PUNCH learnt that the bandits contacted the school management on Wednesday evening and specified the quantity of foodstuffs they wanted.
An official, who confided in one of our correspondents, said the bandits said the parents must supply 30 bags of rice, 20 bags of beans and 10 kegs of palm oil.
Recall that the bandits had, at 1am on Monday, invaded the school and kidnapped 121 students, who are mostly in Senior Secondary schools 2 and 3.
Edujandon.com on Tuesday reported that the bandits contacted the school management and demanded food to feed the abductees.
The Vice-Principal of the school, Wakili Madugu, during an interview on Nigeria Info Abuja 95.1FM on Thursday, which was monitored by The PUNCH, confirmed the quantity of food the bandits were demanding.
Madugu said the gunmen rejected nine bags of rice as well as other food items offered by the school.
Madugu said he received a call at 7.30am on Tuesday shortly after the students had been abducted and was assured of their safety.
He further stated that the bandits said authorities had blocked their access to food and therefore demanded that the school and the parents make food items available.
The vice-principal stated, “They said we should bring 10 bags of imported rice, 20 bags of local rice, 20 bags of beans and then 10 cartons of Maggi (seasoning) and then 10 kegs of oil as well as two bags of salt. These were the items they demanded.”
Madugu, however, said the school did not have all the items demanded because it had exhausted almost all their foodstuffs ahead of the school’s closure this week.
But the father of one of the abducted students said the school had appealed to parents to donate money that would be used to buy the foodstuffs.
The man stated, “The school has asked us to donate any amount we can afford. It is not compulsory but many parents are eager to pay because the bandits threatened to starve the children. There are fears among parents when they heard that the hoodlums threatened to starve the students.”
On Thursday evening, a source in the school said the foodstuffs had been bought and that the telephone call from the bandits was being awaited.
The source stated, “We are waiting for their (bandits) call now to know where they want us to deliver the foodstuffs to them.
“We (management) have bought the rice and other foodstuffs (food items). We are waiting for the call from them (bandits) for direction for where we will meet. We have been waiting for their calls since morning. We have bought all the foodstuffs and all is set. The school didn’t make it mandatory for parents to pay, but some of them volunteered to give for the purchase of the foodstuffs.”
Meanwhile, all parents would dress in black attire today (Friday) for a special prayer session that will last for four hours.
“There will be special prayers tomorrow and all of parents are going to wear black attires to last for four hours,” he said.
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