From Sola Ojo, Kaduna

As 16 of 40 worshippers kidnapped by bandits at Bege Baptists Church, Madala, Buruku axis of Chikun local government area of Kaduna State on May 7, 2023, remain in captivity, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna State has strongly appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to use his last 24 hours to rescue them from their abductors.

CAN Chairman in the State, Rev Joseph John Hayab told The Sun Newspapers in Kaduna on Sunday that the incoming President, Sen Bola Ahmed Tinubu should brace up for his first rescue mission in case President Buhari failed to do the needful before his tenure expires.

According to him, the affected families who are mainly peasant farmers are unable to meet the demands of the abductors of the remaining 16 persons after 24 of the kidnapped 40 persons somehow escaped on the very day the Church was attacked around during the morning service.

He said, “this is the third Sunday that over 40 worshippers were picked by bandits in Bege Baptist Church near Buruku where 24 later returned. The remaining 16 of them are still in the hands of their abductors.

“All efforts are yet to yield any positive result. As we speak, the bandits are still making huge demands and the poor villagers do not have money to redeem their loved ones.

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“They are demanding motorcycles and cash. These are poor farmers that could not have access to their farmlands for years and you kept their wives, children and parents in the bush.

“The sad reality is that nobody in the position of authority is saying anything about these Nigerians. They are rather busy with what they can grab next. Some of the other 24 were released by the bandits either because they were weak and could no longer trek or they were left half-dead.

“The villagers whose loved ones are kidnapped are crying about where and how to get the ransom the bandits are asking for and we don’t know what to do either as an association.

“Our appeal is that either the outgoing government can use the last 24 hours to rescue our people so they can come back home. If they fail, we are calling on the new government to develop a new move that will ensure these people don’t main in the forest within the next 48 hours.

“Let it be their first primary assignment to deliver the worshippers from Bege Baptist Church Madala who are still in the hands of their abductors. We cannot have a government and this evil will continue.

“CAN is seriously worried about this. CAN is concerned that instead of looking forward to what will happen in the next 24 hours, we are mourning because our members are in captivity”, Hayab said.