April 16, 2024

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Bola Tinubu: Nigeria will not pay ransom to kidnappers in Kaduna

Bola Tinubu: Nigeria will not pay ransom to kidnappers in Kaduna
  • By Basilio Rukanga
  • BBC News

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President Tinubu ordered security forces to secure the release of the kidnapped children

Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has said that “not a single penny” will be paid to kidnappers to release more than 280 schoolchildren kidnapped last week.

The kidnappers, who have contacted the families, are demanding a ransom of one billion naira ($600,000, £470,000).

They threatened to kill the prisoners if their demand was not met.

A local leader told the BBC about the horrific conditions the children, aged between 7 and 12, were living in captivity.

Jubril Gwadabe Korega said the kidnappers called him to demand the release of the kidnapped children on March 7, using the phone of the school principal who was kidnapped with his students from the small town of Korega in northwestern Kaduna. state.

He also spoke to the school principal, who told him that some of the children were in a “critical condition” and “couldn’t even stand up.”

“They're lying down. So we don't know. Maybe some of them died,” he said of the children, who he said walked hundreds of kilometers to the kidnappers' base with very little food and water.

Gwadabe said the families were too poor to pay the ransom. “A lot of them can't afford it – even three square meals are impossible in some of their homes,” he told the BBC's Newsday programme.

He said the families felt “very bad” and pointed to a woman who had four children kidnapped and was unable to eat or sleep.

Information Minister Muhammad Idris told reporters that Mr. Tinubu on Wednesday ordered security forces to ensure the children were released without any payment.

“The government is not paying anyone a dime and the government is optimistic that these children and other people… will return to their families safely,” he said.

Kaduna State Governor Oba Sani said they were “doing everything in their power to ensure the safe return of students and students.”

Paying ransom became illegal in 2022 in Nigeria.

In the past, some hostages have been released after negotiations with authorities, but officials have always denied paying ransom.

Often, family members and friends raise money, through fundraisers or selling their possessions. Sometimes politicians were involved, especially in high-profile cases.

For years, the militants, known locally as bandits, have targeted villagers, motorists on highways and students in schools, hoping to extract a ransom for their release.

In the past three years, hundreds of students have been kidnapped.

This latest wave of kidnappings represents a major challenge to Tinubu's government, which promised to address insecurity after coming to power last year.

Read more about the kidnapping crisis in Nigeria:

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