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Published On: Thu, Mar 14th, 2024

Nigerian President Tinubu Vows not to Pay Ransom to Free Kidnap Victims

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu has ordered security forces not to pay ransom for the release of close to 300 students and staff who were kidnapped from a school in north-western Kaduna state last week.

Nigerian Information Minister Mohammed Idris told reporters on Wednesday that Mr Tinubu instead directed security agencies to ensure the release of all kidnapped victims without any payment to the kidnappers, and he said that President Tinubu president had told forces searching for the pupils to make sure not a dime is paid.

Earlier, Gunmen had kidnapped 286 students and staff from a school in northern Nigeria last week have demanded a total of 1 billion naira ($620,432) for their release, a spokesman for the families of the hostages and a local councilor told Reuters.

The school children, some older students and members of the school staff were abducted on March 7 in the town of Kuriga, in Nigeria’s northwestern Kaduna State, in the first mass kidnapping in the country since 2021.

A Community Leader Jubril Aminu, who acts as a spokesman for the families of the hostages, said on Tuesday he had received a call on his phone from the kidnappers.

“They made a total of a 1 billion (naira) ransom demand for all the pupils, students and staff of the school, and they gave an ultimatum to pay the ransom within 20 days, effective from the date of the kidnap. They said they will kill all the students and the staff if the ransom demand is not met.” Aminu said.

An Elected Official from the Kuriga Ward municipal council Idris Ibrahim confirmed the ransom demand and the amount.

It is said that there have been several mass kidnappings over the last week in Nigeria, including the seizure on Tuesday night of more than 60 people from a village also in Kaduna state. Over the last three years, hundreds of students have been abducted.

Some of the hostages have been released following negotiations with the authorities, although officials deny ransom payments are made. A law passed in 2022 banned paying ransom to kidnappers.

The surge of large-scale abductions is challenging Mr Tinubu’s government, which had promised to tackle insecurity.

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