…as Tinubu insists no ransom will be paid

The Nigerian military raised hopes on Thursday that it would rescue the over 200 schoolchildren who were recently abducted by bandits in Kaduna State.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba, while addressing a press conference in Abuja on the activities of the Armed Forces in the last two weeks, expressed the military’s commitment to rescuing all kidnapped victims unhurt.

The schoolchildren and members of staff of Kuriga Primary and Secondary School in Kaduna were abducted on March 7, 2024.

The military’s commitment comes amid a directive by President Bola Tinubu that the abducted children in Kaduna and Borno States be released immediately.

President Tinubu is also insisting that the Federal Government would not succumb to the payment of ransom to kidnappers and terrorists in the country, even as the terrorists who abducted 287 students and staff of a school in Kuriga, Chikum Local Government Area of Kaduna State, have demanded the payment of a huge amount of money in dollars as ransom for the release of the students and teachers to avoid devastating consequences.

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The terrorists demanded the payment of N1 billion ($620,432) ransom within 20 days, effective from the date of the kidnap, or they would kill all the kidnapped students and the staff.

But the Minister of information and National Orientation, Mr Mohammed Idris, said on Wednesday that President Bola Tinubu’s stance remains that security forces should secure the victims’ release and not the payment of any ransom.

Idris, who spoke at the end of the third Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja, said the security agencies were working round the clock, promising that the kidnapped schoolchildren would be brought back to safety pretty soon.

“And Mr President has also directed that no ransom will be paid by government to any of this criminal elements. I think it’s important that this be put out there,” he said.

On Thursday, the defence spokesman, after promising that the military would rescue the victims, blamed school owners for failing to report cases of abduction to security agencies on time.

He also blamed the recent kidnapping of some internally displaced persons in Gamboru-Ngala, Borno State, on their disobedience to instructions as they left the camp in search of firewood without informing camp officials.