No ransom was paid to secure the release of the abducted students of the Islamic seminary in Niger State.
This is according to the lawmaker representing Niger East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Mohammed Musa.
Gunmen had on May 30 stormed their school in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State and whisked away 93 children.
Three months later, the schoolchildren were freed, although the gunmen were said to have demanded a ransom of ₦110 million and threatened to kill the victims.
However, the Senator who appeared during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, said the Niger State Government has repeatedly said it would never pay ransom to the bandits.
“The Niger State Government has made it very categorically clear and one of the policies of the state government His Excellency initiated, there is no payment of ransom for whatever reasons,” Senator Musa said, dispelling reports that ₦110 million was paid to the bandits.
“I so much agree with him (Governor Abubakar Bello) because the more you give the ransom, the more the trade will continue because they have turned it into a trade. When they approached the government asking for ransom, the government felt it cannot go against its policy.”
The lawmaker explained that although the government didn’t pay a dime to the abductors, the distraught parents however took up the initiative of selling their possessions to secure the release of their children.
While noting that the government wasn’t aware when they parted with some sums to the bandits, one of the parents that took the money was held back alongside the children.
According to the lawmaker, the state government got wind of the information when 13 of the kidnapped children escaped from their abductors.
“After they escaped, these people opened a new request. They now asked for more of the ransom and the state government insisted that they are not going to pay a kobo.
“These people now complained that they are feeding these children, they have spent so much of their money but the policy of the government is that no ransom will be given.
“They pleaded, the parents pleaded. I don’t know the number of calls Mr Governor was receiving from these parents but I have received so many calls appealing that we should do something about it.”