The Federal Government has warned Nigerians against payment of ransom to kidnappers and bandits.
Minister of Defence, Muhammadu Badaru, who gave the warning at a press briefing after the Federal Executive Council in Abuja on Wednesday, January 17, said the payment would only embolden the culprits to demand more, thereby jeopardising public safety.
It said that public crowdfunding to pay ransoms for victims would further worsen the spate of abductions.
Badaru also said that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed security agencies to intensify efforts in flushing out the perpetrators of criminal acts in the society.
He said: “Yesterday, we are aware Mr President called us and all the service chiefs to discuss this issue. So, concerted efforts is being done by security to stop it immediately.
“As you are aware, people are saying FCT, FCT, these kidnappings happen around the suburb, around locations that are bothering Kaduna and Niger states. And this is as a result of the current operations going on in the north west and some parts of north central.
“The bandits are fleeing and they are getting shelters around these areas and the security agencies are working very hard to push them out, block the movement and finish this thing once and for all.”
The warning comes amidst reports that Nigerians have raised over N50 million through crowdfunding to pay the ransom for the release of the remaining five daughters of Mansoor Al-Kadriya.
The six siblings were abducted from their father’s house in Bwari Council, Abuja, on December 26, 2023, alongside their father.
Although their father was later released to go and raise the ransom, the kidnappers killed one of his daughters, Nabeeha, last Friday for failing to raise the said ransom, leaving five alive.
However, Badaru said, while the government was deeply concerned about the kidnappings, paying ransoms through public donations will exacerbate the problem.
“We all know there’s an existing law against the payment of ransom. So, it is very sad for people to go over the internet, radio asking for donations to pay ransom. This will only worsen the situation; it will not help,” Badaru said.
Badaru urged Nigerians to refrain from responding to ransom demands publicly, noting that the government’s position is to starve kidnappers of the profits that drive abductions.
“If we stop, over time the kidnapping will not be profitable, and they will stop. It is not easy, though, but that is the law,” he said.
According to the minister, the recent kidnappings in the suburbs of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are being perpetrated by bandits fleeing military operations in the North West and North Central zones.
He said, “As you are aware, people are saying FCT, FCT, these kidnappings happen around the suburb, around now and locations that are bothering Kaduna and Niger.
“And this is as a result of the current operations going on in the northwest and some parts of the North Central.
“The bandits are fleeing and they are getting shelters around these areas, and the security agencies are working very hard to push them out, block the movement, and finish this thing once and for all.
“The president has given us the marching order and all the support that we need and what the security agencies need to end this thing.”