Again, bandits demand N20m as ransom for 16 abducted students in Sokoto

FOLLOWING the ransom demand of N40 trillion for abducted residents in Kaduna, bandits in Sokoto state have made a similar demand.

The bandits who previously abducted 15 students from a Qur’anic school and a woman are now demanding a N20 million ransom.

The school proprietor, Liman Abubakar, made this known to Daily Trust on Tuesday, March 12.

On Sunday, March 10, The ICIR reported that the Sokoto State police command confirmed the abduction of 15 Tsangaya students by bandits at the Gidan Bakuso area of Gada Local Government Area of the State.

Reports indicate that the event happened on the school grounds around 1 a.m. on Saturday, March 9.

Confirming the incident in a chat with The ICIR on Saturday, the Sokoto state police command spokesperson, Ahmad Rufai, said 15 students were abducted within the school. At the same time, a woman was kidnapped outside the school.

“Yes, it is true. They invaded the school and took the Almajiri children and abducted a woman on their way out,” Rufai stated.

He said the tactical unit of the command had been mobilised to go after the bandits.

However, the school proprietor told newsmen that he has received call from bandits, requesting to pay a sum of N20 million for the release of the student.

Abubakar said: “I received two calls from them this morning (Tuesday). In the first call, they asked me whether I don’t care about the plight of my students, and that was why I didn’t contact them. I told them I didn’t have their contact.

“They then asked me to wait for another call around 11 am. Some minutes after 11 am, they called again and directed me to meet our village head and tell him to raise N20 million for the children.

“I wanted to plead with them, but they said they would not reduce anything from the money. I discussed the matter with the village head, but we have yet to conclude.”

The development was coming a few weeks after the ICIR reported the failure of the federal government and the security operatives to apprehend bandits via tracking of bandits’ phone contacts.

The ICIR reported that in 2021 and 2022, the federal government earmarked over N50 billion to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for the procurement of various equipment, including biometric capture equipment, backend and frontend systems, and verification equipment crucial for the registration of National Identification Number (NIN), among other necessities.

Despite this substantial investment, coupled with the hardships many Nigerians endured to meet the registration deadline and link their NIN with SIM cards, the former Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami and the security operatives face backlash due to the project’s ‘ineffectiveness and inefficiency’ in addressing insurgency and kidnapping cases.






     

     

    Many Nigerians believed that politicians and public figures exploited the policy to have the police pursue their interests, with many expecting such dexterity to be applied in cases of kidnapping where the perpetrators are in constant digital communication with the victims’ families.

    This was also as many Nigerians reacted to the demands of N40 trillion ransom by another group of bandits to free 16 kidnapped residents of the Gonin Gora area of Kaduna state.

    Recall that 16 people were taken hostage on Wednesday, February 28, when bandits raided the Gonin-Gora neighbourhood in the Chikun Local Government Area, a suburb of Kaduna.

    In a phone chat with The Nation Newspaper on Monday, March 11, a local community leader, John Yusuf, confirmed this information in Kaduna.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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