Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, on Tuesday, insisted that his administration would not offer ransom to kidnappers, saying that doing so had not curbed criminality in the country.
This was disclosed in a statement by Special Adviser to the governor on Media and Communication Muyiwa Adekeye, in response to a 2014 video interview circulating on social media concerning rescuing of kidnap victims, earlier reported by The ICIR.
He added that it was prudent to review one’s position when the facts changed.
“A path proposed in 2014 cannot be taken as the immutable answer to a serious problem that has since evolved. Negotiations have not stopped the criminals, so we seek to solve today’s problem with tools fit for them,” a section of the statement read.
It had earlier been reported that bandits on Monday killed two students of a private institution Greenfield University in Kaduna, days after three other abducted students had been killed.
About 29 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna State, are currently in captivity 47 days after their abduction due to the no-ransom policy of the El-Rufai government.
“Several states sought to negotiate their way out of the problems by talking to bandits, paying them money or offering them amnesty. This has not worked and has only encouraged the criminals to press ahead for a surrender of the public treasury to them. That is clearly not in the public interest,” he said.
El-Rufai said he regretted the reckless attacks and killings of students from tertiary institutions in the state.
“We sympathise with their families with whom we share the aim of the safe return of all the students. We mourn the dead students and we offer our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased,” he said.
El-Rufai, in a report, reiterated that he was under pressure from the parents of the abducted students, other concerned persons and groups to negotiate with the bandits for the release of the students.
However, the state governments of Katsina, Niger and Zamfara are believed to have negotiated with the abductors for the release of hundreds of students kidnapped from schools in their states.
“The ruthless and heartless resort of the kidnappers to murdering these young persons is part of their effort to further their blackmail and compel us to abandon our ‘no-ransom, no negotiation policy.
“The fact that criminals seek to hold us by the jugular does not mean we should surrender and create an incentive for more crime. In today’s Nigeria, it has become fashionable to treat the unlawful demands of bandits as worthy of consideration and to lampoon people who insist that outlaws should be crushed and not mollycoddled or availed the resources they can use to unleash further outrages,” he stated.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.