Nigerians react as Kidnappers’ latest N40 trn demand is higher than national budget

Many Nigerians have expressed worry over the demands of N40 trillion ransom by bandits to free 16 kidnapped residents of the Gonin Gora area of Kaduna state.

Some of them who spoke to The ICIR described the amount as ‘mind-boggling’ as it is higher than the 2024 National Budget of N28.77 trillion Naira.

Multiple media reports also said apart from the N40 trillion demands, the bandits also requested 11 Hilux vans and 150 motorcycles.


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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.

He claimed that after getting in touch with them, the bandits demanded N40 trillion, 11 Hilux vans, and 150 motorcycles in exchange for the release of the 16 hostages they were holding.

“Where are we going to get this kind of money? Even if we sell the entire community, we cannot raise N40 trillion. Even Nigeria as a country has never made a budget of N40 trillion,” Yusuf claimed.

Yusuf said the bandits invaded the community at least two times within a week.

He said that during the first attack, three people were kidnapped, while in the second attack, 13 people were abducted, bringing the total number of people being held captive to 16.

He voiced concerns about the thick bush surrounding the neighbourhood and the state’s Birnin Gwari Local Government Area.

He advocated for the construction of a military post nearby to stop the criminals’ activities. 

Nigerians react

Commenting on the ransom demand, a security analyst with the SBM Intelligence, Emeka Okoro, said this is the first-time bandits would make such a massive demand since abduction for ransom started in Nigeria.

“It’s the usual thing they do in cases like this. They go for a very high ransom demand, and when negotiations start, they come down to a lower yet substantial amount. We have seen it play out in previous cases in Katsina and Zamfara states.

“Sometimes, they do this to get the government involved in paying the ransom, and unfortunately, because they have succeeded in the past, it has become their strategy, Okoro stated.

The ransom demand was made barely four days after 287 pupils in Kuriga, another Chikun community, were kidnapped.

Accordingly,some Nigerians on Social Media App X have also commented on the massive ransom demand by the bandits.

An X user, @Mindset_Post, placed the ransom alongside Nigeria’s 2024 budget.

“2024 budget: N28.77 trillion 

Akpabio’s Padding: N3.7 trillion

Kidnappers Ransom demand: N40 trillion

This is Nigeria!”

Another X user, @Stazingar, joked in his post that the ransom was padded.

“I have a feeling that the N40 trillion ransom was padded.” he posted.

In his remark, @ENIBOY said the ransom demand is difficult to believe.

“The total budget of the federal govt and all 36 states combined is N43.4 trillion. I find it difficult to believe that kidnappers would demand N40 trillion for the release of less than 300 individuals. How?”

Another X user, @shehu_mahdi, attributed the demand to corruption under former President Muhammadu Buhari.

“REASONS WHY BANDITS ARE DEMANDING N40 TRILLION RAMSOM FROM 15 GONIN GORA ABDUCTEES: Perhaps they are aware that outright stealing and theft under Buhari escalated from Billion to Trillion and nobody seems to be at fault. That is how bad Buhari’s legacy is,” he posted.

X user @ayemojubar suggested that those demanding such ransom are not mere bandits.

“They demanded N40 trillion, 11 Hilux vans, 150 motorcycles for the release of the kidnapped Kaduna residents, and yet you’re still calling them merely “bandits”.

There has been rising spate of kidnapping in some states across the country.




     

     

    The ICIR reported that at least 287 students and a principal, Abubakar Isah, were abducted on Thursday, February 7, when bandits invaded the Local Education Authority (LEA) Primary and Junior Secondary School, Kuriga, in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, a school teacher, Sani Abdullahi said.

    Abdullahi revealed this during the visitation of Governor Uba Sani and some other state government officials to the school hours after the incident, noting that 187 students were abducted from the secondary school section and 125 from the primary school section, totalling 312 students.

    The ICIR, on Thursday,further reported  how the assailants invaded a school and reportedly kidnapped over 100 children, alongside some staff of the school.

    Meanwhile, reacting to the tragedy during his visit, the state governor, Sani, pledged that the state government has started making efforts to rescue all abducted children.

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