Victims pay ransoms with loans in Niger State

Justina Asishana

AS insecurity heightens in Niger State, families of kidnapped victims are taking out loans to pay for ransoms in the north-central state.

At the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp at Central Primary School, Sarkin Pawa, Munya Local Government Area, a middle-aged woman Asabe Mathew narrated that she sold everything she owned to pay for the release of her daughter and son.

Yet, she could not raise enough money, prompting her to borrow to pay the ransom to bandits holding the state to ransom.

“They have finished me, as I am now,” she said, as her eyes glistened with tears. “I have sold all my farm produce and I have loans to pay because I had to borrow money to pay the ransom for my children abducted by bandits. Now I have absolutely nothing left.”

Bandits have captured some villages in Niger State, hoisting their flags, according to Governor Abubakar Bello.  Notable among the villages held to ransom is Kaure  in Shiroro Local Government of the state.  The government of Niger State is helpless as bandits and criminals overrun the state, which is close to the nation’s capital, Abuja.

“My daughter was also kidnapped. But that happened before they kidnapped my son. We also had to pay a ransom to rescue her. Right now, I don’t have anything left. It has not been easy for us in Munya,” Matthew said

But she was not alone in her plight. Mohammed Isah currently has two of his sons in the den of the bandits while he currently stays at the IDP camp at the Central Primary School, Sarkin Pawa. His two sons were taken in a recent attack on his Dangunu community in Munya Local Government Area.



    “Yesterday, before I ran to this camp, two of my sons were taken on motorcycles when the thieves came to our village. They have not been released because we do not have money to pay for their release. What they asked for is in millions. Where will I get it from? I cannot go back to the village to take my farm produce and sell because that will be equal to dying,” Isah said.

    The Vice-Chairman of Munya Local Government Council Luka Garba is not left out of the ordeal. Two months ago, he lost his younger brother to bandits. According to him, his younger brother was a member of the local vigilantes in Kachu village and was killed during an ambush.

    Garba said that the people in the communities were currently running away from their homes and they were either entering Sarkin Pawa, Gwada and Kuta or running to Minna, Niger State capital, for safety.

    “At Kuchi two weeks ago, bandits killed three mobile policemen. They slaughtered one of them with a knife. That is why security has moved from Kuchi to Sarkin Pawa. Even yesterday, they killed one man called Jacob in Zazzagi, then they went to the military camp and burnt the army vehicles and properties,” Garba said.

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