During a discussion with reporters after the maiden 2024 Federal Executive Council (FEC) gathering, chaired by President Bola Tinubu in Abuja’s State House, Defence Minister Abubakar Badaru strongly cautioned against the usage of crowdfunding and ransom payments as a means of dealing with kidnappings in Nigeria. This official advisory by the federal government emphasises the potential dangers and urges relatives of victims to refrain from engaging in such practices. This came amongst the circulated news of Nigerian citizens successfully raising over ₦50 million through crowdfunding to secure the freedom of Mansoor Al-Kadriya’s five remaining daughters.
On the 26th of December 2023, six siblings and their father were forcibly taken from their residence in Bwari Council, Abuja. After some time, the father was allowed to leave in order to gather the demanded ransom. Sadly, one of his daughters, Nabeeha, was tragically murdered last Friday by the kidnappers due to the failure to obtain the requested amount. As a result, five siblings remain alive. Badaru mentioned that the act of crowdfunding with the intention of paying a ransom is restricted by current legislation, which strictly forbids any form of payment to individuals involved in kidnapping.
Handling abduction with extreme caution and discretion is important.
He claims that everyone is well aware of the law that prohibits the payment of ransom. Consequently, it is disheartening to witness individuals resorting to online and radio pleas for donations to fulfil such demands. Such actions not only increase the situation but also prove ineffective, as demonstrated previously. At first, a request was made for a sum of ₦60 million. However, he discovered that someone managed to gather ₦50 million through the help of their acquaintances and the media. Unfortunately, instead of feeling satisfied with this considerable amount, the kidnappers increased the demanded ransom.
They are convinced that they must cease, no matter how painful it is, their engagement with ransom demands. By doing so, they anticipate that with time, the practice of kidnapping will lose its profitability and eventually come to an end. This endeavour is fraught with challenges, yet it remains an undeniable principle of law, as one must be aware. The plea is for individuals to handle the abduction situation with utmost caution and discretion. It is strongly advised to refrain from excessive discussions or public fundraising as these approaches prove unproductive and must be abandoned.
Security agencies are actively collaborating on the matter.
However, the Minister raised concerns regarding the widespread damage caused by terrorist groups and abductors throughout the entire nation, with emphasis on the capital city, Abuja. Particularly, he highlighted the alarming rate of kidnappings within the FCT Area Councils. Moreover, he acknowledged that the President had summoned both the service chiefs and them, making them cognizant of the severity of the situation. Consequently, the Minister assured that security agencies are actively collaborating to eradicate this menace promptly. Kidnappings in the suburbs are occurring in bordering areas that are causing concern for Kaduna and Niger.
The surge in abductions in these places is an outcome of ongoing military activities in the northwest and select regions of the north-central area. The bandits are currently seeking refuge within local vicinities, prompting the diligent efforts of security agencies to expel them, obstruct their mobility, and definitively eradicate this predicament. According to him, the President has issued a directive, providing both unwavering support and indispensable resources to aid the security agencies in putting an end to this situation.
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In a recent news by AskNigeria, Isa Sanusi, the Nigeria Director of Amnesty International, highlights the alarming epidemic of kidnappings tormenting Nigerian society. The population is now in dismay, overwhelmed by pervasive insecurity and escalating disarray arising from frequent abductions. Urgent measures must be taken by Nigerian authorities to hart this escalating wave of kidnappings as armed groups consolidate their hold over the nation. Many kidnapping incidents go unreported as numerous families choose to remain silent, fearing acts of revenge, after meeting ransom demands. Thus, a significant number of such occurrences remain undocumented.