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Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Saturday, said the Federal Government won’t pay ransom to secure the release of the abducted students and members of staff of Government Science College, Kagara.
He stated this today while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’.
Gunmen from a suspected criminal gang stormed a school in central Nigeria had on Wednesday, killing one student and kidnapping dozens of other pupils, teachers and relatives, the local government said, in the country’s latest mass abduction.
President Muhammadu Buhari ordered security forces to coordinate a rescue operation, his office said, after gunmen in military uniforms raided the Government Science College in the town of Kagara in Niger state.
“They kidnapped 42 people from the school. They took away 27 students, along with three teachers. One student was killed. They also kidnapped 12 family members of the teachers,” Muhammad Sani Idris, spokesman for Niger state’s government, told AFP by phone.
There have been unconfirmed reports circulating on social media that the government had paid a huge amount of money to secure the release of the Kagara abductees.
But when asked on Saturday whether the government had paid ransom or was considering the payment of ransom, the minister said, “No.”
Mohammed added, “We employ kinetic and non-kinetic (measures), you don’t throwaway invitation to engage but the overall strategy you keep to your chest.”
The minister also said the government won’t tolerate any form of criminality in any form.
He said, “Bandits all over the world work with psychology of people. Deliberately, they target women and children because this is what will attract a lot of global outcry. That is exactly what bandits do all over the world.
“The government has put in place, all along, various strategies to contain banditry, to fight insurgency, to fight kidnapping. Some of these measures are kinetic, some are not kinetic. We didn’t get here overnight and that is why it is difficult to get out one day.
“Criminality in any form will not be tolerated by government. At the same time, government has a duty to look at the underlining causes of some of these criminalities in other to address them.
“I was in Minna with my colleagues, the Ministers of Interior and Police Affairs, the IG, and the National Security Adviser on Wednesday to get a firsthand information on the abduction of these Kagara schoolboys. I can tell you that as at today that the government is on top of the matter.”