The federal government has warned against public crowd-funding to pay ransoms for kidnapped victims, saying it will only worsen the spate of abductions.
The minister of defence, Abubakar Badaru, disclosed this to State House correspondents yesterday after the federal executive council meeting presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The warning comes amidst reports that Nigerians have raised over N50 million through crowd-funding to pay the ransom for the release of the remaining five daughters of Mansoor Al-Kadriya .
Six siblings were abducted from their father’s house in Bwari Council, Abuja, on December 26, 2023, alongside their father.
Although their father was later released to go and raise the ransom, the kidnappers killed one of his daughters, Nabeeha, last Friday after the man failed to raise the said ransom.
However, Badaru said while the government is deeply concerned about the kidnappings, paying ransoms through public donations will exacerbate the problem.
“We all know there’s an existing law against payment of ransom. So, it is very sad for people to go over the internet and radio asking for donations to pay ransom. This will only worsen the situation; it will not help,” Badaru said.
He urged Nigerians to refrain from responding to ransom demands publicly, noting that the government’s position is to starve kidnappers of the profits which drive abductions.
“If we stop, overtime the kidnapping will not be profitable and they will stop. It is not easy though but that is the law,” he said.
According to the minister, the recent kidnappings in the suburbs of the FCT are being perpetrated by bandits fleeing military operations in the Northwest and North Central zones.
He assured that security agencies are working round the clock to track down the bandits and prevent further abductions.
He said, “As you are aware, people are saying FCT, FCT; these kidnappings happen at the suburbs, around locations bordering Kaduna and Niger. And this is as a result of the current operations going on in the North West and some parts of North Central.
“The bandits are fleeing and they are getting shelters around these areas and the security agencies are working very hard to push them out, block the movement and finish this thing once and for all.
“The president has given us marching orders and all the support that we need and what the security agencies need to end this thing,” he added.
The minister further said investigations are ongoing to establish the cause of the explosion in Ibadan, Oyo state.
The explosion killed two persons and wounded about 80 others. It also destroyed several buildings, vehicles, and other properties.
Badaru said while the state governor had indicated preliminary findings show the blast may have been caused by explosives owned by illegal miners in the area, the defence ministry is not ruling out other possibilities such as gas explosion.
“Our team is there trying to find out what is the cause. We have seen that report but the council, to be proactive, has already set up a committee to look into how the control of explosives law is broken, if indeed there are explosives around the area where these incidents happened,” the minister said.