The Nigerian government has issued a stern warning to the public, advising against engaging in crowdfunding to pay ransoms for kidnapped victims, citing concerns that it could exacerbate the prevalence of abductions.
The caution comes in the wake of reports that Nigerians have raised over N50 million through crowdfunding to secure the release of the remaining five Al-Kadriya daughters.
The Minister of Defence, Abubakar Badaru, conveyed this message to State House correspondents on Wednesday, following the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Expressing the government’s concern about the increasing incidents of kidnappings, Badaru emphasised that resorting to public donations for ransom payments would only escalate 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,” remarked Badaru.
He appealed to Nigerians to refrain from publicly responding to ransom demands, asserting that the government’s stance is aimed at depriving kidnappers of the financial gains that fuel abductions.
“If we stop, over time the kidnapping will not be profitable, and they will stop. It is not easy, though, but that is the law,” added Badaru.
The Minister shed light on the recent wave of kidnappings in the suburbs of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), attributing them to the migration of bandits fleeing military operations in the Northwest and North Central zones.
“As you are aware, people are saying FCT, FCT; these kidnappings happen around the suburb, around now, and locations that are bothering Kaduna and Niger,” Badaru explained.
He further detailed the ongoing efforts by security agencies to address the situation, stating, “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.”
Badaru concluded by affirming that the President has provided the necessary support and given a clear directive to expedite actions to put an end to the security challenges posed by these criminal activities.