Tinubu: No More Ransom Payments to Kidnappers, Reads Riot Act to Security Agencies

•Govt reviewing US, others’ offer to help 

•Wike assures of better protection in FCT

Deji Elumoye and Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

President Bola Tinubu has, again, directed that on no condition should ransom be paid by government to kidnappers, bandits or other criminal elements for the release of their victims, as he read the country’s security agencies the riot act following incessant kidnap incidents.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, revealed the directive yesterday in Abuja while briefing newsmen at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, chaired by Tinubu at the State House.

The federal government also said it was still reviewing offers from the United States and other countries to help in rescue missions, saying it would disclose its decision soon.

The comments came as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, assured residents of improved security, including reduction in cases of kidnapping, in the nation’s capital.

At the same time, Commissioner, FCT Police Command, Benedict Igweh, disclosed that the correctional officer, Usman Ishaya Magaji, who shot and killed a convicted offender, Ibrahim Yahaya, at Wuse market on Tuesday, had been arrested for interrogation.

The government’s decision to put a damper on kidnapping for ransom followed recent incidents, particularly in Kaduna State, where some children were kidnapped and held in captivity while their abductors demanded billions of naira for their release.

Idris briefed newsmen on the latest developments at the end of the FEC meeting yesterday.

He stated, “In council today, Mr. President reiterated his directive to the security agencies and the Ministry of Defence to ensure that those our kids that have been abducted by these criminal gangs are brought back to their homes safely.

“Mr President has also reiterated his zero tolerance for payment of ransom. That was also mentioned by Mr. President at the council today. So, the security agencies are working round the clock.

“So, these children and people that have been abducted by criminal elements will be brought back to safety pretty soon. The security agencies are working hard in that direction.

“And Mr. President has also directed that no ransom will be paid by government to any of these criminal elements. It is important that it will be put out there.”

On the rising wave of kidnapping in the country, Idris said, “You’re also asking about the apparent surge in this kidnapping across the country. Now, it is true that some of these are happening, we have seen what has happened in Kaduna, in Borno and then in Sokoto.

“Of course, government is watching that very closely and not just watching, also ensuring that security agencies are taking proactive steps to ensure that this is halted significantly.

“Now, like I said, Mr. President has said it is an unacceptable situation and the government will not condone abductions or kidnappings or any kind of criminality in that direction.

“We’re seeing this happening and government is taking very proactive steps, first, to mitigate that, and also to stop the spread of this apparently.

“We are seeing that the more the security agencies are also hitting these targets or criminals, the more they are pushed to also getting some soft targets. But government is not taking any excuses.

“The president has directed that security agencies must, as a matter of urgency, ensure that these children and all those who have been kidnapped are brought back in safety and also in the process to ensure that not a dime is paid for ransom.

“So, it’s important to underscore that no dime, government is not paying anybody any dime and the government is optimistic that these children and other people that have been abducted will be brought back to their families in safety.”

Asked what specific support the United States was prepared to offer Nigeria in the rescue of the kidnapped children, the minister said other countries had also offered to help.

He stated, “Talking about what support, if any, are we getting from other countries, specifically the US, well, we’re aware that it’s not just the US that has actually offered.

“Other countries have also offered to support Nigeria. But what we can tell you is that government is still reviewing these offers and the position of government will be made known to you.”

Wike Assures of Improved Security in FCT

FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, assured of improved security, including reduction in kidnapping, in the nation’s capital.

Wike gave the assurance yesterday after a closed-door meeting with the FCT Commissioner of Police, Benedict Igweh, and the Senate on the state of security in the territory.

The minister said regarding the meeting, “It’s nothing difficult, just normal interactions, just to brief them on what we have done as regards security in the FCT.

“I am glad they are all happy with what we have done and what we are going to be doing and the suggestion, which they have given to us but which I cannot disclose to the members of public. This is just a very interactive session.

“What is important is what the FCT should expect from now. I will say improved security, more infrastructure. You can see what is going on in the FCT. It has been turned into a construction site and you can also see what has happened in the FCTA.

“Now we have our own Civil Service Commission, now we have our own permanent secretaries, which had never been. There are new things in the FCT and the residents are happy.” Wike added that from the interaction with the senators, it was agreed that security had improved in the FCT.

“Let me also say that there is no part of the world where criminality has been eradicated. We have heard several times in the United States of America, where criminals go to schools and shoot students.

“So, people should not have that impression that you cannot have one crime or the other. What we need is being able to limit or reduce the level of insecurity.

“But if anybody tells you that as societies are concerned, you will not have one crime or the other, that is not correct and we must tell ourselves the simple truth. Also, most of the kidnapping stories you hear, some of them are stage-managed by people.”

Police Nab Killer of Wuse Market Offender

FCT Commissioner of Police, Benedict Igweh, said the correctional officer, Usman Ishaya Magaji, who shot and killed a convicted offender, Ibrahim Yahaya at Wuse market on Tuesday had been arrested for questioning.

Igweh also said sanity had been restored to the market. He assured the people that the FCT Police Command would continue to work for the security of the residents, stating that the force would continue to comb the forests bordering Niger, Kaduna, Nasarawa, and Kogi states.

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