The Federal Government on Saturday debunked rumours of payment of ransom for the release of the abducted Kankara schoolboys in Katsina State and the Dapchi schoolgirls in Yobe State.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed revealed this in an interview on a monitored Channels Television interview on Saturday.
“All these stories about ransom, are conspiracy theories,” the minister said.
The minister’s comments come days after another abduction of students in Kangara, Niger State, was executed.
NaijaOnPoint.com, TNG reports that some Nigerians on social media alleged that the federal government has already paid Eight Hundred Million (N800,000,000:00) ransom to the bandits to free the abducted Kangara victims.
TNG reports that the Kangara incident is the latest in the series of coordinated abductions carried out by bandits across the country, particular in the north.
Reacting to the incident, the minister who had on Wednesday visited the state with a Federal Government delegation to assess the situation, said the government is putting various strategies in place to curb the menace.
“Government has put in place various strategies to contain banditry, insurgency and kidnapping.
“Some of these measures are kinetic, some are non-kinetic,” Mr Lai Mohammed said.
He, however, ruled out the option of a ransom being paid for their release.
When asked: Will a ransom be part of the government’s strategy? the minister said: “No”.
He continued by saying: “I can assure you that the government is on top of the matter – but it is not a subject matter for television discussion.
“We didn’t get there overnight, that is why we can’t get out in one day”.
According to the minister, bandits and terrorists work with the psychology of people and they deliberately attack mostly women and children because they believe that is what is going to attract global outcry.
“That is exactly what bandits do all over the world,” he said, adding that “solidarity in any form will not be tolerated by this government”.
Armed men attacked the Government Science College Kagara in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State in the early hours of Wednesday, shooting sporadically, before abducting some students, staff members, and their families.
One student was also killed in the incident.
The operations started from the staff quarters and ended in the students’ hostels and in the process, other students were also wounded by gunshots.
The gunmen who were said to have worn military uniforms gathered some staff and students at a place for hours before moving them out of the school premises to an unknown destination.