Niger: Bello denies paying ransom for freed Kagara students
Governor Bello Sani has assured the freed abductees of Government Science Secondary School, Kagara that his administration will get to the roots of the growing insecurity in the state.
Bello said this while addressing the freed students, staff and their relatives of the Kagara school in a solemn tone of voice, at the Government House, yesterday.
He urged them to take their ordeal as one of the lessons of life and not allow the experience to discourage them from returning to school to continue their education.
Bello said he was thankful to God for the safe return of the pupils from the kidnappers’ den.
He said, “We have rescued the 38 abducted Kagara students, they were rescued at about 4am this (Saturday) morning. I can confirm that all the victims from Kagara are here, 38 in number; we have one in the hospital suffering from excessive exhaustion.
“Thank God they are back here with us peacefully, they have been medically checked and the medical team will monitor them for a few more days.
“They have been through tremendous torture, we are carefully watching their health and conditions and they will soon be back home with their families. The children have been taken care of. Their family members will take them back home.”
The governor thanked security agencies, the people of Niger State and Nigerians for their efforts and prayers leading to the freedom of the captives.
He added, “This (rescue operation) is a joint effort with security agencies, traditional rulers and other stakeholders, but going forward, we are putting in place a system to look into the causes (of kidnapping). In the next few days, I hope we will find solutions to this dastardly act.”
Also speaking, the Secretary to the Niger State Government, Ahmed Matane, denied the payment of ransom to bandits for the release of the abductees.
He said, “Whoever talked about ransom, it is not true. You will recall the first kidnap in the video that you saw, they were demanding N500m. There is no government that will pay such money to bandits as ransom.
“Some of the expenses, you have to hire (a) vehicle, you have to talk to people and mobilise them from one location to the other. Of course, it will gulp some expenses but the assurance that we have is that the major commanders are keying into these dialogue platform and we open up to escalate it from there.”