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Ransom Never Stopped Attacks Since 2014, El-Rufai Tells Critics

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El-Rufai Jonathan 2014 video

The Kaduna state government has maintained its stance that it will not negotiate with kidnappers, saying payment of ransom to bandits will encourage criminal activities.

This is coming hours after an old video appeared on social media on Tuesday, wherein Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, asked former President Goodluck Jonathan to negotiate with the abductors of the Chibok girls kidnapped in 2014.

In recent times, Kaduna has witnessed a series of killings and abductions perpetrated by bandits.

Recall that on March 12, bandits kidnapped some students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka in the state.

Some students of Greenfield University were also kidnapped on April 20.

Out of the 39 students kidnapped in Afaka, 10 have been released, while for the students of Greenfield University, five of these students have been found dead.

On several occasions, El-Rufai has maintained that the state will not negotiate or pay ransom to bandits. This stance has been criticised by parents of the abducted students and some Nigerians.

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Speaking on the development, the state government said those peddling the narrative based on the 2014 interview don’t understand that the context has changed.

In a statement on Tuesday by Muyiwa Adekeye, media aide to the governor, the state sympathised with the families of the students of Greenfield University who were killed by bandits.

The government, however, noted that the murder is a ploy to blackmail the administration into negotiating with the bandits.

“The years since 2014 may have led some people to forget the denial and doubt that defined the FG’s response to the Chibok abductions, especially the initial refusal to acknowledge that it happened. That was the context under which civic pressures were brought on the government,” the statement reads.

“Nigeria’s journey since the 2014 Chibok tragedy has proven that the solution to violent crimes, including terrorism and banditry, is a robust response from the state and its coercive agencies. The quantum of money paid as ransom following many negotiations with bandits have not stopped kidnappings, reduced their frequency, or deterred the criminals.

“Mass abduction was like in novelty in 2014. But the facts have changed since then. Negotiations and ransoms have been undertaken, but these have not stopped the criminals. It has only encouraged them. It is only prudent to review one’s position when the facts change, and the suggestion made by a citizen years ago cannot be taken as the immutable answer to a serious problem that has evolved since 2014, no matter the viral replays of the said video clip.

“The Kaduna State Government has been consistently transparent about its security challenges. It has supported and continues to resource the security agencies in the state. We are engaging the Federal Government to have security responses that move away from reactive response of repelling bandits towards a comprehensive, proactive offensive that takes the battle to the criminals and uproots them. As a sub-national, with no direct control of any of the security agencies, we cannot make this task more difficult by giving criminals the resources to acquire more arms.

“KDSG regrets the recent kidnaps and killings of students from tertiary institutions in our state, and we sympathise with their families with whom we share the aim of the safe return of all the students. We mourn the dead students and we offer our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased. The ruthless and heartless resort of the kidnappers to murdering these young persons is part of their effort to further their blackmail and compel us to abandon our ‘no-ransom, no-negotiation’ policy. Are people bothering with the consequences of state surrender to hoodlums, or is the continued politicisation of security challenges not going to make all of us ultimately victims of the insurgents?

“The fact that criminals seek to hold us by the jugular does not mean we should surrender and create an incentive for more crime. In today’s Nigeria, it has become fashionable to treat the unlawful demands of bandits as worthy of consideration and to lampoon people who insist that outlaws should be crushed and not mollycoddled or availed the resources they can use to unleash further outrages.”

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