Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Saturday, said the Federal Government won’t pay ransom to secure the release of the abducted students and members of staff of Government Science College, Kagara.
He stated this today while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ monitored by The PUNCH.
There have been unconfirmed reports circulating on social media that the government had paid a huge amount of money to secure the release of the Kagara abductees.
But when asked on Saturday whether the government had paid ransom or was considering the payment of ransom, the minister said, “No.”
Mohammed added, “We employ kinetic and non-kinetic (measures), you don’t throwaway invitation to engage but the overall strategy you keep to your chest.”
The minister also said the government won’t tolerate any form of criminality in any form.
He said, “Bandits all over the world work with psychology of people. Deliberately, they target women and children because this is what will attract a lot of global outcry. That is exactly what bandits do all over the world.
“The government has put in place, all along, various strategies to contain banditry, to fight insurgency, to fight kidnapping. Some of these measures are kinetic, some are not kinetic. We didn’t get here overnight and that is why it is difficult to get out one day.
“Criminality in any form will not be tolerated by government. At the same time, government has a duty to look at the underlining causes of some of these criminalities in other to address them.
“I was in Minna with my colleagues, the Ministers of Interior and Police Affairs, the IG, and the National Security Adviser on Wednesday to get a firsthand information on the abduction of these Kagara schoolboys. I can tell you that as at today that the government is on top of the matter.”
The PUNCH had earlier reported that Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, ordered the immediate closure of all boarding schools in the bandit-ravaged areas on Wednesday after the attack in Kagara.
The Senate had also asked the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), to declare a state of emergency on security without further delay.
Wednesday’s attack happened a few months after bandits kidnapped over 300 schoolboys from Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina State.