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Saturday, July 13, 2024
HomeKidnappingStop 'crowd-funding' to raise ransom for kidnap victims, FG warns Nigerians

Stop ‘crowd-funding’ to raise ransom for kidnap victims, FG warns Nigerians

The Federal Government on Wednesday, cautioned Nigerians against publicly crowd-funding through social media to raise funds for kidnap victims, saying that it is not only illegal, but counter productive.

Minister of Defence, Abubakar Badaru, gave he warning on while fielding questions from State House correspondents at the end of the first Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting for 2024 presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Minister warning is coming on the heels of the latest tragic kidnap incidents in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, where kidnappers of seven residents increased their ransom demand of N60 million to N100 million per victim, after worried citizens started online crowd-funding to meet the initial demand.

Recall that 10 persons were abducted in the unfortunate incident but three of them were killed after the ransom was not paid quickly by the families of the victims who were kidnapped from an estate in Sagwari Layout, Dutse, Abuja, on January 7, 2024.

The case took a different t dimension when former Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, said he supported the crowd-funding efforts after an unnamed friend of his contributed N50 million towards meeting the ransom target.

This heightened concern in Nigeria’s social media space, with many harping on the optics of crowdfunding the money and the precedent it could set for future cases.

But Badaru described the development as unfortunate and demanded that it should be stopped as it emboldens the kidnappers and worsens the security situation.

He explained that the recent upsurge of abductions in the suburbs of Abuja is because of the onslaught on kidnappers and bandits in the neighboring North-central and Northwestern States.

He assured residents and all Nigerians that the security agencies are determined and working towards blocking off the criminals and ending their menace.

According to the Minister, “In FCT, these kidnappings happen around the suburbs, around now and locations that are bordering Kaduna and Niger States. And this is as a result of the current operations going on in the northwest and some parts of northcentral.

“The bandits are fleeing and they are getting shelters around these areas and the security agencies are working very hard to push them out, block their movements and finish this thing once and for all.

“The president has given us the marching order and all the support that we need and what the security agencies need to end this thing.

“On crowd-funding, we all know there’s an existing law against payment of ransom. So, it is very sad for people to go over the internet, radio asking for donations to pay ransom. This will only worsen the situation, it will not help the situation at all as you have seen.

“Initially, they asked for N60 million and now because of this funding and I learnt somebody has raised N50 million already through friends and media, they jacked up the ransom.

“We believe we have to stop it, as painful as it is. We have to stop responding to payment of ransom. If we stop, over time, the kidnapping will not be profitable and they will stop.

“It is not easy though but that is the law that you are know. So we want to call on the people to manage the kidnapping situation intelligently and very quietly, because talking too much about it, most especially raising funds through the public media is not productive at all and should be discontinued.”

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