Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-Rufai recently said he won’t pay ransom to bandits even if they kidnap his son.
The governor also said anyone caught negotiating with bandits, on his government’s behalf, would be prosecuted.
“I mean it and I will say it again here. Even if my son is kidnapped, I will rather pray for him to make heaven instead, because I won’t pay any ransom,” he had said during a radio chat.
Asked what his government was doing to secure the release of the students kidnapped at the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Kaduna, in March, the governor said the government would keep exploring other ways to get them back to their families but stressed that the government would absolutely not pay ransom.
But in 2016, El-Rufai admitted his government traced some violent, aggrieved Fulani to their countries and paid them to stop the killing of Southern Kaduna natives and the destruction of their communities.
He had said, “For southern Kaduna, we didn’t understand what was going on and we decided to set up a committee under Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (rtd) to find out what was going on there. What was established was that the root of the problem has a history starting from the 2011 post-election violence.
“Fulani herdsmen from across Africa bring their cattle down towards Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria. The moment the rains start around March, April, they start moving them up to go back to their various communities and countries.
“Unfortunately, it was when they were moving up with their cattle across Southern Kaduna that the elections of 2011 took place and the crisis trapped some of them.
“Some of them were from Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Mali and Senegal. Fulanis are in 14 African countries and they traverse this country with the cattle.
“So many of these people were killed, cattle lost and they organised themselves and came back to revenge.
“So a lot of what was happening in Southern Kaduna was actually from outside Nigeria. We got a hint that the late Governor Patrick Yakowa got this information and he sent someone to go round some of these Fulani communities, but of course after he died, the whole thing stopped. That is what we inherited. But the Agwai committee established that.
“We took certain steps. We got a group of people that were going round trying to trace some of these people in Cameroon, Niger Republic and so on to tell them that there is a new governor who is Fulani like them and has no problem paying compensations for lives lost and he is begging them to stop killing.
“In most of the communities, once that appeal was made to them, they said they have forgiven. There are one or two that asked for monetary compensation. They said they have forgiven the death of human beings, but want compensation for cattle. We said no problem, and we paid some. As recently as two weeks ago, the team went to Niger Republic to attend one Fulani gathering that they hold every year with a message from me.”
Kaduna state is currently among states that have come under attacks from bandits who sack villages and kidnap residents in exchange for ransom.
SaharaReporters had reported how about 39 students were abducted at the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State in early March.
About 29 of them have remained in captivity since then as the government has vowed not to negotiate with the kidnappers who have demanded a N500 million ransom.
Recently, a young man identified as Francis Jonathan Ayuba, was killed in the state by bandits five days to his wedding.
The deceased who was set to tie the knot with his fiancée on Saturday, April 17, 2021 was killed when gunmen attacked Wawan Rafi II village, in the Zangon Kataf Local Government Area on April 12.