A top commander of the banditry group that abducted over 300 schoolboys in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State identified as Awulu, has clearly stated that the government paid them N30 million ransom before the boys were released.
Earlier, the Nigerian government and Zamfara and Katsina state governments said that no ransom was paid to free the students.
Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, also said “I insist we did not pay any ransom to the kidnappers, it was purely negotiation.”
“We do not pay ransom to bandits because if we do that, we would be encouraging them to be more daring,” the governor said on the night the boys were released.
While narrating the role of the military in the rescue operation, the Defence Headquarters said the troops closed in on the abductors from four different fronts.
It said that kinetic and non-kinetic approaches were used to ensure all the boys were rescued unhurt, saying that there was resistance from the abductors who laid an ambush against the troops.
“Following the directive, the troop closed in on the abductors from four different fronts, including the reinforcement that was made from other divisions to ensure that the entire location was sealed off.
“The bandits were all under siege, and they were fully aware of that, feeling the impacts of the presence of the troops both from the air and on the ground,” Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, John Enenche said.
According to Saharareporters, However, in a leaked telephone conversation between Awulu and a former council boss in Katsina State, the bandits commander admitted the group collected N30m from the state government.
When told by the former LGA chairman that some government officials claimed N800 million was given to the group, Awulu exclaimed and said, “You said what? N800m? How many millions again? Who said that? So they paid N30 million and claimed N800m, now they have stopped cattle rearing.”
Responding, the former council boss said, “I will send you the speech and I will advise you speak out so citizens will know you did what you did for peace and what they paid you was N30 million.
“This not fair at all, they call us thieves while they are the real thieves. We want peace but this governor has no integrity.”