- Niger Govt: ‘We won’t pay’
Barely 72 hours after abducting over 200 students of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School, Tegina, in Rafi Local Government of Niger State, the armed bandits have demanded N110 million as ransom for their safe release.
This is even as the Niger State government has bluntly said it will not pay any money to the kidnappers.
Our Correspondent learnt that the bandits contacted the school’s Head Teacher, Alhaji Abubakar Alhassan, popularly called ‘Mallam’, on Monday at about 4pm demanding for N110 million as ransom for the release of his students.
According to him, the kidnappers threatened that if they did not pay the ransom by the end of today (Tuesday), they would kill all the children.
Mallam Alhassan said the message has been passed to the state government, which said it will not pay ransom for the release of the children.
He also disclosed that the bandits claimed to have only 156 pupils with them and not 200.
The bandits had on Sunday released 11 of the children who were too young without any demands.
The Head Teacher, however, said that some parents and public spirited people within the community have started raising the money which they hope to take to the bandits.
Meanwhile, the state government has said that it has set the necessary machinery in motion to ensure the safe release of the school children but completely ruled out the payment of ransom to the kidnappers.
The Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, while briefing journalists on Monday, had said: “Government is on the pursuit of the bandits and efforts are being put in place to identify them. We don’t pay ransom to the abductors. We are trying to negotiate to see how we can bring them back safely.”