Stop paying ransom to kidnappers, says defence minister

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The Minister of Defence, Muhammadu Badaru, has urged Nigerians to stop the illegal payment of ransom to kidnappers and bandits.

At a briefing after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday in Abuja, Badaru said the payment would only embolden the culprits to demand more, thereby jeopardising public safety.

He said that the President, at a meeting on Tuesday with service chiefs, had directed security agencies to intensify efforts to flush out the perpetrators of criminal acts in society.

“Yesterday, we are aware that Mr. President called us and all the service chiefs to discuss this issue. So, concerted efforts are being made by security to stop it immediately.

“As you are aware, people are saying FCT, FCT. These kidnappings happen around the suburb, around locations that are bothering Kaduna and Niger states. And this is as a result of the current operations going on in the northwest and some parts of north central.

“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 the movement, and finish this thing once and for all,” he said.

He added that raising funds to pay ransom was an illegal act and an action that would further encourage the perpetrators to continue their nefarious acts.

The Senate passed the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 (Amendment) Bill, 2022, into law (https://punchng.com/just-in-terrorism-act-senate-prohibits-ransom-payment-to-kidnappers/) and particularly amended Section 14.

The section says, “Anyone who transfers funds, makes payment, or colludes with an abductor, kidnapper, or terrorist to receive any ransom for the release of any person who has been wrongfully confined, imprisoned, or kidnapped is guilty of a felony and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than 15 years.”

The minister urged Nigerians to avoid discussing security issues in public or the media because of their implications for thwarting criminals by security agencies.

He said Nigerians should manage the kidnapping situation intelligently and quietly to achieve a productive resolution of the incidents.

On the Ibadan explosion on Tuesday, Badaru noted that a full investigation has commenced to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the tragic incident.

“The governor said a preliminary investigation (https://punchng.com/ibadan-blast-fg-sets-up-committee-to-review-laws-on-explosives/) suggests that there are some explosives around the area that are owned by illegal miners. Well, we have also seen another report suggesting a gas explosion.

“So, our team is there trying to find out what is the cause.

“The council, to be proactive, has already set up a committee to look into how the control of explosive law is broken, if indeed there are explosives around the area where this incident happened.”

(NAN)

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