By; FUNMI ADERINTO, Kaduna
Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai of Kaduna State, on Tuesday noted that mass abduction was like a novelty in 2014 but the facts have now changed since then, as negotiations and ransoms have not stopped the criminals.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye gave context to a video clip where Governor el-Rufai was seen advocating for all options to ensure the release of the abducted Chibok girls in 2014.
Adekeye said that experience has shown that paying ransom or negotiating with criminals only encourages them, adding that it makes them ‘’to press ahead for a surrender of the public treasury to them. That is clearly not in the public interest.’’
The statement justified Governor El Rufai’s present position of not paying ransom or negotiating with bandits, arguing that ‘’it is only prudent to review one’s position when the facts change, and the suggestion made by a citizen years ago cannot be taken as the immutable answer to a serious problem which has evolved since 2014, no matter the viral replays of the said video clip.’’
According to the Special Adviser, the President Goodluck Jonathan administration denied or doubted that the abduction happened and ‘’that was the context under which civic pressures were brought on the government.’’
‘’Nigeria’s journey since the 2014 Chibok tragedy has proven that the solution to violent crimes, including terrorism and banditry, is a robust response from the state and its coercive agencies.
‘’The quantum of money paid as ransom following many negotiations with bandits have not stopped kidnappings, reduced their frequency or deterred the criminals,’’ Adekeye noted.
The Special Adviser noted that Kaduna State Government has been consistently transparent about its security challenges, adding that ‘’it has supported and continues to resource the security agencies in the state.’’
The statement reiterated that Kaduna state has been ‘’engaging the Federal Government to have security responses that move away from reactive response of repelling bandits towards a comprehensive, proactive offensive that takes the battle to the criminals and uproots them.’’
‘’As a sub-national, with no direct control of any of the security agencies, we cannot make this task more difficult by giving criminals the resources to acquire more arms,’’ Adekeye argued.
The Special Adviser regrets the recent kidnaps and killings of students from tertiary institutions in Kaduna state, ‘’and we sympathize with their families with whom we share the aim of the safe return of all the students.’’
‘’ We mourn the dead students and we offer our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased, he said, reminding that ‘’ the ruthless and heartless resort of the kidnappers to murdering these young persons is part of their effort to further their blackmail and compel us to abandon our ‘no-ransom, no-negotiation’ policy.