In defiance of government warnings against crowd-funding for ransoms, families of abducted victims continue to resort to this practice, fearing the dire consequences if they fail to secure the release of their loved ones. The latest incident involves the release of pupils and teachers from the Apostolic Faith Group of Schools in Emure Ekiti, who were abducted last week.
According to relatives of the victims who spoke to Punch Newspapers, the kidnappers freed the abductees after collecting N15 million and other items, including fried rice, malt drinks, energy drinks, and cigarettes.
While the Proprietor of the school, Gabriel Adesanya, confirmed that a ransom was paid, he did not disclose the exact amount handed over to the kidnappers.
This incident comes in the wake of warnings from the Minister of Defence, Abubakar Badaru, who, a few weeks ago, cautioned against crowd-funding and paying ransom to kidnappers. Badaru acknowledged the high incidence of kidnapping within the Federal Capital Territory area councils and stressed the existing laws against ransom payment.
The Nigeria Police Force has also discouraged Nigerians from engaging in crowd-funding for ransom, describing it as criminal and a contributing factor to the surge in abductions across the country. Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, Bright Edafe, and Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, emphasized the criminality of such practices, condemning them as detrimental to national security.
Despite these warnings, the persistence of crowd-funding for ransom indicates the complex challenges faced by families of victims and raises concerns about the effectiveness of existing measures to combat kidnapping in Nigeria.