U.S., others offer to assist in combating kidnapping

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The Federal Government is reviewing the offer of foreign assistance in the battle against kidnapping and other high-profile crimes.

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Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said the United States and other countries, which he did not name, have offered to assist Nigeria.

He spoke with reporters at the State House, Abuja, after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, which was presided over by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

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According to the minister, the president reiterated his directive that security agencies must ensure the safe return of all kidnapping victims.

Incidences of kidnapping, especially in the North, spiked in the last few weeks.

Last Thursday, 287 pupils were abducted from the Local Education Authority (LEA) primary school in Kuriga, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna.

No fewer than 61 people were abducted by suspected terrorists who attacked the Buda community in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna on Monday.

Also, bandits in Sokoto kidnapped 16 Qur’anic students. In Borno, some women were reportedly kidnapped from their Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camp.

The incident remains controversial, as there is no official confirmation.

Many Nigerians have been calling on the government to seek external support, if necessary, to end the rising insecurity, especially the mass abduction of pupils.

It was the first time the government would inform Nigerians that some foreign countries had offered to assist.

According to Idris, President Tinubu was emphatic that no ransom would be paid.

On foreign assistance, the minister said: “We’re aware that it is not just the U.S. that has offered to help.

“Other countries have also offered to support Nigeria. But what we can tell you is that the government is still reviewing these offers and the position of government will be made known.”.

According to the minister, security agencies are working to rescue those abducted as soon as possible.

He said: “Mr. President reiterated his directive to security agencies and the Ministry of Defense to ensure that our kids are brought back to their homes safely.

“The security agencies are working around the clock. These children and people that have been abducted by criminal elements will be brought back to safety pretty soon.

“Mr. President has also directed that no ransom will be paid by the government to any of these criminal elements. I think it’s important that this be put out there. So it’s important to underscore that the government is not paying anybody any dime.

“The government is optimistic that these children and other people that have been abducted will be brought back to their families in safety.”

Wike: abductions in FCT stage-managed

Also on Wednesday, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, said the security situation in Abuja was improving.

Wike, who appeared alongside FCT Commissioner of Police, Benneth Igweh, before the Senate to give an update on the security situation in the seat of power, said: “I am glad they are all happy with what we have done, what we are going to be doing and they provided some suggestions on the way forward.

“What is important is what the FCT should expect from now: improved security and more infrastructure. You can see what is going on. FCT has been turned into a construction site. Now we have our own Civil Service Commission; we have our permanent secretaries. There are new things in the FCT, and the residents are happy.”

The minister stressed that no society was crime-free.

Wike said: “Most of the kidnapping stories you hear, some of them are stage-managed. There are some internal arrangements.

“You have a housekeeper or a driver who would plot to kidnap the child of their boss. In such a case, what do you expect us to do? What we can do is to ensure that the person kidnapped is released.”

The minister said the two most wanted kidnappers in the FCT have been arrested.

He said: “We are not saying we have gotten to where we want to be, but we are doing a lot and people should acknowledge that what used to be is not what we are seeing now.

“We will continue to do our best to ensure that we provide the best to our people. We cannot assure you that there will be no form of criminality. Nobody can do that, as long as we are humans.”

 

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