By Aliyu Dangida
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 for 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 in flushing out the perpetrators of criminal acts in the society.
“Yesterday, we are aware Mr President called us and all the service chiefs to discuss this issue. So, concerted efforts is being done 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 north west 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 fund to pay ransom was an illegal act and an action that would further encourage the perpetrators in their nefarious acts.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Senate had passed the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 (Amendment) Bill, 2022, into law 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 the public or in the media because of its implications on thwarting the criminals by security agencies.
He said Nigerians should manage the kidnapping situation intelligently and quietly to achieve productive resolution of the incidences.
On the Ibadan explosion on Tuesday, Badaru said that a full investigation has commenced to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the tragic incidence.
“The governor said preliminary investigation suggests that there are some explosives around the area that are owned by illegal miners. Well, we have also seen another report suggesting also gas explosion.
“So, our team is there trying to find out what is the course.
“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 incidents happened.”