There is confusion in the camps of the parents and the abductors of the 156 pupils of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School, Tegina, in Rafi local government area of Niger State, as the courier sent to deliver the N30 million for the release of the pupils was detained by the bandits who claimed that the ransom money was short by N4.6million.
LEADERSHIP Weekend learnt yesterday that the courier, Kassimu Tegina, was sent with the money through an unnamed negotiator to avoid a repeat of what happened with the N25 million earlier paid as ransom which was said to have been given to the wrong bandits.
The bandits, it was gathered, claimed that the N30 million delivered to them by Kassimu was short by N4.6 million and held him captive along with the children until the money was completed.
“The bandits refused to release the children and also held the man we sent, Kassimu Tegina, with the help of a negotiator. They said the money is less N4.6 million. They insisted we must complete it, and in addition buy six motorcycles,” one of parents of the pupils told our correspondent.
Still recounting their experience, another parent said, “They said as a punishment we must buy six motorcycles and complete the money. We struggled to raise the N30 million and we have exhausted our goodwill to raise the N30million. So, we are confused; they (bandits) are playing on our intelligence. We are going through hell in their hands”.
The Head Teacher of the School, Malam Alhassan Garba Abubakar, who also confirmed to LEADERSHIP Weekend that the N30 million was delivered to the bandits said, “But we are yet to see the person we sent with the money and the children.
“They demanded six Honda motorcycles that cost N490,000 each. That means we need another N6million with the N4.6 million they claimed was short of the N30 million delivered as the latest ransom,” he added.
Alhassan further said the parents had initially raised N20 million as ransom, a with negotiation fee of N5million, making it a total sum of N25 million which was delivered as ransom, but the bandits said it went into wrong hands.
“They (bandits) said we should bring another N30 million before they can release the pupils. After struggling, we were able to get the money and we sent Kassimu.
“I spoke With them today (yesterday) and they said we should complete the money and make six new motorcycles available to them before they can release them. We are tired; we have resigned to God because we cannot raise any other money again”, the Head Teacher lamented.
Our sister publication, LEADERSHIP, had reported that parents of the abducted pupils of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School had raised another N30million through donations from some notable Nigerians to complete the money demanded by bandits as ransom for the release of the schoolchildren.
The abductors of the 156 female pupils had reduced the ransom they demanded from the parents of the girls to N50million, less than half of the initial N200million ransom they demanded for the release of the pupils.
The bandits had reportedly collected N20million but refused to release the school children, saying it went to the wrong set of bandits.
Parents of the pupils were told to pay N30 million earlier in the week but they were able to raise N20million which was collected, but three days later, the bandits after collecting the money refused to release the children.
“They wanted N30 million, we raised N20 million, we gave them the money only for them to say we only gave them money for recharge cards, now three days after, they refused to release our children,” a parent had said.
4 Killed, 11 Abducted In Zamfara
Meanwhile, hundreds of bandits on Thursday night stormed Dansadau town in Zamfara State, killing four persons and abducting eleven.
LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that most of those kidnapped were women and children.
One of those whose wives were kidnapped, Malam Suleiman Umar, said that the bandits who invaded Dansadau town on Thursday night with sophisticated weapons overpowered the security personnel and abducted the 11 people, including his pregnant wife and three children.
He also said a military armoured vehicle was also set ablaze by the criminals, while three soldiers were allegedly killed.
Umar said his wife was eight months pregnant, lamenting that just recently his family was made to pay the sum of N4million to bandits when his elder brother was abducted.
“When my elder brother was abducted, our family paid the sum of N4m before he was released. Now that they took away my eight months pregnant wife and my three children, they called me on phone and asked me to give them N50m”.
But the Zamfara State Police Command said only five people were abducted.
On the alleged killing of three soldiers, the police spokesperson in the state, SP Mohammed Shehu said, “You should please contact the military. It is not police affair”.
Efforts to get the military to react was futile, as the response was that only the Defence headquarters in Abuja has the authority to talk to press regarding this issue.
Husband, Wife in Police Net for Staging Own Kidnap
Police in Niger State attached to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) Minna have arrested a man and his wife for allegedly staging a their own kidnap.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Niger State Command, Wasiu Abiodun, said Mohammed Mohammed aged 39 and Sadiya Ibrahim Umar aged 31, both of Limawa area of Minna planned the kidnap of the woman.
It would be recalled that on July 15 at noon the said Sadiya was reported to have been kidnapped by unknown persons, having boarded a tricycle at Challenge junction Maitumbi going to Old Airport road Minna after closing from work at Umar Bn khattab International School Maitumbi.
The PPRO said; “On 16/07/2021, the father was contacted by an unknown caller demanding N5million ransom which was later reduced to N1million and was dropped at a location in Rafin-yashi, Minna for the anonymous caller.”
“On 21/07/2021 at about 1000hrs, the said Sadiya re-surfaced and was invited by the police for questioning. During interrogation, she confessed to have conspired with her husband ‘Mohammed’ to fake her kidnap and she was taken to Nugupi village via Paiko where she was kept by her husband at his friend’s place.”
According to Wasiu the husband also confessed to have collected the wife’s phone and handed it over to one Abdullahi, his friend who negotiated and collected the ransom on his behalf,
He said the was case under investigation while effort was ongoing to arrest the said Abdullahi, adding that when investigation is completed they would be arraigned in court .
The PPRO advised the members of the public to be calm and not panic at every reported case of crime, especially kidnapping, as some of the alleged crimes especially kidnapping are fake and done with the connivance of family members or close associates for monetary gains.
“This is the third of its kind in recent times where such crimes are faked. However, the police will always be on top of every situation to guarantee security of lives and property of Nigerlites,” he added.