The Minister of Defence, Abubakar Badaru, has issued a stern warning against the public crowd-funding of kidnap ransom through social media.
Speaking after the Federal Executive Council meeting, he emphasized that such actions are illegal and counterproductive.
The caution comes in the wake of recent kidnap incidents in Abuja, where victims’ families resorted to online crowd-funding to meet ransom demands.
Recommended for you
In one case, kidnappers increased their initial demand of N60 million to N100 million per victim after online contributions were initiated.
Badaru termed the situation unfortunate and urged Nigerians to refrain from publicizing such activities, as it encourages kidnappers and exacerbates the security challenges.
He noted that ongoing operations against kidnappers and bandits in neighbouring states have led to an upsurge in abductions in the suburbs of Abuja.
Highlighting the existing law against ransom payment, Badaru urged citizens to manage kidnapping situations intelligently and quietly, emphasizing that publicizing and fundraising through media platforms are counterproductive.
The Minister assured the public that security agencies are determined to address the root causes of kidnapping and end the menace, with the support of President Bola Tinubu.
His words: “In FCT, these kidnappings happen around the suburbs, around now and locations that are bordering Kaduna and Niger States. And this is as a result of the current operations going on in the northwest and some parts of northcentral.
“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 their movements and finish this thing once and for all.
“The president has given us the marching order and all the support that we need and what the security agencies need to end this thing.
“On crowd-funding, we all know there’s an existing law against payment of ransom. So, it is very sad for people to go over the internet, radio asking for donations to pay ransom. This will only worsen the situation, it will not help the situation at all as you have seen.
“Initially, they asked for N60 million, and now, because of this funding and I learnt somebody has raised N50 million already through friends and media, they jacked up the ransom.
“We believe we have to stop it, as painful as it is. We have to stop responding to payment of ransom. If we stop, over time, the kidnapping will not be profitable and they will stop.
“It is not easy, though, but that is the law that you know. So we want to call on the people to manage the kidnapping situation intelligently and very quietly because talking too much about it, most especially raising funds through the public media, is not productive at all and should be discontinued.”