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Insecurity: Obasanjo Faults Govt’s Approach Of Ransom Payment, Says It’s Wrong


Former president of Nigeria, Olusegun ObasanjoFormer Nigeria’s President, Olusegun Obasanjo has slammed the federal government over the payment of ransom to bandits for the release of kidnapped children and youths across the country.

Obasanjo in his statement on Wednesday said the approach of paying ransom by the federal government for the release of abducted Nigerians won’t stop kidnapping.

He stressed that the government’s approach to the issue of banditry and kidnapping is wrong, while also maintaining that it encouraged criminals indulging in the act.

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Obasanjo spoke on Wednesday at his Penthouse residence within Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, while playing host to members of Tiv Professionals’ Group led by Prof. Zacharys Anger Gundu.

He, however, submitted that the government must develop the means to deal with kidnappers and bandits heavily in place of ransom payment.

According to him, former President, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari paid ransom to kidnappers but they denied it.

Obasanjo said he did not believe in payment of ransom to kidnappers and banditry, maintaining that it encouraged criminals indulging in the act.

He insisted that the federal government must devise ways to deal with kidnappers and bandits heavily other than the payment of ransom.

Read Also: Bandits Threaten To Kill 17 Greenfield Students If N100m Ransom Is Not Paid

Obasanjo noted;

Some people are still reaching out and hoping that lives can still be saved; but a situation whereby anybody thinks paying ransom is the way out, that person is folly. He is a folly. This is because when you pay ransom, you encourage; but if you are not going to pay ransom, you must have the means to deal heavily with it. You must have the stick to deal with it. Government has always paid ransom. Not only this government, even during (Goodluck) Jonathan (administration). They paid ransom, but they denied it.

He insisted that it required a “carrot and stick” approach to fight insecurity challenges to a standstill.

Speaking on the forthcoming 2023 elections, Obasanjo said leaders must ensure the election birthed the emergence of a new federation in Nigeria; otherwise the country might be “sliding into grand dissolution.”

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He bemoaned insecurity challenges and insisted that 2023 must mark a watershed for Nigeria.

While relaying the position of a military friend, Obasanjo expressed fears that those beating drums of division in Nigeria didn’t think about the interest of the minority ethnic groups.

He added;

And he would say to me if the Yoruba can stand as a country, if the Igbo can stand as a country, if the Hausa/Fulani can stand as a country, if you, major tribes, decide to break up from the country, where do you want the minority ethnic groups to stand? That, many Nigerians don’t know about, unfortunately.

Where do we want those minor groups to stand? Wherever they stand, now they are by virtue of Nigeria’s present situation a little bit protected. But if Nigeria breaks up and they are in a smaller country, they will be oppressed. They will always be exterminated. Are we thinking of that?

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