According to the report by US media outlet, Wall Street Journal, the ransom payment was a desperate deal that was brokered while President Muhammad Buhari was planning on making a trip to Katsina state.
The publication stated;
A kidnapping gang encamped in Nigeria’s Rugu forest had seized an antiaircraft gun in a clash
with a military unit. That posed a threat to President Muhammadu Buhari, who had been planning to fly to his hometown (Katsina State) about 80 miles away, and the government needed to buy it back.
N20 million cash was delivered to the bandits in Rugu Forest by a Nigerian Air Force official, who leaked details of the operation under anonymity, “because the military realised that it would be too risky to leave the weapon in the hands of violent criminals operating in an area the presidential jet would fly over”, WSJ reports.
It further stated;
The masked men emerged from the forest on motorbikes, surrounding a young intelligence officer clutching a cash-filled bag. The ransom, nearly $50,000 in crisp Nigerian bank notes, wasn’t for a person, but to retrieve a weapon that directly threatened the country’s president.
A gun truck with 12.7 caliber anti-aircraft fire was reportedly disassembled and transported back to the military on motorbikes after the deal was concluded.
However, it did not specify when the deal was
brokered or the presidential trip that was planned.
The president has been in his hometown at least twice this year that his office disclosed to the public. The first trip was in late January and another in July.
The jungle that covers parts of Kaduna, Zamfara and the president’s home state of Katsina has served as a vast haven for bandits terrorising Nigeria’s northwestern communities.
A large portion of kidnapping plots emanates or terminates in or around the forest, security agencies have previously warned.