GOVERNOR Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has dropped another bombshell in the ongoing Nigerian insecurity soap opera by revealing that the kidnappers were offered money by unnamed persons not to release the 279 schoolgirls the recently abducted.
Yesterday, 279 pupils from Government Girls’ Secondary School (GGSS) Jangebe were released after spending about five days in custody. They were handed to Governor Matawalle at the Government House in Gusau after they were released by bandits who kidnapped them last week.
In what is now becoming a growing trend across Nigeria, armed criminal gangs now kidnap pupils from boarding schools and hold on to them for huge ransom fees. Over the last month, there have been similar abductions in Niger, Katsina and Zamfara states, with bandits carrying out daring raids right under the noses of the security services.
Pointing out that no ransom fee was paid before the Jangebe girls were released, Governor Matawalle said that their abduction was not just a straightforward case of criminality, however. He pointed out that Nigerians will be shocked to know those behind the abductions in Zamfara State.
Releasing another thunderbolt today, Governor Matawalle revealed that while the state government was in negotiation with kidnappers, the armed men were offered money by unnamed persons not to release the girls. He said he would soon reveal the mystery behind the abduction of the girls adding that those instigating criminals should be careful.
Governor Matawalle added: “I didn’t sleep for four days as we worked hard for days to ensure the safe return of the girls to their families. We are using kinetic and non-kinetic approaches and the non-kinetic is working for us because if not, we wouldn’t have successfully negotiated the release of these girls.”
He said he has talked to the relevant security agencies including the police, Department of State Security and the Nigerian Army to discreetly investigate the matter. Governor Matawalle appealed to parents not to remove their children from school as a result of the kidnappings, saying that his government will provide additional security for all the schools across the state.