Following the presentation of a United Nations report to the UN Security Council which revealed that Nigeria paid ransom to secure the release of female students kidnapped in Dapchi, Yobe State, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has reiterated his initial claim that no ransom was paid.
Recall that, following the release of 105 of the 110 abducted girls, Mohammed had told Nigerians that no ransom was paid for the girls. He said the kidnap “became a moral burden on the abductors.”
However, a report submitted to the UN Security Council showed that a “large ransom” was paid to free the girls.
“In Nigeria, 111 schoolgirls from the town of Dapchi were kidnapped on 18 February 2018 and released by ISWAP on 21 March 2018 in exchange for a large ransom payment,” the report stated.
The report said such ransom and the predominance of cash economy were enabling the insurgency around the Lake Chad region.
The UN report described as the 22nd Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team related to Resolution 2368 (2017) regarding Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – ISIL – (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities.
The report was signed by Edmund Fitton-Brown, Coordinator, Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, who said the report was “comprehensive and independent”, and Kairat Umarov, Chair, Security Council Committee.
In its reaction to the report, the Nigerian government through the information minister, said it stands by its statement that no ransom was paid.
It described the UN report as a “mere conjecture.”
“It is not enough to say that Nigeria paid a ransom, little or huge. There must be a conclusive evidence to support such claim. Without that, the claim remains what it is: a mere conjecture,” the minister was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesperson, Segun Adeyemi.
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