Kaduna State chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Joseph Hayab, has called on Nigerians to henceforth protect themselves from kidnappers and stop paying ransom.
Hayab, who was among those, who negotiated the release of the six female students and two staff of Engravers College, Kakau Daji, Kaduna State, on Saturday, said in an interview that communities should mobilise and defend themselves against bandits terrorising them.
The clergyman said the intervention of some well meaning Nigerians, who raised additional N10 million made it possible for the release of the students.
The bandits had refused to release the girls after collecting a ransom of N3.6 million, paid to them about two weeks ago, insisting on additional N10 million.
“Nigerians should not continue to be impoverished by the nefarious activities of bandits, saying all hands must be on deck to uproot such evil from the society. From now henceforth, people should protect themselves and we must not give kidnappers any money.
“Communities must defend themselves against these bandits terrorising them and stop giving them money, because the more we give them money, the more we are encouraging them to continue to perpetrate this evil.
“We did our best to get these children out and we have learnt too many lessons. We are just enriching the kidnappers and encouraging them to continue with this evil over and over again,” he said.
Going forward, he warned that CAN would no longer support the payment of ransom to kidnappers and would continue to call on the authorities to live up to their responsibility of protecting lives and property of citizens.
“We, in CAN, will continue to shout and call on government to be responsible to security matters. We will not support giving kidnappers money”.
Hayab urged owners of schools to take adequate security measures to protect their schools, “because these kidnappers are out for a serious business and we must not give them space.”
Kidnapping had scaled up lately with the recent abduction of an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Musa Rabo in Kaduna and a Federal High Court Judge in Ondo State, Justice Abdul Dogo, both of whom were believed to have regained freedom after ransom was paid.
Although the authorities had claimed to be looking into the security situation in the country, their efforts appear not to be paying off yet as activities of men of the underworld have increased over time.