Nasir el-Rufai, the Kaduna State Governor, has said he would prefer losing some of the kidnapped students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation in the process of fighting their abductors to the ransom negotiation adopted to facilitate their release.
El-Rufai said would prefer ‘killing’ the abductors of the students to paying them ransom.
The Governor added that it would be only be a collateral damage if the students were killed while trying to save them because Kaduna is at war.
He said this while speaking at online an event tagged: ‘Developing a Viable Nation 2’ hosted by Ituah Ighodalo, Pastor of Trinity House Church.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State says he was willing to allow some students to die in the process of attacking bandits. He says it would be considered as collateral damage because Kaduna is at war. https://t.co/AeMKb2ihjU pic.twitter.com/qH22cnNyzy
— Eniola Akinkuotu (@ENIBOY) May 7, 2021
“Two days after the abduction of the Afaka young people, I was assured by the air force and the army that they knew where the kidnappers were with the students and they had encircled them,” he said in a video of the event that is now going viral on social media.
“We were going to attack them. We would lose a few students but we would kill all the bandits and we would recover some of the students. That was our plan. That was the plan of the air force and the army… But they slipped through the cordon of the army. That is why they were not attacked.”
“We know it is risky, we know in the process we may lose some of the abductees but it is a price we have to pay. This is war, there will always be collateral damage in war and we will rather do that than pay money because paying money has not solved the problem anywhere in the world.”
Overnight on March 12, unknown gunmen whisked away 39 college students to a forest. Hours after their abduction, a video surfaced online showing how the students were being caned and cowed in the bandits’ den.
Their abductors had demanded N500 million ransom but the Kaduna State Government vowed not to negotiate with them. Although the state and the federal governments promised to rescue them, not much has been heard regarding there whereabouts.
The Kaduna State government has been criticised for its unwillingness to negotiate with the kidnappers. El-Rufai had been pilloried for insisting that negotiating with bandits is synonymous to merchandising terrorism.
On Wednesday, 27 of the remaining kidnapped 29 students regained their freedom after 56 days in captivity.
The release of the students was facilitated by the Sheikh Abubakar Gumi Dialogue Committee with support from former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Be the first to receive special investigative reports and features in your inbox.