The seven passengers released by bandits from the dozens abducted during a raid on a train travelling from Abuja to Kaduna on March 28 regained their freedom only after their captors were paid a N200 million ransom, FIJ can report.
They have since released 28 of them in batches: 11 in June, followed by seven in July, three also in July, five in August, and the latest seven on Wednesday.
While the authorities have been evasive on the subject of ransom when announcing the releases, FIJ understands the latest batch, a family of six, paid a ransom of N200 million after multiple pleading, while the seventh abductee, 60-year-old Aisha Hassan, was only released on compassionate grounds due to “life-threatening health challenges”.
“To free six of the abductees, a ransom of N200 million was paid, facilitated by a northern senator I am not allowed to name,” said a source familiar with the matter who asked not to be named.
“They were originally asked to bring N600 million because, ideally, the ransom was meant to be N100 million per person. It was only after much pleading, on the basis that four of them are children, that the bandits accepted to manage N200 million in this instance.
“This means they collected N50 million each for the couple, and N25million each for the four children. That’s the mathematical breakdown of the N200million.”
The freed captives are Abdubakar Idris Garba, his wife Maryam Abubakar Bobo, and their four children: Ibrahim Abubakar Garba (10), Fatima Abubakar Garba (7), Imran Abubakar Garba (5) and Zainab Abubakar Garba (one and a half years old).
Abubakar Idris Garba, a staffer of the National Assembly Service Commission, is the son of Idris Garba, a retired major general of the Nigerian Army who served as military administrator of Kano and Benue states during the regime of Ibrahim Babangida.
Despite the status of his father, FIJ understands the Abubakar Garba family could not raise the money for months, eventually enlisting the support of friends, associates and well-wishers.
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