Niger State Govt Denies Paying Ransom to Three Bandit Groups

Niger State Govt Denies Paying Ransom to Three Bandit Groups

  • A recent publication suggesting that the Niger state government paid ransom to bandits has been debunked
  • The commissioner of local government, chieftaincy affairs, and internal security, Emmanuel Umar, dismissed the report as a hatchet job
  • Umar also asked Nigerlites to ignore the report, stressing that it was a smear campaign against the state government

Minna - The Niger state government has debunked the contents of a recent publication circulating in some social media and online platforms.

The article which was published by the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, FIJ, alleged that the state government secretly paid ransom to three bandit groups, one of which got N67million, for the release of the abducted commissioner for information.

In a statement sent to on Saturday, April 2, the Niger state commissioner of local government, chieftaincy affairs, and internal security, Emmanuel Umar, described the report as “nothing but a lie from the pit of hell.'

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Emmanuel Umar
Commissioner Umar warned Nigerlites to be wary of publications aimed at distracting the Niger state government in its fight against terrorists. Photo credit: @HonEmmanuelUmar
Source: Twitter

Part of the statement read:

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“The state government would have ordinarily ignored such publication which is false, misleading, and untrue in its entirety, but it is necessary to set the record straight, as such misleading information gives undue publicity to the activities of criminals and is capable of ridiculing as well as undermining the efforts government is putting in its fight against banditry and terrorism in the state.
“It would be recalled that the former commissioner for information was abducted in his home in Baban Tunga, Tafa local government area of Niger state, on August 8, 2021. 
“A few hours after his abduction, the terrorists demanded N500 million from his family, which was later reduced to N180 million. 
“The state government immediately mobilized a joint security manhunt of the bandits by blocking all known routes with a view to limiting their movements and sustained pressure in tracking the terrorists for four days in a mountainous area of Tafa axis.

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“Consequently, the frustrated abductors abandoned the said commissioner and he was rescued and returned home to reunite with his family.”

Commissioner Umar said the government will not be cowed or distracted by the publication, describing it as 'misleading, inaccurate and libelous.'

He stated that the state government has a policy of not paying bandits ransom, because the proceeds are used to acquire more arms.

He enjoined members of the public to disregard the report and see it as a move to smear the state government in its determination to flush out terrorists in the state.

Niger state government makes progress in flushing out terrorists

Recall that over 200 bandits were killed in Niger state between Sunday, February 27, and Tuesday, March 1 in a joint security operation.

Umar told journalists during a press briefing in Minna on Wednesday, March 2 that it was a major victory for the state in its fight against terrorists and bandits.

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He said a total of eighty (80) motorcycles were recovered while some cattle were also returned to their owners.

Governor Bello lauds NAF as airstrikes kill 80 terrorists in Niger state

Recently Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger commended the Nigerian Air Force for its gallantry in the ongoing war against terrorists in state.

In a statement sent to by his spokesperson, Mary Noel-Berje, Governor Bello said his administration is not taking for granted the cheering news being received on the war.

He restated his commitment and continued support to all the security agencies to ensure the insecurity in the state becomes a thing of the past.


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