The Nigerian presidency on Friday explained how it went to great lengths to secure the safe release of victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack who were abducted by bandits in March, 2022. The efforts included paying the medical bills for delivery of a pregnant terrorist wife and also releasing some of their children from detention.
Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu made the disclosure in an interview with BBC Hausa on Friday.
Mr Shehu noted, however, that despite government’s good fate, the terrorists reneged on their promise to free the victims.
“The terrorist leader demanded the release of his pregnant wife. The government took her to the hospital and she gave birth to twins. He was shown that his wife and children are healthy and they were handed over to his parents,” said Mr Shehu.
In addition, Mr Shehu said Buhari regime sent a plane to fly children of terrorist from Adamawa after they were released just to pacify the terror group.
“During the night, the government sent a plane to pick them up. We expect that if they are given these, they will release all the people they are holding,” Mr Shehu said. “But what happened next was that they said they needed money. So don’t say the government doesn’t have anything.”
Hassan Othman, one of the Kaduna passengers who recently regained his freedom after paying ransom, said the Buhari regime was not involved in securing his release.
Many of the abductees have been released intermittently after their families and associates coughed out huge amounts, some up to hundreds of million-naira.
Peoples Gazette had reported how Nigerian soldiers took cuts in the N100 million ransom paid bandits by one of the passengers, Deji Oyewunmi, a manager at Iris Smart Technologies.
About 31 of the victims remain in the harrowing grip of the terrorists who say they are holding on till the government accede their demands.