Mr. Bulama Bukarti, a senior analyst at the Tony Blair Institute, has said a family member of Alwan Ali-Hassan, the managing director of Bank of Agric released by terrorists on Wednesday, confirmed to him that N100 million was paid in cash to the terrorists to secure his release.
Ali-Hassan who was one of the tens of people kidnapped by the terrorists who attacked a Kaduna bound train on Monday, March 28, was released on Tuesday after nearly a week in captivity.
He was the first and the only person to be released by the terrorists, and sources have said the kidnappers only agreed to release him after collecting ransom.
In a tweet via his Twitter handle, @bulamabukarti, on Thursday Bukarti, who has been covering insecurity in the North for long periods, said “A family source confirmed to me that N100m, in cash, was paid for the release of the MD of Bank of Agric. The crazy money terrorists are making in Nigeria! This problem will simply keep growing. Not only are there no consequences to terrorism, but it also pays handsomely. It’s sad.”
A family source confirmed to me that N100m, in cash, was paid for the release of the MD of Bank of Agric. The crazy money terrorists are making in Nigeria! This problem will simply keep growing. Not only are there no consequences to terrorism, but it also pays handsomely. It’s sad.
Meanwhile, the terrorists, have threatened to kill the remaining captives if the federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, fails to meet their demands.
In a video released on Wednesday, the armed men said they were not interested in money, adding that the Federal Government knows what they were asking for.
The video, which was less than two minutes, had four of the bandits with Mr. Alwan, apparently moments before his release.
One of them, who spoke in Hausa, said the MD was released due to his age and in the spirit of Ramadan.
The terrorists, clad in military uniforms, made the video at the Forward Operational Base in Polwire, Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State, which was attacked on Monday.
One of the Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) that was burnt during the attack was used as a background in the video.
“We are the group that kidnapped passengers on the train a few days ago. Among them is this man that was pleading with us due to his old age and we felt pity for him due to the month of Ramadan, so, we want to give him back to his family.”
“But the government should not misunderstand this, as it is a gesture we made because of the pity we had on him.”
The bandits then asked the MD to make some remarks. Speaking briefly, Hassan said he was released out of pity.
“I want to witness to everyone that they took pity on me due to my old age. I was told to go out but I want to assure everyone that I left a huge number of people behind and they are in a situation that requires help for them to be released fast. I hope that government will meet the head of this group to release them as soon as possible,” he said
One of the bandits added, “I want to reiterate that what he said is true. Don’t try to investigate us immediately or to rescue them because killing them is not an issue for us. We don’t want your money, if we want money, we wouldn’t have carried out the attack. You know what we want,” he said