No ransom paid for Kaduna school children’s release – FG

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The Federal Government, on Monday, said no ransom was paid for the release of 137 pupils kidnapped from Kuriga, Chikun Local Government Area, Kaduna State.

“In keeping with the commitment of Mr President, no ransom was paid,” the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, told journalists after the Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to Idris, the president appreciated the role of the security services in the safe return of the abductees, vowing that all those involved in the abduction would be fished out and punished.

On March 6, the pupils were kidnapped when terrorists on motorcycles stormed their school, whisking them away in an operation that drew condemnation and outrage from the Presidency and the global community, including the UN children’s welfare agency UNICEF.

However, a statement issued on Sunday by the Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba, said 137 pupils were rescued, contrary to reports of 287.

According to Buba, the pupils were rescued through a joint effort of the military and local authorities in Zamfara State in the early hours of Sunday.

At the time, the Kaduna-based Muslim cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, had offered to dialogue with terrorists who abducted the school children from Kuriga.

Addressing questions raised about the Federal Government engaging cleric, the minister said, “What I can tell you is that the government will stop at nothing to get any kind of information that is required to solve our problems.

“Sheikh Gumi or any other individual for that matter is not above the law. If you have suggestions that are constructive enough for security agencies to take, they will take it.

“But if they think that he is also making some statements that appear to be reckless, he will also be reprimanded.”