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My friend donated N50 million out of N60 million ransom demanded by Najeebahs’ kidnappers: Pantami

Mr Pantami said his friend made the donation after he spoke with him.

• January 14, 2024
Minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Pantami

A former communications and digital economy minister, Isa Pantami, on Sunday said one of his friends donated N50 million to complete the 60 million ransom demanded by kidnappers for the release of the five Najeebah’s sisters

On January 9, bandits kidnapped Najeebat, her five sisters and father at Bwari local government Council of the Federal Capital Territory. The father was later released on January 12 to source for N60 million ransom for the girls, while Nejeebah was killed on Saturday as her father made efforts to raise ransom to free them.

Mr Pantami, in a tweet on Sunday, disclosed that his friend, whose name was not mentioned, made the donation to secure the release of the girls after he had a discussion with him.

“I spoke with a friend and a brother who offered to pay the remaining N50 million of the N60m immediately,” Mr Pantami said. “I conveyed the account number of the father of our daughters, Mansoor Al-Kadriyar, to the friend and brother to send the money directly. Any additional amount earlier generated from yesterday, the father can use to treat the daughters and other family members insha Allah.”

The former minister, however, said though he does not support ransom payment to secure release of abducted persons, the killing of Najeebah by her captors and the threat to the lives of her five sisters in captivity made it a difficult issue.

“I am personally not in support of paying ransom to criminals. However, since it became clear, we lost our daughter Nabeeha yesterday, and the five remaining daughters have been threatened, as I spoke with the father on the matter yesterday and today,” said Mr Pantami.

In 2022, the Senate passed the terrorism act prohibiting ransom payment to kidnappers.

Force spokesperson, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, did not pick calls from Peoples Gazette seeking to get comments on the issue.

Mr Pantami’s involvement in raising N50 million ransom had sparked reactions with some applauding his gesture, while some berated him.

Bahsir Ahmad, media aide to former President Muhammadu Buhari, on X said, “following an intervention by Sheikh @ProfIsaPantami, one of his friends has generously agreed to offer the remaining 50 million naira out of the N60 million required to ensure the immediate release of our sister Najeebah and her four siblings from their captors. Thank you Akramakallah.”

@DrOlufunmilayo in a tweet, however, said “this is a professor of cybersecurity and a former minister in charge of our country’s digital data just a few years ago. Here he is openly announcing he and “his friend” (if the friend truly exists), will be sending 50 million naira to terrorist kidnappers.

“Nigeria is now a country where even ex-ministers can do absolutely nothing about insecurity and kidnapping but openly send money to finance terrorism and kidnappers.”

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