Nigerian kidnappers demand 1-billion naira for release of 286 hostages

2024-03-13 15:56:15

BusinessLIVE

Kaduna, Nigeria -- Gunmen who kidnapped 286 pupils and staff from a school in northern Nigeria last week have demanded altogether 1-billion naira ($620,432) for their release, say a spokesperson for the families of the hostages and a local councillor.

The pupils and school staff members were abducted on March 7 in the town of Kuriga, in Nigeria's northwestern state of Kaduna in the first mass kidnapping in the country since 2021.

Jubril Aminu, a community leader who acts as a spokesperson for the families of the hostages, said he received a call on his phone from the kidnappers on Tuesday.

Aminu said: "They gave an ultimatum to pay the ransom within 20 days, effective from the date of the kidnap. They said they will kill all the students and the staff if the ransom demand is not met."

Idris Ibrahim, a Kuriga ward councillor, confirmed the ransom demand and the amount. "Yes, the kidnappers called the community through Jubril Aminu's number and made the demand," he said.

"They called from a hidden number but the authorities are working on getting the number," Ibrahim said.

He said that the security forces were taking "adequate measures" to secure the release of the students.

Samuel Aruwan, internal security and home affairs commissioner in Kaduna state, did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment on the kidnap demands.

The ransom demand amounts to more than $2,000 a hostage, or more than the annual per capita income in Nigeria, according to IMF figures.

2024-03-13 News