Terrorists were reportedly paid a ransom of N200 million to release the kidnapped passengers of the Abuja-Kaduna train recently freed by abductors, according to FIJ.
Source tell Naija247News on Wednesday reported that four children and three adults among the passengers abducted on a Kaduna-bound train in March 2022 were released.
The passengers freed on Wednesday include a family of six.
The children were among the 65 passengers abducted when the terrorists bombed the rail track, killing eight passengers and injuring several others on March 28, 2022.
A Kaduna-based publisher, Tukur Mamur, who negotiated the release of some of the passengers, announced on Wednesday in a statement that the children and their parents were released after the intervention of Sheik Ahmad Gumi.
The terrorists have since released 28 of them in batches: 11 in June, followed by seven in July, three also in July, five in August, and the latest seven on Wednesday.
While the authorities have refused to disclose if ransoms are paid to secure the release of kidnapped Nigerians, FIJ has learnt that the most recent group, a family of six, paid a ransom of N200 million after making many pleas. The seventh abductee, a 60-year-old woman named Aisha Hassan, was only released on compassionate grounds due to “life-threatening health challenges”.
“To free six of the abductees, a ransom of N200 million was paid, facilitated by a northern senator I am not allowed to name,” FIJ quoted a source privy to the negotiation to have said.
“They were originally asked to bring N600 million because, ideally, the ransom was meant to be N100 million per person. It was only after much pleading, on the basis that four of them are children that the bandits accepted to manage N200 million in this instance.
“This means they collected N50 million each for the couple, and N25 million each for the four children. That’s the mathematical breakdown of the N200 million.”
The freed captives are Abdubakar Idris Garba, his wife Maryam Abubakar Bobo, and their four children: Ibrahim Abubakar Garba (10), Fatima Abubakar Garba (7), Imran Abubakar Garba (5) and Zainab Abubakar Garba (one and a half years old).
Others include Fatima Abubakar Garba (7), Imran Abubakar Garba (5), and youngest Zainab Abubakar Garba, who is only one and half years old.
Abubakar Idris Garba, an employee of the National Assembly Service Commission, is the son of Idris Garba, a retired major general of the Nigerian Army who served as military administrator of Kano and Benue states during the regime of Ibrahim Babangida.
Despite the status of his father, FIJ understands the Abubakar Garba family could not raise the money for months, eventually soliciting funds from friends and loved ones.