How Nigerian Soldiers Shared from N100m Ransom Paid to Bandits to Release Kidnap Victim

Alt: = "Nigerian soldiers at checkpoint"

Exclusive report by Peoples Gazette has exposed how Nigerian soldiers took cuts in the ransom paid by one of the passengers kidnapped by bandits who attacked Kaduna-bound train on March 28

N100 million was paid to the bandits to secure the release of one of the victims released on Sunday, Deji Oyewunmi, a manager at Iris Smart Technologies, an immigration contractor in charge of international passport printing and distribution.

Although others have not disclosed how much they paid, but one said Federal Government played no role in his release, rather aborted the first efforts of his family to secure his release.

Peoples Gazette learnt that Iris Smart Technologies, where Mr Oyewunmi works raised 60 per cent of the ransom, while the remaining 40 per cent was raised by his friends and family.

Two people directly involved in the fund-raising and release activities told The Gazette how Nigerian soldiers partook of the ransom.

“After we did all the consultations and we arranged. the N100 million cash for the bandits, we met some Nigerian soldiers at several checkpoints leading to the forests in Kajuru, and they collected large amounts ranging from N100,000 to N220,000,” a source familiar with the matter said. “They were boldly telling us that it was their share of the ransom and the bandits would understand.” 

“We were short about N700,000 from the N100 million by the time we got to the bandits,” the source added. “We were all ashamed that Nigerian soldiers had the audacity to openly collect their own share because they were laughing and mocking us at the checkpoints that it was their own share of the ransom we were taking to the bandits,” of the source told the Gazette.

Another source said: “Some of the soldiers said they were sent to guard the forests in Niger, Kaduna and other states because of bandits but they were not properly armed and no food for them,” the source said. “They said the military generals abandoned them in the forests to the awareness of even the bandits.”

A spokesman for the Nigerian Army did not return requests from Peoples Gazette seeking comments regarding the allegations.

This is not the first time Nigerian soldiers are being accused of working with bandits, kidnappers.

The Prelate of Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Samuel Uche, who was kidnapped in Abia State in May, alleged that soldiers at checkpoint were providing shield for Falani herdsmen who kidnapped him near the checkpoint.

Also in May, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Leo Irabor lamented the increase in cases of military personnel conniving with terrorists and bandits in the country.

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