Sani-Bello of Niger has received the 53 abducted passengers of the state-owned Niger State Transport Authority (NSTA) after intense negotiations with their captors, armed bandits.
In Nigeria, governments often deny paying ransoms to kidnappers though they usually do. Mr. Sani-Bello did not say how much the government paid as ransom to the bandits. Mr. Sani-Bello received the abducted passengers at the Government House, Minna, on Sunday at about 11:35 pm.
Armed bandits abducted the NSTA passengers in Rijau on February 14. The passengers were on their way to Minna but intercepted and kidnapped at Kundu Village on Minna-Tegina Road in the Rafi Local Government Area.
The governor revealed that the bandits released the passengers after intense negotiations with the government. “We thank God for helping us to secure their release. We went through one week of consultations and sleepless nights to secure their release,” he said.
He said before they would rejoin their families, the state government must ensure that they undergo a medical checkup.
The released passengers were 20 women, nine children, and 24 men. According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the victims were “all looking tired and hungry, as some of them could barely walk.”
However, the governor claimed that the abducted 27 students of Government Science College, Kagara, had yet to be freed by their captors.