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HomeCrime Kidnappers of CBN Director, 50 others, demand N50m Ransom.

 Kidnappers of CBN Director, 50 others, demand N50m Ransom.

By Luka Binniyat

KADUNA – Retired Central Bank Director Zakaraya Markus, his brother and his brother’s  wife are among 50 persons spending their 12th day as hostages in a Kaduna forest as dickering  over ransom proceeds amid threats,  TruthNigeria has learned. 

Gunmen who attacked villages in Rumaya Chiefdom, Kauru County, in Southern Kaduna, 12 days ago and abducted more than 50 persons are demanding N50 million (US$31,250) ransom, TruthNigeria can confirm. Gunmen on motor bikes invaded  Kwasam communities, Rumaya Chiefdom, Kauru county, about 200 miles of North of Abuja Feb. 17, killing 6 and taking 50 persons as hostages.

Map of Kaur County, courtesy of Maphill.
Map of Kaur County, courtesy of Maphill.

The affected families are Hausa-Muslim converts to Christianity whose ancestors had flee persecution decades ago, hundreds of miles north of Kwasam.  The ancestors fled domination by strict Muslims who punished those leaving Islam with death, according to locals in Kwasam speaking to TruthNigeria on background.

The report also detailed how the kidnappers, said to be Fulani armed herdsmen, carried out further attacks on communities as they herded their captives westward to their camps, leaving a total of 31 deaths and a good portion of Gindin Dutse village some 35 miles from Kwasam in Kachia County burned.

Since the published violence, the fate of the hostages has remained unknown as both Kaduna state and the federal government have not given any update about the situation of the victims.

But the National President of Chawai Development Associate, Dr. Afwai Maza, on Tuesday gave TruthNigeria an update on the grim incident.

“We went to the community (Kwasam) on Sunday to find out what was the new development,” he told our reporter on phone in Kaduna, Monday evening.

“We were told that the bandits contacted the family of the retired CBN worker and told them that they wanted N500 million (US$312,500),” he said.

“They relatives spoke with their kidnapped brothers and were assured that they were all alive, though some said that they were not in good condition of health,” he said.

“They gave two days ultimatum, failure of which they will start killing their hostages,” he said.

According to him, the villagers pleaded for leniency in which the bandits reduced the ransom to N100 million (US$62,500) within two days.

“The families met again and concluded that it was impossible for the communities to generate such funds even within a month,” he said.

“Yesterday, the bandits concluded that they were collecting N50m (US$31,250) and extended the deadline to another two days (Wednesday, 28th February, 2024),” he told TruthNigeria.

A relation of the kidnapped former CBN staff who spoke to TruthNigeria but does not want his name mentioned, blamed the media for the high ransom demanded by the bandits.

“When these criminals started hearing in the media that a former CBN Director was among those kidnapped, they saw a chance to make good money,” he said.

“You people (media) should be ashamed of yourself for not using your “number six” (caution) to know the implication mentioning his name and his rank in his place of work,” he said.

“The only thing that still gives us reason to work hard and be hopeful is that we are sure that all the hostages are alive,” he said.

All entreaties to get official confirmation from Kaduna State Police Command on the latest development did not yield result as the police spokesman,  Mansir Hassan, did not return text inquiries sent to him.

Luka Binniyat is a Kaduna based journalist who writes on crime, politics and social issues for TruthNigeria.

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