President Muhammadu Buhari has been accused by former President Olusegun Obasanjo of paying ransoms to kidnappers.
Buhari has publicly spoken against the payment of ransom, warning governors against encouraging bandits and kidnappers through negotiation.
The ex-president spoke when he played host to members of Tiv professionals Group (TPG) at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Wednesday.
According to Obasanjo, not just the government of Buhari but that of former President Goodluck Jonathan negotiated with kidnappers, though they deny doing so.
He said, “Government has always paid ransom. Not only this government, even during Jonathan (administration). They paid ransom, but they deny it.”
Neither Buhari nor Jonathan has responded to Obasanjo’s claim.
However, Obasanjo asked the government to develop a means to deal with kidnappers and bandits as against ransom payment.
He equally insisted that fighting insecurity to a standstill requires a “carrot and stick” approach.
The former President said, “Some people are still reaching out, and hoping that lives can still be saved. But a situation whereby anybody thinks paying ransom is the way out, that person is folly. He is a folly. This is because when you pay ransom, you encourage. But if you are not going to pay ransom, you must have the means to deal heavily with it. You must have the stick to deal with it.”
Obasanjo was reportedly instrumental to the release of the 27 students abducted from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna State.