Lawal Dogara, village head of Dan-Aji community in Faskari local government area of Katsina state, says N6.6 million was paid to secure the release of the 26 girls that were abducted from the village on October 13.
Dogara was reacting to the claim made by the Zamfara state government that it secured the release of the victims through negotiation and that no ransom was paid.
The girls were said to have been picked randomly from different houses in the community and were rescued from a forest in Zamfara state.
Zailani Bappa, special adviser to the governor on public enlightenment, media and communication, had said the girls were released on November 6 after negotiations with the armed bandits.
“I interacted with 26 rescued girls after medical professionals have ascertained their physical and mental fitness following days of trauma suffered in kidnappers den,” Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara, had also tweeted.
“The young girls kidnapped from Katsina State were rescued on 6/11/2020 as a result of our intervention.”
But speaking with reporters on Monday, Dogara countered the state government’s claim, saying the victims’ release was made possible by the efforts of their parents and the community.
Dogara said N6.6 million was paid as ransom to rescue the girls, adding that the money was handed over to two community leaders — Abdulkarim Dan Aji and Liman Babangida Dan-Aji — who delivered the ransom to the kidnappers after trekking for three days into the forest.
“Governor Matawalle was never involved in their release; it was purely efforts of the parents and the community leaders that secured the victims’ release,” Dogara said.
“The governor of Zamfara state should stop claiming credit for the release of our women, because we paid for their release.”
The village head also said during the attack on the community, 15 persons were killed and houses razed by the kidnappers.