The Nigerian Presidency has said it was outsmarted by terrorists in the government’s negotiation for the release of kidnapped Abuja-Kaduna passengers still in captivity.
The Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in an interview published by BBC Hausa, said the government gave in to the demands of the terrorists until they realised the government was being played.
Terrorists on March 28, 2022, attacked a Kaduna-bound train, killing no fewer than eight persons and kidnapping scores of others, some of whom have been released.
Relations of many of those released by the terrorists have had to pay huge ransoms, some as high as N100 million.
During a meeting with the relations of the abducted victims on Thursday, President Buhari said the government was working to secure the release of their loved ones.
There are said to be 31 persons still in the den of the terrorists.
However, Shehu, who said the government had been working to secure the release of the victims, admitted that negotiation had been ongoing between the Buhari government and the terrorists.
“Whoever says the government is not doing anything or not making effort to rescue them probably does not know what the government is doing to rescue the victims.
“Don’t forget that right from the start, the leader of the terrorists demanded that his pregnant wife should be released from captivity. The federal government took the woman to the hospital where she gave birth to twins. And after she gave birth, he was shown that both his wife and children were in a good condition and then they were handed over to his parents.
“After handing them over, the terrorists came up with a different issue that there were about six or seven of their children in Yola, Adamawa, and the government sent a plane to pick them up.
“We expected that when we gave them the children, they would release all the victims in their custody. Then, they demanded money.
“So, people should not say the government is not doing anything to secure their release.”