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Day 5 of Gen. Nelson-Williams kidnapping saga…

Police unaware of ransom demand, ex-governor condemns action

July 5, 2016

While rumours have been rife that the kidnappers of Sierra Leone Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Retired Major-General Alfred Nelson-Williams had demanded millions of dollars as ransom, a Kaduna State security official, Yusuf Yakubu Soja was quoted by the French News Agency AFP saying they were not aware of any ransom demand.

“We are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the kidnap. We want to establish whether he had security escorts with him and what happened to them,” Soja said, adding “I’m not aware of any ransom demand.”

Also, according to the Guardian Newspaper in Nigeria, former Governor of Kaduna State and opposition party leader, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, condemned the kidnap of the Deputy High Commissioner. He urged the Federal Government to immediately curb the rate of insecurity in the nation, particularly kidnapping, as the phenomenon has now been internationalised.

Condemning the abduction of the envoy along the Kaduna-Abuja highway, Musa said it was an embarrassment to Nigeria, as “the war against insecurity seems not to be working.”

Major General Nelson Williams was kidnapped last Friday in Nigeria, a security official said, confirming the latest high-profile kidnapping in the West African country.

He was kidnapped as he was travelling by road from the Nigerian capital, Abuja, north to Kaduna, a city some 200 kilometres away.

“He was kidnapped on his way to Kaduna from Abuja to attend the passing out ceremony of military officers at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Jaji outside Kaduna,” said Kaduna state security official Yusuf Yakubu Soja to AFP.

According to the Guardian, all effort at tracing the Deputy High Commissioner’s whereabouts has not yielded result, just as officials of Kaduna State Government have not reacted to the unfortunate situation.

A top official of the state Government, who pleaded anonymity, told The Guardian that “the state Government cannot react to this diplomatic matter because it is beyond our purview. It has to do with high security and diplomatic issue and we hope the matter is being handled at the appropriate quarters. There is nothing we can say for now at the level of the state government. And we don’t even know exactly where he was kidnapped along the highway, whether it was Abuja, Niger State or the Kaduna axis. So, you have to wait for the Federal Government. I am sure investigation is going on.”

Alhaji Musa called on the Federal Government to immediately step up security in the country to give confidence to the international community on the safety of all diplomats in Nigeria, the guardian had reported.

He said the kidnap of the Sierra Leonean envoy might further erode government’s effort at attracting foreign investment.

Meanwhile, an official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Freetown, who declined to be named, said negotiations were still ongoing with the kidnappers, adding that they were hopeful that the envoy would be release unharmed as the Nigeria Government was doing everything to ensure his safe release.

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