Armed bandits terrorising different parts of Nigeria have disclosed that they have been receiving arms and ammunition from operatives of the State Security Service and often split ransom payments received at gunpoint.
In the report, the criminals told Deutsche Welle , German News Media in a recent report that they “borrow weapons” from the state agents and then go to work to share ill-gotten gains together.
The story reads in parts, “Criminals ? locally known as bandits ? confided in DW that they borrow weapons from state security officers and then share the income with them after ‘work.’ “
“Even the so-called police, you see, we hire their guns and return them later,” one member of a criminal gang in Niger Delta told DW.
His account is corroborated by retired Admiral John Nicholas Bakpo, a long-serving Nigerian military officer.
“We know them [the bandits], we know where they stay, we know who they are. But the issue is this: Some of these boys were dragged into what they are doing by us. Either because of our political interests or what we wanted to gain,” Bakpo said.
Fatima Ibrahim Mohammed, 23, spent 57 days in the hands of her kidnappers . She was one of 27 students abducted in March from a forestry college in Nigeria’s Kaduna state. “I have been beaten and tortured, especially when they [the bandits] spoke to our parents and came back without good news,” Mohammed told DW.
“We were beaten with sticks or with their guns,” she added.
Because of torture, Mohammed said, she lost her pregnancy. Her father also died while she was in captivity. Neighbors said Mohammed’s father’s death was a result of shock due to the abduction of his daughter.
“I have never lived such life, but God allowed that to happen,” Mohammed said, adding that all abductees were sleeping in an open space under the trees.
Organized crime syndicates have recently adopted a kidnap-and-ransom tactic. The business model has drawn the international community’s attention while forcing state officials to negotiate with criminals and pay them millions of dollars in ransom to secure freedom for many school children.
President Buhari has spoken out against the practice and insinuated that state governors were fueling the crisis.