The Federal Government says ransom payment is escalating insecurity in the country as kidnappers use the ransom to equip and rearm themselves.
The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba who made this disclosure to journalists, said efforts were being made to rescue the kidnapped students in the North.
According to him, negotiations for ransom had to stop because as it has been established that ransom payment is fueling and escalating insecurity in the country.
“We have held several meetings with our security personnel and that whole region.
“Insecurity at the school level, you may understand stems from insecurity around the area. Before we had Chibok, there was Boko Haram in the area.
“As bandits appeared they started striking randomly at some of our schools from Jengave, Kangara. You know everywhere and the places where they have had to go, we have pursued them.
“But the containment policy of the military is actually in response to what we also did as the humanitarian element that surrounds it, because the way the military will engage bandits once they have our citizens will not be the same way they will engage them ordinarily.
“Therefore, they may not just go into the forest shooting at everything or everybody they see and that has enabled the bandits use some of our citizens as human shields.
“We are constrained to stop negotiations with bandits because we have seen that every time they get any payment, it leads to further escalation because they reequip and they rearm and then they go back,” the minister said at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“We are continuously engaging, there is no such thing as federal government not engaging, almost day and night we are engaging.
“From anywhere that we are in the world we are trying to engage and I’m just trying to assure Nigerians that as distressing as it is, we are on top of it.
“We will keep doing all that we can possibly do to get our children and keep our students safe,”Nwajiuba said.
On the measures to ensure that federal government schools are not attacked by bandits, the minister said: “I had already said that the whole of government approaches to security exercise is not just limited to our schools.
“We are constantly policing each of our parameter areas. As far as we are concerned, we have policemen, we have Civil Defence, we are collaborating with the Ministry of Interior, the police to have personnel, boots on ground everywhere.
“So what we have done is to look at the radius from response time at the security agency stations to where the schools are, and if it exceeds the maximum reaction time that the military and us have worked out, we close down those schools.
“We have them come and recite with or co-locate them with schools that are within the prescient of what we determined are safe at the moment.”