Following media reports that elder statesman Dr.Shettima Ali Monguno was freed by his captors upon the payment of a N20 million ransom, Governor Kashim Shettima, who visited Monguno’s Government Reservation Area (GRA) residence at about 1pm yesterday, told journalists no ransom was paid for his release.
“They (abductors) contacted his family after several appeals from Nigerians for his release. But his family also made an appeal to the abductors to release him. They sent words that he should be picked in the morning, so we sent his personal aides with a vehicle to get him home,” he said.
On whether ransom was paid, Shettima said: “The family does not have the capacity to pay ransom. Obviously Monguno was a philanthropist, who had spent all he had in the cause of humanity. So the issue of money was out of it because the family had no money to pay. It is just that the abductors decided to release him after numerous appeals from Nigerians.”
Monguno, 87, also appeared frail and tired as the governor spoke to him. Some of his relatives were seen weeping at the residence, but he tried to console them by saying: “They did not kill me, so don’t cry.”
Governor Shettima also appealed to members of the Boko Haram sect to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue.
“I want to appeal again to the Boko Haram sect members to lay down their arms for the sake of peace and unity of the various ethnic and religious groups in the state,” he said.
“Let’s pray so that peace could be restored in this state and the entire Northern part of this country. The media has also managed very well the crises of the abduction and eventual release of our father and elder statesman today.”