The Nigerian Police Force has said crowdfunding on social media to pay ransom for kidnapped persons is a criminal activity.
Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi who said this during a Channels Television appearance on Thursday, added that it is frowned upon by the Federal Government .
“It is criminal, it is not allowed. It is condemned. Even the federal government condemned the act. Crowdfunding is not allowed,” he said.
Adejobi said sourcing for money to secure the release of victims of kidnap weakens the morale of the police force and kills the system.
“How can you come on social media and be telling people to gather money to go and rescue victims? It kills our morals; it kills the system.
“We should not encourage that. The more we encourage payment of ransom, it makes that dirty business lucrative,” he added.
His stance aligns with that of other senior officials of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration, including defence minister Abubakar Badaru and FCT minister Nyesom Wike, who have repeatedly emphasised allowing law enforcement to handle cases of kidnap and abduction.
Their position is strengthened by the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 (amended in 2022), section 14 of which says “anyone who transfers funds, makes payment or colludes with an abductor, kidnapper or terrorist to receive any ransom for the release of any person who has been wrongfully confined, imprisoned or kidnapped is guilty of a felony and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than 15 years.”
Speaking on the root cause of the rise in kidnappings, he said, “In most cases, it is the topography of some of these areas. Take Bwari, for instance. Even in Lagos, the kidnapping there; take a look at the waterways. People don’t know that the waters from Lagos lead to Delta, Bayelsa, and Port Harcourt.
“As for Ekiti, it is a forest. Forget about what you read on social media. In reality is it is not so. It is just an isolated case, and it is not as if it happens on a daily basis.
“We have cases that are isolated, but when you read them on social media, you would think it is not what we have on social media.
“So we don’t have that incident of kidnapping on the rise in Ekiti or anywhere in the southwestern part of the country.”
Recall that two monarchs, the Onimojo of Imojo-Ekiti, Oba Olatunde Samuel Olusola and the Elesun of Esun-Ekiti, Oba David Babatunde Ogunsola, were killed on Monday while returning from a security meeting.