Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said both President Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, paid ransom to kidnappers but denied it.
He said this on Wednesday at his Penthouse residence within the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital while playing host to members of Tiv professionals Group led by Prof Zacharys Anger Gundu.
“Some people are still reaching out, and hoping that lives can still be saved. But a situation whereby anybody thinks paying ransom is the way out, that person is folly. He is a folly. This is because when you pay ransom, you encourage. But if you are not going to pay ransom, you must have the means to deal heavily with it. You must have the stick to deal with it,” he said.
“Government has always paid ransom. Not only this government, even during Jonathan (administration). They paid ransom, but they denied it.”
Obasanjo also expressed optimism that Nigeria would get it right in its fight against insecurity. He also cautioned those agitating for secession to think about members of the minor ethnic groups.
“Where do we want those minor groups to stand? Wherever they stand, now they are by virtue of Nigeria’s present situation a little bit protected. But if Nigeria breaks up and they are in a smaller country, they will be oppressed. They will always be exterminated. Are we thinking of that?
“I believe that if we will get it right in Nigeria, any leader must look at Nigeria with the prism of the diversity of Nigeria. For as long as you look at Nigeria with the prism of your ethnic group, then you aren’t going anywhere, either your ethnic group or religious group,” he said.
“But is there hope? There is hope.”