The Publisher of the Desert Herald newspaper, Tukur Manu, who allegedly negotiated the release of seven victims that were held hostage by the terrorists. The group had attacked a Kaduna train going to Abuja in March, and Manu says he didn’t know that a ransom was paid to facilitate the release of the hostages.
Three days ago, while announcing the release of the hostages, he claimed that money cannot achieve what he has done so far, and he will never involve himself in any thing that has to do with money.
However, the Daily Trust newspaper insists that a N800 million ransom was paid before the victims were released.
Both Nigerian naira and US money were used by the victim families to pay the ransom. Only N200 million of the whole N800 million was paid out in naira, according to one of the people who spoke to Daily Trust.
However, Mr Tukur Manu told PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday afternoon that the report of the ransom payment is not accurate and may have been over exaggerated.
He then seemed to have contradicted himself saying that he did not know that any ransom was paid.
During a telephone interview, he said he facilitated the release of the hostages on the grounds of deteriorating health and he was able to convince them.
Mr Mamu said that he didn’t know how such a big amount of money has been paid as ransom, and he claims that he does not have any knowledge of that payment.
It is not likely that he would agree to or admit that a ransom was paid before the victims were released, and if he knew, as he would be at risk of being charged with aiding and abetting terrorism.