Inside Story

Can school kidnappings in Nigeria be stopped?

Governor insists no ransom was paid saying so-called ‘repentant bandits’ helped to secure their release.

Nigeria’s government is hailing the safe return of the latest group of kidnapped schoolchildren.

Gunman released 279 girls who were taken from their school in northwestern Zamfara state on Friday.

The governor insists no ransom was paid, saying so-called “repentant bandits” helped to secure their release. However, abductions in northern Nigeria are becoming more common and lucrative.

A security firm based in Lagos says kidnappers have received at least $11m between 2016 and March 2020.

Can anything be done to break the cycle?

Presenter: Rob Matheson


Mike Ejioform – former director of Nigeria’s State Security Service

Aliyu Musa – independent researcher in conflict studies

Bulama Bukarti – analyst, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change