Some friends and colleagues of Major Christopher Datong, who has spent 17 days in the captivity of the bandits who attacked the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna State, are making frantic efforts to rescue him, including raising a ransom.
According to an exclusive report by SaharaReporters Datong’s military friends are keeping their ransom efforts as anonymous as possible in order not to incur punishments from the military authorities which are still bent on an obviously failed option of search-and-rescue.
A top military source which confided in SaharaReporters informed a ransom was being prepared among his friends in the Nigerian Army to be paid to the bandits through some religious negotiators.
SaharaReporters had on August 25 reported that the bandits after abducting Datong got across to the military authorities to demand a ransom of N200million to free him.
SaharaReporters had also reported that troops of the Nigerian Army and military aircraft searching for Major Datong, were having a tough time.
“The plan is to get Datong out first by all means. I mean; all means. Chris’ friends are not quiet. A lot is going on underground. But you know the nature of the abduction is embarrassing. It involves a military officer; it involves a military establishment. Some of his friends want to pay money to get him out.
“The names and details with the money are secret. The family members are not involved so as not to implicate any officer. But efforts are on,” the source said.
The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, in an initial release by Maj Gen Benjamin Sawyer, the Director, Defence Information, had stated that a board of enquiry was looking at the breach of security at the NDA.
“Let me use this opportunity, to reiterate that the NDA authorities, acting on the directive of the Chief of Defence Staff has constituted a board of enquiry to ascertain the remote and immediate cause(s) of the breach of security with a view to sanction any personnel found culpable and also prevent future occurrence.
“Let me also assure that we shall continue to update the general public as events unfold as we are all aware the search and rescue of the abducted officer is still on. Troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria will continue with its operations to ensure all those involved in the dastardly act are brought to justice,” he had said.
SaharaReporters had earlier reported that Datong is still alive, according to a family source.
A family member of the officer had told SaharaReporters on Wednesday that contrary to reports, he had not been killed and he was still alive.
On September 2, the military high command had during a briefing refused to give details of the condition of the Major.
When asked on the whereabouts of the kidnapped Major at a press briefing at the Defence headquarters, Abuja, on Thursday, Brig Gen. Benard Onyeuko, acting director of Defence Media Operations, said the military would keep Nigerians posted.
“That has been over-flogged; we all know the actions taken so far. We will wait for the outcome of the panel set up and the board of enquiry; we will keep you posted on that,” he had said.
Bandits have constituted serious menace in the north eastern part of Nigeria especially with daily abductions and killings by the Fulani bandits with the governments helpless.