Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra state, has faulted the alleged payment of ransoms to rescue persons abducted by bandits.
Obi, who was a vice-presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, said Nigeria is not progressing because bandits are being rewarded, while lecturers are owed salaries.
He was speaking at the launch of a book titled, ‘Communication and Media Studies: Multiple Perspectives’, written by Stella Okunna, a former commissioner in Anambra.
The recent weeks have seen a spike in the abduction of students by bandits raiding communities in the northern part of the country.
While all the students have been freed, there have been reports that ransoms were paid to rescue them, but the government has denied this.
Obi said Nigeria’s economy cannot be productive if the country continues to reward criminality while overlooking its intellectuals.
“How do we go and negotiate and pay somebody, a bandit, when we have not paid those who are working?” Obi asked following reported negotiations with bandits who abduct schoolchildren in the north.
“You can’t pay people for banditry. The only business that thrives in Nigeria is stealing the government’s money, banditry and kidnapping — and that’s why your country is not progressing.
“We are owing those who have legitimately worked. And we are negotiating and paying those who have stolen kids. It is a criminal system.
“Lecturers are owed. How do we compensate those who have not contributed anything to the economy? The economy is not productive and that’s why it is failing.
“Nigeria will not succeed if we continue asking bandits to come to a meeting, and we are not calling professors to a meeting. That is why the country is where it is today. May God help Nigeria.”