Dr Umar Ardo, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says he paid around N5.4 million ($15,000) in bitcoins to kidnappers who abducted his daughter, Aisha.

The 24-year-old was kidnapped at gunpoint at a shopping mall in Asokoro, Abuja on Saturday, September 14, 2019.

She was released late on Sunday, September 15, after the kidnappers received ransom from her father, a former Adamawa State governorship aspirant.

Ardo told Daily Trust that he negotiated the ransom with the kidnappers with clear conditions that Aisha was not killed or sexually assaulted. 

He said, "The caller then said, 'Dr, I see you are a gentleman, and I am also a gentleman. I give you these two promises; we will not touch your daughter.' 

"I then asked what would you want me to do in order to get back my daughter?

"He said you are going to pay us $15,000. If you cooperate with us your daughter would return to you but if you don't cooperate with us you will never see her again alive."

Ardo said the kidnappers made him pay the ransom in Bitcoin, a decentralised digital currency, before he was reunited with his daughter.

He said, "I told them I don't know how to do this bit payment but the caller insisted I must learn. 'I will text you our address through which you will go and make the payment. It is up to you to do that. Don't forget the life of your daughter is on the line.'

"Thank God I had the money in my domiciliary account. I got somebody who paid the money through the wallet account. 

"Within an hour we sent the money and it generated payment evidence which I texted to him. 

"I was waiting for his response but he didn't, but by 10 pm a call came, I picked and it was my daughter. 

"She said she was at Drumstick at Gwarimpa where I went with family members and picked her."

The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said in a statement on Monday, September 17, that the Federal Capital Territory is safe, secure and not under any form of siege.

The statement followed a string of recent kidnappings in the FCT including a Baze University lecturer, who has regained his freedom; two teenagers returning from an Islamic school at Wuse Zone 6; and another woman identified as Hannah Azuibuike.

IGP Adamu disclosed two weeks ago that a total of 1,154 kidnapping suspects have been arrested across the country since January.

While he also revealed that a total of 837 kidnapping victims have also been rescued in the same period, scores of people are known to have paid ransoms to kidnappers to regain their freedom.