By HOSEA NYAMLONG
THE recent waves of abduction in Nigeria have raised fear and tension across the country, with kidnapping in Nigeria being blamed largely on economic hardship. Until now kidnapping in the past was a strange thing to many Nigerians where we could only watch how kidnapping was being carried out in movies or through reading action thriller novels.
Today, kidnapping in Nigeria is gradually becoming a lucrative business in our society. What makes it a lucrative business in nature is the huge sum of money being paid to the abductors or kidnappers.
Onuamadike, popularly known as Evans, the notorious kidnap Kingpin became a billionaire as a result of kidnapping people of high repute in the society.
Youths however now indulge themselves in the act of kidnapping students, clerics, celebrities and highly influential people to gain ground to collect huge ransom. Nigerian citizens believe this dastardly act is committed by the youth who are supposed to be the leaders of tomorrow but because of corruption injustice, poverty and unemployment, kidnapping has become a means of getting money to survive.
The first celerated case of kidnapping in Nigeria was in 2006, when the militants of the Niger Delta took hostage of foreign employees of oil companies from an offshore platform.
However, this was a movement staged for the emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), in projecting the inequality of their region to the Federal government and the world at large. Since then, more than 200 foreigners have been kidnapped.
There is no doubt that the rate of kidnapping in Nigeria today has discouraged many Nigerians to have hope in a better Nigeria. Similarly, more than 3,000 innocent people, including Chibok girls, Dapchi girls, politicians, government officials, influential people, business men/women and paramount rulers were reported to have been kidnapped between 2014 to 2019. Some of these victims were rescued after paying huge amounts of ransom to abductors. Holding people hostage either to take ransom from the victims’ family or as a sacrifice for ritual or as an appeasement to win political elective position or appointment has become the norm.
The blight of kidnapping in Nigeria continues to aggravate due to the gravity of corruption and unemployment that rendered many skillful graduates to become jobless. A situation that had driven many to desperately look for a way to survive, causing fear and unrest in the country.
However, it might interest you to know that Nigeria was ranked in the global index as one of the worst place to dwell in, because of the high and frequent rate of kidnapping.
Apparently, kidnapping is an illicit incident through which human beings are forcefully abducted to an unknown area against their will by another human being, because of reasons best known to them.
Kidnapping is as old as human history itself, yet its widespread in the current administration is quite alarming, which calls for proactive solution in order to make Nigeria a safe place to live by all human race.
Kidnapping has been identified as one source by which armed banditry groups are involved in taking people hostage in demanding for ransom from victims. Sadly enough, some of the kidnapped victims end up being raped, tortured and killed by their abductors, all in the name of not paying the required sum of ransom money as negotiated for their release.
There are negative consequences of kidnapping to humans, which include psychological trauma. The negative psychological effect of being abducted or kidnapped are many, especially for children and women.
Depression, anxiety and post-traumatize syndrome (PTSD) may last a life time. Fear and lack of trust, in a society where there is high rate of kidnapping,limits peoples lives and action, like that of Kaduna-Abuja express way. Due to the high rate of robbery and kidnapping along that axis, especially around Birnin Gwari area, where people always move with a very high sense of caution along the routes, as they do not know who might be the next target.
The rich surround themselves with heavy armed security guards, because of the fear of being kidnapped.
Here are some incidence of kidnaps launched in the last few months just to mention a few. The Area Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Suleja Area Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Mr. Isa Rambo, was kidnapped around Kaduna. The kidnappers were demanding the sum of 50 million naira as ransom. He was later reported to be rescued unhurt.
Security is very key to every nation’s development growth. This gives citizens a sense of protection of their lives and property. This can attract foreign investors to do business in the country.
But this lies in the assurance of government improving security to its nation.
Security matters are a collective effort between the government and citizens on a level ground in providing useful informationrecent waves of abduction in Nigeria has raised fear and tension recent waves of abduction in Nigeria has raised fear and tension recent waves of abduction in Nigeria has raised fear and tension to the relevant authorities.
On Wednesday 23/10/2019, it was reported that Mr. Danlami Yunana, an Assistant Director with the Taraba State Government was abducted by some unknown gunmen in Jalingo. His where about is yet to be known.
Similarly, a Police inspector attached to Rubochi Community in Kuje Area Council of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and two other persons were reportedly abducted on 27/10/2019 by unknown gunmen suspected to be kidnappers.
Theophilus Ndulus, the Parish Priest of St. Patrick, in Ihuonyia Amani-Odo, Ezeagu Local Government Area, Enugu State was kidnapped on 30/10/2019. He later regained his freedom which was confirmed by the Police Public Relation Officers, Ebere Amaraibu of Enugu Command.
Oyeleke was released on 4/11/2019 and it was made possible through some local non-governmental agencies who worked in collaboration with the Borno State government to secure Oyeleke’s freedom.
In the same vein, a woman named Ndagilaya Umar of Government Science Secondary School Askira Uba in Borno State. She was released through the intervention of Governor Buba Gana Zulum in collaboration with two non-governmental organization with the help of security agencies that aided in the release of captives under the abductors.
The federal government of Nigeria last month under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari led administration had plans to lunch a national emergency call centre as part of its measures to tackle insecurity across Nigeria.
This development was in collaboration with the National Assembly and Executive arm of government to Establish National Emergency Call Centre that would serve as a medium between the government and citizens on information that would help in tackling the menace of kidnapping and insecurity.
The issue of security is every one’s business. On our own part as citizens, we are to take frantic steps to secure our lives and property by being alert and vigilant, reporting any suspicious movement to the law enforcement agencies.
Awareness on the general safety measure against kidnapping should be made available to the general public. Parents/guardians are to teach their children, wards to be cautious about safety and give them the basic tips and information on how to avoid dangers and escape potentially dangerous situations.
Never to accept candy, biscuit or any gift from a stranger, never go anywhere with a stranger even if it sound like fun. Predators can lure kids with questions like “can you help me find my lost puppy?
Or do you want to see some cute kittens in my car? Remind your kids that adults they don’t know should never ask them to help or to do things for them.
Avoid dressing your kids in clothing with their names on it, because children tend to trust adults who know their names. They should run away and scream when someone follows them in a way that is abnormal or tries to force them into a car.
In conclusion, for any country that wants to fight kidnapping successfully, it must intensify on training of anti-kidnapping with all her security agencies, including the vigilante groups to help in combating crime. When law enforcement agencies are actively involved in the fight, the incidence of crime can be lessened.
Serious punishment measures should be meted to the offenders, to serve as an example to others that might want to venture into such dangerous business.
Therefore, the government should create more job opportunities to enable the unemployed youth get employe and also create an enabling environment for youth to engage their minds in skills etc.
However, I believe that, if the government should tackle the issue of endemic corruption in the country, naturally, good things would begin to take shape and corruption would die a natural death.
We may not be on the same page, but we could find a common ground that would accommodate all our different interests. God bless Nigeria!