MYNATION EDITORIAL – It is No longer news as kidnapping has turn to be a profession and career in the world of crime so to speak. As it is now Kidnapping in Nigeria has become a monster that appears to have defied solutions. While it has permeated virtually every strata of the society, it has also grown in sophistication and style.
Base on research this ugly blood business started in the Niger Delta region in 2006 when the militants targeted expatriate personnel of multinational oil companies for kidnap. The act was initially aimed at drawing global attention to their agitations against the degradation of their environment until one of the companies reportedly tried to facilitate the release of its personnel by offering to pay ransom.
Well presently, the crime has assumed such a frightening dimension such that everybody is now vulnerable. Of great concern is that whereas only the rich had ‘hostage value’ at its embryonic stage, school children, housewives, the rich, the poor and the elderly are now prime targets in the abduction for ransom saga.
It is obvious that the climax of this commando operation recently came into focus with the arrest of a notorious kidnap kingpin, Chukwudidumeme Onuamadike, popularly called Evans. The police disclosed that Evans’ confession has led to the arrest of some of his accomplices. Yet, his case is one among the thousands of kidnappers who are increasingly making the country insecure.
As we all know in the past few months, pupils have been kidnapped from their schools, traditional rulers from their palaces and all grades of people randomly abducted from roads and highways.
Now it is lamentable to learn that some elements are advocating a soft landing for Evans, without recourse to the number of people who he and his criminal gang have killed as well as the families and businesses that they have rendered bankrupt, with the accompanying trauma.
If the elite and other stakeholders had not allowed religious and political sentiments becloud their sense of judgment when Boko Haram delved into abduction of vulnerable persons in the North-East, perhaps these abductions would not have become so widespread.
While MYNATION NEWS urges the police to speedily conclude investigation into Evans’ case and others who are involved in kidnapping, we totally condemn how the force has allowed journalists to sensationalise Evans’ arrest. It now seems as if the police has outsourced interrogation of the notorious kidnapper to newsmen.
The release of the confessions of Evans would only enable criminals like him learn from his mistakes as well as pick up other strategies and trade secrets from the suspect now assuming a Rockstar status. In such circumstance, the fight against kidnapping would only be the loser, no thanks to the euphoria and vain glory the police is indulging itself in. They must be reminded that there are more hardened criminals out there that the public can no longer wait to be busted.
MYNATION NEWS advocates that an emergency be declared to stem the tide of kidnapping which is becoming attractive to youths in the country. The National Assembly must adopt the template of Anambra, Delta, Edo, Lagos and a few other states that have promulgated stiff laws to punish kidnappers and as well create massive job opportunity for the teeming youths in the country, as we cannot fight crime without adequate job creation and promotion of SME.
MYNATION NEWS is against and warn against any attempt by any individual or group to lobby for the release of any criminal. This is apt against the backdrop that some politicians have been reported to be using kidnapping to silence their opponents.
Curtailing this nuisance should be given a priority to avert a trend where an estranged husband or wife arranges the kidnap of the other, or of their children to obtain a ransom.
Granted that Nigeria is not the only country where kidnapping thrives. Elsewhere in Mexico, an estimated 105, 682 cases were recorded in 2012 alone. Kidnapping for ransom is also prevalent in a few other countries in Europe, North and South America.
According to Offender Management Caseload Statistics, the United Kingdom convicted 57 kidnap offenders between 2007-2008.
Notwithstanding these figures, kidnapping in Nigeria must be radically tackled to make the society a safer place for habitation and foreign investors.
Given the daredevil manner of their operation and the sophisticated weapons at their disposal, kidnappers should not be allowed to build another cell of criminals that would be difficult to rein in.
However, overcoming kidnapping must be matched with addressing the root causes of the crime such as: unemployment, poverty, illiteracy, religious extremism, greed, corruption and politics of hatred.
Since some of the kidnapped victims are held in residential places, as the case of Evans has shown, members of the public should be mindful of who their next-door neighbour is. Also, the alarm bells should ring in everyone when persons with unidentifiable means of livelihood are swimming in opulence and ostentatious lifestyle.
As in Mexico, there are unconfirmed reports that some policemen in Nigeria know the hideouts and the modus operandi of these kidnappers but fail to act because of the returns that they get from these criminals. The force must therefore do more to purge itself of such bad eggs.
It will indeed be difficult for kidnapping to assume a life of its own in Nigeria without the complicity or indifference of law enforcement officers saddled with the responsibility of keeping the society safe. Government may also wish to collaborate with private security companies in checkmating kidnappers since it has been found that Nigeria is under-policed.
Telecommunications companies must not fail to let the authorities know of phone lines they suspect are being used for nefarious activities. It is good that efforts are on to stop the sale of the unregistered SIM cards, this must be totally be enforced.
Nigerians are well advised to report theft or loss of their phones and SIM card to the police and mobile operators so that such lines can be blocked from being used by kidnappers who go about buying mobile lines with which to communicate with families of abductees.
Be careful with people you share sensitive information with, avoid suspicious friends who involve in crime related activities…