Kidnapping has been with us since the horrendous days of Niger Delta militant groups that always hold the top expatriates oil workers as captives for payment of ransom.
In fact, this criminality was then the stock-in-trade of the restless youths of this Geo-political zone. And, of course, they made tremendous fortunes out of it.
It’s instructive to note that, some of the leaders of the then-militant groups are today the power brokers of the zone.
Meanwhile, while this atrocious and despicable venture was thriving in the region, the government, as well as the generality of Nigerians never, in their wildest imagination had inkling that the enterprise would assume an octopus and national dimension.
Sadly, this is the exact point we are today!
The obvious economic and other challenges in our nation has necessitated Nigerian teeming youths to make kidnapping the main stay of their existence.
In-fact, they’ve jettisoned armed robbery and other criminalities which they’re of the view have long term gestation period of returns for kidnapping.
Following their reign of terror, the road users all over the country have abandoned road travelling. The exciting long journey which lower and middle class Nigerians love to make to Kano, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Calabar, Benin etc through ABC Transport, Young Shall Grow, Ekene Dili Chukwu etc are no longer possible.
Of course, several business dealings along these routes have been completely grounded and paralyzed.
This has necessitated the air fare to continually soar unabated.
From Abuja to Ibadan, Benin, Calabar, Lagos, Abeokuta, Kano, Ekiti, Kaduna, Warri etc, it’s the same tale of agony, pains and anguish for Nigerians who have been unfortunate to be their victims.
They quarter their victims in the most unthinkable, inhabitable, and very embarrassing condition, while harassing their family members for the payment of ransom in several millions of naira. They feed their captives with meals ordinarily meant for dogs and other animals.
In very unpalatable situation, they violently violate their female victims, sometimes resulting into unwanted pregnancy.
In the extreme situation, they mercilessly maim and murder their captives particularly, where hapless family found it difficult to raise ransom.
This has been their modus operandi across the nation!
Tragically, it does seem that security agencies; army, navy, air-force, police force, NSDSC etc are totally helpless. Reliable source confirmed that top government officials and security agencies are often in the forefront of negotiation of ransom payment to the kidnappers.
How do we justify this absurdity and abnormality in a country where Defense Ministry’s security budget has been the highest for decades?
For emphasis, Year 2024 security vote stood at whooping sum of ₦1.3 trillion. And, it’s not largely impossible that there would still be extra-budgetary allocation during the current fiscal year.
Yet, the nation is under the siege of kidnappers, as the combined security team are finding it absolutely difficult to tame the scourge of this hydra-headed criminality, and draw the curtains on the group of hoodlums and blood thirsty miscreants that have constituted themselves to menace, terrorizing the citizenry, and holding the nation by the jugular.
Consequent upon their nefarious activity, the flow of foreign investments is significantly on decline over years. At domestic front, the criminals have also succeeded in demobilizing the local investors who often move from one part of the country to another for their trading activities.
FCT, Abuja the converging city for Nigerians, irrespective of creed, ethnic affiliation, sex, philosophical ideology etc, from across the country and Diaspora has lost its serenity and safe haven status.
The kidnappers continually lay siege on Abuja-Kaduna, Lokoja/Kabba/Abuja routes. Benin/Ore/Warri/Asaba axis is not spared. It’s the same tale of horror in Port Harcourt/Owerri/Aba route.
Despite the atmosphere of insecurity and complete apprehension created by the hoodlums all over the country, there is no reliable information flowing from the nation’s security teams as to the concrete efforts and pragmatic plans, aimed at rooting out those criminals from their dens and hide-outs across the country, at least to keep on assuring Nigerians of their safety, and protection of their properties.
With this state of hopelessness and despondence that Nigerians have pitiably found themselves, and of course, helpless situation the security teams presently are, this writer passionately appeals to President Tinubu to consider declaring state of emergency on the country’s security sector.
This is the most logical and appropriate measure to take in the face of the continual impunity and absolute lack of premium for life on the part of kidnappers.
Kola AMZAT (FCA, FCIB),
Lagos-based Financial & Management Consultants,