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Tackling menace of kidnappings

The existence of human beings could never be meaningful and peaceful if they are living under threats and uncertainty of their safety...

The existence of human beings could never be meaningful and peaceful if they are living under threats and uncertainty of their safety. Security is one of the most pertinent sectors that responsible governments in different countries of the world are giving much attention to in national budgets and manpower.

Without security, nothing could be possible. Nigeria as a country for years, has undergone several internal security challenges and yet, still facing a lot as insurgency, secession threats and mass abductions of people for ransoms and host of others are slowing its development.

Inadequate modern weapons, good remunerations and retirement benefits for our security personnel are some of the reasons that are always dispiriting soldiers’ morale in battlefields.

Before now, incidences of kidnappings were peculiar to only the southern parts of Nigeria which was blessed with crude oil and workers, majorly foreigners were abducted by indigenes of such areas for monetary gains.

But, gradually, the dastard act is now more adverse and prevalent in the northern part of the country than where it seems to have emanated from.

Hundreds of precious lives were lost in the hands of kidnappers; some were caused by severe sickness following the difficulties experienced on the way to abductors’ dens. Similarly, others were killed because the  money sent was below what they agreed upon or at times, the kidnapped victims recognized some of the kidnappers or their informants.

Informants to kidnappers are people living in the same vicinity with others but their works were just to spy and gather information on people to abduct and it’s one of the contributing factors that is fueling kidnappings.

Kidnappers are now bulging at nights fearlessly into houses of their targets without restrictions from security forces; the security agents always arrive at scenes late after bandits have wreaked havoc and fled with victims.

In recent times, there were a number of people kidnapped in Zaria and one of them was a pregnant pharmacist who was working with Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in Shika. Sadly, the kidnappers heartlessly killed her after she complained that she could not walk due to her condition.

According to SBM which is an independent intelligence and economic research firm, a total of 2,371 people were kidnapped in separate incidences across all 36 States of Nigeria; a total of 237 people lost their lives and over 1 billion Naira ($19.96 million) ransoms demanded in the first half of 2021.

The sad part of it is that the government is not doing enough to repress the activities of kidnappers. Nigerians are not safe almost everywhere ranging from markets, places of worship, on the roads and even in their comfort zones.

Rail transport was considered by commuters as the safest due to frequent kidnappings on roads but lately, Kaduna to Abuja rail track was bombarded which led to the closure of train stations for days nationwide.

Factors responsible for kidnapping include high level of poverty and hunger; waking up with empty pocket and nothing for family members to eat etc; all these have forced many people into acts of criminality especially the unemployed youths.

Greed and uncontrolled love to be rich also persuaded many to start kidnapping; they often times see it as the easiest way to get enough money to meet-up their needs.

Kidnappers play vital role in influencing their friends to engage in it; they give them daily convincing points and their shallow-mindedness push them without a second thought on implications if caught by security agents.

Mass abduction of people and students can be stopped if some of  these measures are adopted; the current programmes initiatives of employing youths or teaching them skills mostly in the urban areas while leaving behind many in villages would help much. Most of the people often  arrested were villagers. Thus, there is a need for them to be included in whatever government initiates.

Granting amnesty to repentant kidnappers is a welcome idea but they should not be reintegrated back to societies.

Mukhtar Garba writes via [email protected].

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