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Column No. 6

Column No.6: Abduction nation: Who will pay Nigeria’s ransom?

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I was about to continue my rant on FCT Minister Nyesom Wike (which I began last week) when I stumbled upon the news that kidnappers had stormed the Nigerian Army Post-Service in Abuja, and had abducted two residents, at about 10pm on Thursday. A neighbour recounted the experience, and disclosed that the criminals were shooting sporadically, before taking two people away with them. Do not forget that this is coming during a red-hot period for Abuja suburbs and surrounding areas, most notably the Bwari kidnappings that have had the capital city’s breath held for a while now. And I have written my observations before, that kidnapping and banditry is slowly coming dangerously close to the capital city itself.

Forget the title of this piece: This is written with the whole of Nigeria in mind. Because even as kidnappings are going on with alarming frequency in many states nationwide, it seems to be at its rabid worst in the FCT presently. Let’s not forget that Abuja is the nation’s capital, including all the powerful symbolism that comes with that. There needs to be a decisive stand against kidnapping and banditry, starting from Abuja, spreading to other states, especially the neighbouring ones where abductions have become a national sport. Yes, security agencies are doing the best they can in rescuing victims and apprehending the perpetrators, like in the other news today of the arrest of one Chinaza Phillip, described in news reports as a “notorious kidnapper” in Abuja. He was nabbed in Kaduna, on his way to Kano State alongside his accomplices and a victim, on Thursday.

This whole edition of Daily Trust cannot contain even half of the news reports of abductions, and by extension banditry, which have taken place in Nigeria in the past decade. The depth of the problem makes it the most attention-worthy one we have right now. But somehow, not enough is being done about it. Fine, yesterday Wike (yes, him again) announced the arrest of some informants working with kidnappers during a town hall meeting with various stakeholders, including residents in Gwagwalada town, and he vowed to go after the kidnappers and their informants. He said: “Security is one thing [President Tinubu] promised Nigerians, because his job is to protect lives and property. If we can’t protect lives and property, then we have no reason being in government.” While I loved the rhetoric and the sentiment within, it is time for action.

My mind has been busy since the beginning of the year. Like, for instance, what does the relocation of some key CBN offices to Lags mean? What if diplomatic missions and major multi-nationals follow suit? Is it all connected to the violent crime and insecurity bedevilling our beloved nation’s capital? The questions are more, but migraine-inducing, so I pause myself. It also reminds me of a Hausa adage: “Biri na kama da mutum”. I’m too dazed to translate, so please look it up. I have written before, of a friend who reminded me of the time, not too long ago, when the Abuja airport was re-routed to Kaduna, and the road was magically fixed overnight. Okay, maybe ‘patched-up’ is more accurate, but you get my drift. As soon as the VIP needs of that endeavour dried up and flights returned to the national capital, the condition of that road worsened, dramatically. Whatever happened to flooding the route with all manner of security operatives, fixing the road, or actually doing the right thing to safeguard the lives of citizens?

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I can go on, but don’t forget that I’ve declared myself jaded before. My aforementioned friend, like myself, is also jaded. He said maybe the story would be different if enough highly-placed Nigerians were directly affected, and that maybe only then would a solution be applied. Now, could it be that that is about to happen? God forbid. I don’t know if that applies to me, as I don’t see how another person suffering would alleviate my pain. But then if you think about it, the worst part of it all is that us ordinary people are the jaded ones, because we are the most-affected. Imagine suffering so much that you almost don’t feel a thing. It is a most tragic thing indeed, and a situation which a right-thinking person with human feelings wouldn’t wish, even for his enemies. At this juncture, I would say it’s safe to conclude that kidnapping and banditry is threatening us now more than ever. All I can do, unfortunately, is wonder who will pay the ransom by the time the whole nation gets abducted.

Repeat. First published January 20, 2024





Source link: Daily Trust/

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