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IN Plateau State for instance, the father of soccer maestro, John Mikel Obi, Pa Michael Obi was abducted by gun-wielding kidnappers which included some military personnel and the police. While no state of the federation can claim to have been insulated from the sordid business, the South-South and South-East states where some youths continue to make heavy fortunes from the violent seizure of human beings, especially on their way to or out of churches has shown that the fear of kidnappers in Nigeria is the beginning of wisdom.
WITH the protection for, and scarcity of foreigners for abduction, the most vulnerable people have become the rich natives or those who have relatives who can afford the mouth-watering ransom. In fact, it will amount to a sad reminder to mention the names of victims who not only died in the hands of kidnappers after receiving enormous ransoms from their relatives, but also ensured that their dependants and loved ones live in perpetual fear of the unknown.
FROM newspaper reports, the dare-devil kidnappers are said to be culture-blind as they strike with disregard for age, status and avuncular disposition of their victims, provided the cash justifies the means. Or how could anyone visualise the kidnapping of a 102 year-old father of a traditional ruler and a seven year-old child to extort money? All these and a plethora of other mindless activities of kidnappers are potent indices of the country’s violent cascade to irredeemable lawlessness.
THE latest externalisation of this “lucrative” but barbaric human seizure with the abduction of Christian Obodo should send a definite signal to the leaders that the business of kidnapping is surely not a kid’s play and should therefore stop their napping. The kidnap of Obodo, a football star playing for the Udinese of Italy, has tremendously diminished the image of Nigeria at the international arena. The star, who was reported to have been abducted when he was alighting from his car in Effurun, Delta State, in front of his church has again shown the security risk to which many Nigerians are daily exposed. The news which was aired all over the world has challenged the make-believe security adequacy which the country has been branding to international investors. While it may sound easy to believe that foreign investors are indeed looking for countries to invest their surplus funds, it is also correct to say that socio-economic instability as manifested by armed banditry, kidnapping and other social vices are veritable disincentives to genuine foreign entrepreneurs, especially now that new and more attractive investment–friendly opportunities abound in other African countries.
THE rescue of Obodo in a record time deserves commendation but fails to address the big question of why majority of kidnappers are never apprehended and made to pay dearly for their crimes?
THE lack of appropriate sanctions for these bandits have elevated human abduction to a lucrative level. Of course, the unholy and overt alliance with the culprits by some military men and the police as evinced in Pa Michael Obi’s case, has proved that the fight against kidnapping is still long and tortuous.
WHILE we commend the prompt apprehension of five suspects in the Obodo kidnap saga, the governments must yet endeavour to create improved socio-economic environment through the provision of adequate security for Nigerians and foreigners alike. Technological innovations such as satellite tracking instruments has already rendered kidnapping practically unattractive in advanced and even in some African States. The country is endowed with human and material resources to confront and vanquish this socio-economic adversary. What is lacking obviously is the political and leadership will-power to call a spade its true name and not an agricultural equipment. Time is not on Nigeria’s side as delay can be perilous.Share