EDITORIAL: Save Nigerians From Kidnappers

Kidnappings are becoming too rampant, and too frequent across the country. The alarming situation is pervasive, such that no part of the nation is immune. Every neighbourhood is now prone to heinous attacks by kidnappers and their accomplices. Even pupils and students are targets. 

Last Thursday, at about 3.30pm, about 45 passengers in three fully loaded 15-seater commercial buses were reportedly abducted by armed men in Orokam, along the Otukpo-Enugu Road in Ogbadigbo Local Government Area of Benue State. Not much has been heard of them. 

And on January 9, six siblings were kidnapped alongside their father, Alhaji Mansoor Al-Kadriyar, from their home at Zuma 1, on the outskirts of Bwari town in Abuja. The kidnappers later released the father to get N60 million as ransom for the release of his daughters on or before last Friday. Unable to raise the amount by Friday, the bandits killed Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar, a 400-level student of Biological Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria on Friday and dumped her body at Idah junction located along Bwari-Jere road in Kagarko LGA of Kaduna State.

She was buried in Bwari, Abuja, on Saturday amid tears by family members and sympathisers.  Meanwhile, late Nabeeha’s five sisters, including Najeebah, a 500-level Quantity Surveying student and Nadherah, a 300-level Zoology student, alongside three others, are still in captivity. The most affronting aspect of this very sad issue is that after killing Nabeeha for her family’s failure to raise N60 million, the bandits now raised the ransom to N100 million. And they insisted the fund must be paid by tomorrow or more blood will flow.

Similarly, the abductors of 10 people from a neighbourhood in Sagwari Layout, Dutse, Abuja, on January 7, 2024, allegedly murdered three of the victims with a stern message to their families engaged in negotiating ransom that they are now to pay N700 million, raising it from the initial N60 million per person to N100 million.  

This sort of inhumanity is unprecedented in Nigeria, but it is now a daily occurrence. Where do these kidnappers want families to raise the humongous figures for ransom? In a world where people engage in crowdfunding initiatives to support innovative ideas for development, Nigerians are having to do crowdfunding merely to pay ransom to bandits and kidnappers, and all under the watchful eyes of the government and security agencies who do little, leaving Nigerians to their cruel fate.  

What sort of country do we live in now? Clearly, the frequency of the abductions, the huge sums demanded for ransom, and the blatant killing of Nigerians who are unable to pay are all pointing daring fingers at the government. It is like the kidnappers saying to the government: we can do anything we want without any consequence. It is like the bandits and kidnappers telling the federal, state and local governments and the array of defence and security agencies that they are weaklings who cannot do their job of securing the people. Where are the Police and the Department of State Services? Where are the Armed Forces of Nigeria? For what purpose do they exist at all?  

What is most disturbing is that the leadership in Abuja appears unconcerned. The forceful hands of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are missing in the pie of solution. The National Security Adviser has not also been rolling out strategic solutions for dealing with this most heinous crime of the moment in Nigeria. Other strategic institutions like Defence Headquarters, Army, Navy and Air Force, including the Nigeria Police, Department of State Security (DSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and a myriad of other para-military groups with their elite intelligence and operational formations appear to be on holiday, instead of working to secure the country.

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