The Action Team Against Conscription and Kidnapping, ATACK, an affiliate of the Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called on the Federal Government to urgently tackle the cases of kidnappings across the country.
According to the group’s National Coordinator, Debo Adeniran, kidnapping had been so frequent that almost every day, there had been at least a report of kidnap incident or the other in media.
Adeniran in a statement forwarded to newsmen recalled that “recently, a former Director of the Department of Security Services, DSS, Mike Ejiofor was kidnapped along Obajana junction in Kogi State together with his driver.
“Also, in November, 2016, a diabetic septuagenarian who was also critically ill was abducted by a four-man gang at his residence in Bomo, the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa state, while a Ghanaian, Enyolam Believe, was arrested for allegedly kidnapping her niece in the Ikotun area of Lagos State for N30, 000.
“The seeming inaction on the part of government has in fact emboldened the kidnapers to the extent that they operate and act with impunity. Their victims could just be anybody; from women to children, clergy to traditional rulers etc.
“They invaded schools; abducted children like we witnessed in the Nigerian-Turkish International College episode that happened in Ogun state and Ikorodu School invasion of 2016 in Lagos state.
“And in Delta state, the treasurer of the State branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Mr. Titus Okotie on February 18, 2017 was abduction of just like a Roman Catholic Priest of Ikot Ekpene Diocese, in Akwa Ibom State, Rev. Father Felix Akpan who was kidnapped on 16th February 2016. The list of these incidences keeps increasing by the day and beginning to look endless.”
Continuing, he said “the problem caused by these kidnappings is very traumatic and exposes the lives of law abiding Nigerians to untold dangers.
As a result of this, we recommend that the punishment for crime of kidnapping should by commensurate with the trauma they cause the victims and their families. We believe life sentences should be awarded in cases where kidnappers are apprehended, tried and found guilty.
“This is because, despite the time-to-time arrest of these kidnappers, the crime seems not to be coming to an end. There is need for the constitution to be amended in such a way that it gives room for harsher punitive measures for kidnapping to serve as deterrents to others.
“We, however, recognize the socio-political and economic background to the increasing spate of kidnapping particularly the economic situation. True, nothing justifies crime, but the Federal Government must create the enabling and suitable socio-economic conditions that will detract people from heinous crimes like kidnapping.
Government needs to facilitate the capacity of people to have no reason to lose their humanness by getting involved in crimes that leads them to dehumanizing fellow humans. This is the ultimate solution to ending crimes of all kinds,” he