The menace of banditry and kidnapping for ransom has become a log of wood in the mirroring eye of the Nigerian society. The privileged in recent times have been the major target of kidnap for ransom trade, as many begin to travel in panic over fear of not being seized by kidnap-for-ransom bandits. While there have been some cases of fatalities of victims of such adventures, it is quite a popular knowledge that many of those who have escaped the Kidnappers’ den unhurt, secured their release on the luxury of ransoms that cut into millions. The menace is appearing more lucrative as kidnap-for-ransom groups are now becoming more organised with increase in their ransom demands.
On Sunday, report came up to reveal that the Kidnap group which seized the leader of the market women, popularly called the lyaloja of Isua Akoko South East Council Area of Ondo State, Chief Hellen Edward, gave a slash in their price for release from an initial N11 million to N5 million ransom. Recall that the lyaloja was the leader of the delegation of market women to their monthly meeting in Akure, the State capital, who was abducted with a number of other traders over the weekend along the Ogbese Uso axis of Akure owo highway. The State’s Police Command had claimed that 10 of the traders were rescued while four of the kidnappers were arrested. Against the Police report however, the family of the lyaloja, had disclosed that she was yet to be rescued by the Police and that she was still in captivity. It was reported that one of the Iyalojo’s children, had disclosed to Newsmen that her mother spoke to members of the family and urged them to look for the ransom demanded by her captors to expedite her release. According to her, her mother was not one of the 10 persons the Police claimed were rescued from the kidnappers over the weekend.
The spate of kidnapping among other forms of security threats in Nigeria is becoming too alarming. The organised format of kidnap-for-ransom is now elevating the menace to a lucrative venture across the Country. The menace which manifestly took its root in the the South-south amidst the wake of the Niger Delta tussle as an expression of grievances against deterioration of indigenous people’s land by oil exploration without adequate compensation, has sadly been allowed to grow out of hand. The disturbing reports that emanates from this form of insecurity is a clear expression of the fall of security architecture in the Country.
The necessity to correct the value system in the Country is no less demanding. While the Government needs to scale intelligence and strengthen special security operations and task-force to track down all existing kidnap group and bandits, it is significant that all other connecting factors spurring the preponderance of the menace be strategically put in view. The need for the Government to embark on an intense public enlightenment campaign that intensively and extensively passes across the message of the dire consequences of indulging in such unwholesome actions is key. This should serve as a sensitizing proactive move to deter other members of the society who may be planning or considering options of recruitments into or organising new kidnap and bandit groups.
Essential for the Government is also the necessity to make moves to expeditiously make empowerment programmes more elaborate, such that idle youths with the proclivities and temptations to join or organise kidnap groups can be engaged on lawful ventures that will keep them busy from considering the option of criminality. It is significant that the Government become more strategic in tackling the menaces of criminalities in the Country. Improving existing socio-economic policies and drafting new ones to enhance the welfare of Nigerians, particularly the youth holds strong bearing to stemming the wings of rising criminal tendencies in the Country. The Nigerian population is largely youthful and only when they are engaged will they channel their resourcefulness to productive activities. A deviation from this is tantamount to them directing and charging same to criminal crafts. Adopting an encompassing problem solving approach to social issues is most important in view with the present security challenges in the Country.