Kidnapping has become one of the lingering arm of insecurity in Nigeria, which the Government has found difficult to nip in the bud. It is now so sorry that even security men are now themselves victims of kidnapping. The irony brewing from such parody is the question that if security operatives who are meant to be protecting the masses from threats and attacks have become themselves victims of kidnapping, what hope holds for the common man? The menace of banditry and kidnap-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 Tuesday, the paradoxical news of the abduction of a number of senior Police officers by suspected bandits broke the silence. The senior officers in the category of Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASP) were reported to be on their way to Zamfara from Borno State. According to BBC Hausa, the Police officers were on their way to Zamfara to conduct a special operation when they were seized by the gunmen. Speaking with BBC Hausa, wife of one of the abducted officers had said that her husband had called and instructed her to sell his house in order to raise the ransom for his release from the kidnapper’s den. She had confirmed that she knows the families of the eight other abducted officers. Report had earlier revealed that families of all the officers were working to raise a sum of N800,000 each for their rescue. However, new findings on Thursday revealed that the bandits holding six of the ASPs captive in Katsina State for over one week now, are demanding N100 million ransom for their release. It was reported that the ASPs were among nine officers who were just promoted to their current rank. They were attached to the Mobile Police Squadron 6, Maiduguri, Borno State. Findings on Wednesday indicated that they were demobilised from the riot unit and eight of them were on their way to the Zamfara State Police Command on transfer when they were ambushed in the Dogondaji area of Katsina State and taken into the forest.
The Kidnap-for-Ransom menace which is gaining momentum across the Country is assuming a worrying dimension. The spate of the menace as an organised crime in recent times is much alarming. Seizing a convoy of Police men is an embarrassment that the Nigeria Police Force should not afford to tolerate lightly. It is the height of disregard and flagrant slap on the face of the Force. Seizing senior Police officer of such ranks in their numbers translate to a loss of regard for the Force.
It is pathetic that the lackadaisical attitude of the Government to pressing security matters is increasingly erupting strings of destabilising wings in the society. The psychological, social, economic and political impacts of these chains of problems are counterproductive and hostile to the quest of any meaningful development. It is high time the Government woke to break off its elastic limit for an overarching campaign against all variants of security threats ravaging the Country.
The necessity for public campaign in terms of popular enlightenment, should be reinforced in the entire Country for psychosocial remedies to reform and reset the thinking of the masses on such criminal exhibits. While the need to stir up a full blown use of force to clampdown on all kidnapping networks and banditry among other forms of organised crime is paramount, the need to be strategic in the approach is essential. The Government should approach the problem from holistic framework of pragmatic patterns. Such patterns demand putting all cards on the course of reason, by navigating with critical strategies; political, social, economic, psychological, sociological solutions possible to address the menace. The present economic hardship and youth unemployment is a key factor among other connecting nexus that must be critically addressed to have a result oriented fight against the prevailing menace of kidnapping among other variants of organised crime in the Country.