The security agencies could do more in curbing the crime of kidnapping
When the Niger Delta militants kidnapped a few expatriate oil workers in the creeks in 2005 to protest the negligence of the region by successive governments at the centre, little did anyone imagine that in just 10 years, the act would become a menacing career for criminals. That exactly is what has happened. Across the land, the act of kidnapping for ransom has become a growing industry such that hardly a day passes without the report of one kidnap or the other.
However, in recent times, the kidnap of traditional rulers has become the latest attraction for these criminals. OnJanuary 21 this year, the body of an Obulu Uku monarch in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State, HRM Obi Akaeze Ofulue111, was found in a thick bush somewhere around Edo State. He was 52. The monarch had been kidnapped on January 5 along Obio/Igbodo road, within his Kingdom. Some Fulani herdsmen were reported to have been arrested in connection with the kidnap and eventual murder of the king.
The list of endangered monarchs is long. On January 29, the traditional ruler of Olomoro community, in Isoko-South Local Government Area, HRM Isaiah Aghaza 1 was kidnapped and whisked away by some men in an SUV car. Few days after, kidnappers again struck in Imo State when the monarch of Nguru Nweafor community in Aboh-Mbaise Local Government Area, HRM Oswald Anyanwu, was abducted.
The monarchs, perhaps unsure of any other official means of enforcing their will, resorted to using unorthodox means in getting their colleagues released. Now traditional rulers, like ordinary mortals, literally live in fear. Yet in all cases, the police appear helpless. The governing mercantile logic among the kidnappers must be that the abduction of monarchs is bound to attract huge attention and sympathy, which could in turn translate to heftier ransoms from the monarch’s subjects.
That traditional rulers who ordinarily are the custodians of traditional values and norms have become easy prey for kidnappers is an indication of how low society has lost its values and essence. But it is also a testimony to the increasing sophistication of these criminals that they could easily get to these royal fathers who are never alone.
But more worrisome is that too often, even when the security agencies are involved in the rescue bids of kidnapped persons, ransoms are still paid, after which the victims are then abandoned by their abductors for law enforcement agents to “rescue and recover”.
We worry about the ease at which kidnappers operate in our country today.
We worry even more that they now target traditional authorities. With the increasing sophistication of valued added services offered by communication networks especially the tracking system, we wonder why it is difficult for the police to monitor the calls being made by these criminals during negotiations for ransom. But whatever may be the case, we call on security agents to redouble their efforts in dealing with this dangerous trend that is fast turning our country into a huge jungle.
We must, however, highlight the fact that our various communities have a critical role to play in tackling this problem. Kidnappers are not ghosts. They are human beings and they live within communities. Now that traditional rulers have become targets, members of our various communities must realise they have a critical role to play in providing useful information to security agencies that should also begin to act with despatch.
They must act and in time in all cases. Above all, we call on government at all levels to begin to address social issues like unemployment and poverty which help to feed this crime. With ransom being paid for victims, kidnapping now seems to be a serious vocation for some idle hands.
QUOTE: With the increasing sophistication of value added services offered by communication networks especially the tracking system, we wonder why it is difficult for the police to monitor the calls being made by these criminals during negotiations for ransom