Back in those days of the wild wild West in the US, bounty hunting was a dangerous but lucrative business. Apart from empowering the bounty hunter financially through reward payment, it helped clean up the American society of unwanted elements and criminals, from cattle rustlers to highway men and serial killers. Brave citizens were quick to collect rewards offered by either apprehending the wanted criminals themselves or divulging their hideouts to the authorities. Notorious robbers Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, who terrorised train safes and bank vaults in their heydays in the West, ran from bounty hunters and eventually ended up dead.
Now fast-forward to present-day Nigeria and the recent scenario in Rivers State, where the Police placed a N1 million bounty reward on the head of a child molester and ritual killer who raped, murdered and removed vital organs from an eight-year old girl. The 23-year-old killer, who escaped from police custody under suspicious circumstances, is still at large; reason for the cash reward offered by the same Police, who were accused of complicity in the escape. Although the caseâ€™s investigating police officer (IPO) was dismissed from the Force, the killer is still on the run.
Nigerians, who are ever resourceful, may have found another way of making cool money from bounty rewards, akin to the current whistleblowing policy. If the anti-corruption policy has been successful so far, the bounty system may likely fare better. All the authorities have to do is make it a policy and disgruntled lesser kidnappers and ritual killers, and the alert public will either simply kill or rat on their leaders and pocket the bounty sums. Nigeria needs such a bounty policy to clean up the system and make society a better place…not so?
– Abimbola Akosile