As Kidnap Industry Raises Head In Niger Delta
BY GBOGBOWA GBOWA
Despite frantic efforts and assurances by the Federal Government to rescue about 31 passengers and others at the Igueben Train Station last Saturday, the kidnappers suspected to be the itinerary herdsmen apparently taunting the government have demanded a N620m ransom for the 31 victims before they are released.
The Executive Director, Esan Youth for Good Governance and Social Justice, Comrade Benson Odia who confirmed the development said the kidnappers had made contact with some families of the kidnap victims demanding N20 million for each victim.
Odia described the demand was outrageous and called on the security agencies to intensify efforts to free the abducted persons.
He said, “I can tell you that the kidnappers have demanded N20 million, totaling N620 million.
“This is absurd and I don’t know where poor people will be able to raise that amount of money.”
The Federal Government between 2019 and 2020 caused a major disruption in citizens’ daily routine with the demand for every user of GSM telephone device to register with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to obtain a National Identity Number (NIN).
While the primary purpose was to enhance national security through the monitoring of the data thus created, the President Muhammadu Buhari government assured that insurgencies and all acts of criminalities will be unraveled, challenged, arrested and prosecuted.
Since the conclusion of the NIN registration, every form of criminalities including kidnapping has taken place most of which are high profile and involving masses of people. The kidnappers have sooner established contacts with families of kidnapped victims, routinely demanding ransoms.
This government has been unable to apprehend anyone using the national data base and NIN integrated telephone numbers.
The recent official retort following criticism of the NIN especially its riotous procedure, that every policy requires time to become effective.
Some citizens gave up their meals to raise enough money to process their NIN during the various ‘expiry’ timelines, either as bribe or through middle men.
In parts of the country, bandits, insurgents and war lords imposes taxes on farmers and residents, and often determine time and manner citizens should go about their legitimate businesses.
Sometimes whole communities are overrun and taken captives, including military settlements, yet the relevant authorities aren’t just near anywhere to confront these monumental disgrace.
While these insurgents run an alternate government, our elected government often not only negotiate and strike mutually binding agreement with them, there are reports government also kowtow to these renegades.
At the worst of crisis with the image of government on the line, the presidency have had to raise and deliver ransoms to kidnappers to release the victims.
The saddest commentary is that some of the insurgents now openly deride the government, and challenge our government to keep it’s side of a mutual agreement or, be ready to be damned.
How soon the Igueben victims will regain freedom would depend largely on the state of the mind of government officials.
So far the Minister of Transportation, Muazu Jaji Sambo has demonstrated his trademark concerned response by immediately visiting the location.
He is believed to be discussing with all relevant agencies including the national security organizations on how quickly to get the victims to freedom, without harm.
There’s no doubt that if all other relevant departments of government approach the current calamity with the same zeal so far shown by the transportation ministry, notably the minister himself, there’s hope the dark night wouldn’t be so long.