Kidnappers took a short break in Abia State but are back in action. Dr. Donatus Eze, one of the longest serving physicians at Nigerian Christian Hospital, was kidnapped last night on the way to Aba. Kidnapping is a plague on Abia State and will be its undoing. Everyone is praying for his early and safe release.
From THE SUN-August 13, 2102
A recent report released by Campaign for Democracy (CD), a human rights body, indicates that the scourge of kidnapping in Nigeria, particularly in the South East, is rising steadily. According to the study carried out by CD, the South East has, in the past five years, recorded about 938 cases with about N1.2bn paid out as ransom.
We hardly can rely so much on these figures released by CD since it is not all cases of kidnapping that are usually reported or made public by affected families.
Besides, it is a well known fact that some families that have fallen victim to kidnapping do not like to disclose the amounts they paid out as ransom. Be that as it may, the fact that cannot be controverted is that cases of kidnapping are on the rise in the country.
This phenomenon is not only disturbing, it is a blot on the image of the country. Kidnapping as we know it in Nigeria today is a modern phenomenon. It is an offshoot of the decadence that is pervading every facet of our national life.
In recent years, the value system of the people of Nigeria has changed so drastically to the extent that values we used to cherish are no longer of any consequence to us.
The cohesiveness of family units and their consequent positive effect on the larger society have left us. Crass individualism and primitive pursuits have taken over. The result is that people now behave as if we are in a jungle where the strong must trample upon the weak to survive.
We hardly can discriminate now between acceptable and loathsome ways of life. This collapse in our values and mores has been exacerbated by the precarious social and economic conditions that pervade the land. Youth unemployment has become a monster.
Today, graduates of our tertiary institutions roam freely in the streets without gainful unemployment. There is no social security system that cushions the harsh effects of joblessness. The result is that a good number of these jobless youths indulge in anti-social pastimes. Kidnapping, armed robbery and prostitution, among others, are some of the fallouts of this set-up.
It is regrettable that our governments at all levels have not done much to tame the monster of youth dislocation occasioned by unemployment. Our governments have not taken deliberate and concrete steps to engage the teeming youth population meaningfully.
What obtains instead is that everyone is left to his own devices. Many have taken to unwholesome acts in this state of abandonment. But we cannot continue to live with this blight.
The defect in our social order must be addressed. The concerned governments across the country must see the scourge of kidnapping as a challenge. They must rise to the occasion and deal with it decisively. Paying lip-service to the problem as some of our governments do is unhelpful and will not help the effort to stamp out the scourge. The situation has also not been helped by law enforcement agencies, particularly the police.
One of the greatest inducements which kidnappers have received in the land is the prospect of not being punished when caught. Almost on daily basis, the police make arrests. Unfortunately, nothing is heard any more. We do not get to hear about the trial and conviction of arrested kidnappers. The result is that there is nothing to deter prospective offenders.
The police and its sister security agencies must wake up from their slumber. They have to change their approaches as well. Kidnapping relies on sophisticated technology and know-how. Our security agencies must recognize this and equally employ uncommon technology to arrest the situation.
It is embarrassing that the anti-social elements in the land have continued to have an upper hand. We must not allow this dangerous phenomenon to become a part of our national life.