Who wants to pay ransom? - OnlineNigeria.com

2024-04-15 21:34:45


Imo: Police Arrests 21 Year-old Notorious Armed Robber, Recover Ammunition In Alaba Market - Owerri

WE have maintained, perhaps with monotonous regularity, that in times of increased problems, people would look in every direction for possible solutions. When people get confused and no longer know what to do, they begin to do everything. That is where the loss of one genuine purpose invariably leads to the pursuit of a dozen pseudo purposes. We are already there.

Anini and Osunbor came before their time. Remember them? In the mid-1980s, these were the leaders of a criminal gang that held the defunct Bendel State spell bound.

The notorious gang shook the state and indeed the entire nation to their very foundation. They killed and maimed many people. They sacked many establishments and dispatched many to their early graves. They were particularly ruthless with men and women of the Nigeria Police. At the peak of their reign of terror, policemen resorted to carrying their uniforms to places of assignment in paper bags, while appearing in public in mufti. This criminal gang made life unbearable for Bendelites.

Towards the end of their reign of terror, they introduced some palliative measures for the poor in society. Here, they did not depend on any social register for their operations. Rather, they had their calendar for visiting major markets in the Benin metropolis, where they threw Naira notes in the air for market women to scramble over.

Again, their lives also pointed to the obvious fact that everything in this world has an expiry date. When their cups became truly full, they were caught like wet chickens and sent to the gallows. That was the end of an era.

Truly, God uses the most foolish things to confound the wise. We may have gone full circle in our effort to find solutions to the precarious security situations in the country. It is now a system of trial and error, and anything goes!

Wherever they are today, Anini and Osunbor must be regretting coming to this world before their time.

Today, their opposite numbers in Kaduna are being regularized into the Police Force. They say it is not the Police Force. Rather, they call it the Special Constabulary. There was a passing out parade for more than 200 officers of that force, by whatever name. They are now out there, charged with the official responsibility for curbing banditry.

This is clearly an innovation in criminology. Were Anini and Osunbor still alive, they would have walked up there and without any further training, they would be decorated with the rank of Deputy Inspector General, DIG, of that force! Yes, time changes everything.

During the Anini saga, to go into anything that had to do with law enforcement, authorities at every level placed high premium on your having no criminal records of any sort. They demanded the certificates of your family, village, local government, and state of origin. We hear that the Kaduna Constabulary thrives on the opposite direction - all you need here is a record of conviction on a felony - the more sordid, the better!

We pray for Kaduna, and we pray for Nigeria. In the months and years ahead, the multiplier effect of this seemingly obnoxious policy shall be fully manifest. In Nigeria, though, one bad turn deserves another. The same people who designed this shambolic policy will do anything to suppress its undesirable effects. And so, evil will continue to perpetuate itself! That's the nature of society.

Kidnapping is assuming a cancerous proportion every day. Authorities in Nigeria have kept being "on top of the situation". Yet, rather than abating, it keeps spreading. It is now gradually inching towards the seat of power at the heart of Abuja. There is fear everywhere.

Worse still, it has attained the feverish height of hypocrisy: From the giddy height in Abuja, they decree against the payment of ransom to kidnappers. By their reckoning, and perhaps rightly so, ransom payment provides the only source of funding and sustenance of the kidnap industry. It also emboldens the kidnap merchants.

Those who preach against payment of ransom offer no alternative - they simply want you to go and die. They ask you not to pay ransom, but they are paying ransom every day. See how it goes: they forbid the payment of ransom, but each time they perceive the approach of kidnappers to Abuja, the two Houses of the National Assembly will adjourn sitting for two weeks, and sometimes, they adjourn sine die! Calculate the loss of man-hours - the humongous loss to the taxpayer; and tell me which ransom could be close to that.

In everything, whoever is waylaid is the best judge of how to get home. It is easy to legislate against ransom payment but wait till it gets to you. The only two children you have are abducted on their way from school. A ransom of N50million is demanded. You don't have the money; and of course, nobody ever plans for such. Let's test your psychology: Listen to the authorities and leave your children to die? Or listen to the lower voice that is asking you to go to the loan shark that will give you the money - even at 1000 percent interest - to save your children?

Elsewhere, when authorities ask their people not to pay ransom, they mean it, and the citizens believe them. Citizens are assured of their protection, and if the worst happens, they will be rescued. The Philip Watson case is still fresh in our memories. On October 26, 2020, Philip Watson, a 27-year-old American was abducted in Niger Republic and taken across the border to Northern Nigeria. In the morning of October 31, 2020, Uncle Sam (the U.S.) decided that it was time to go and rescue Philip. From their Air Force Base in Niger Republic, they flew straight to the location in Nigeria where Philip was being held hostage. They rescued Philip very neatly and wasted 6 of the 7 abductors; and returned to Niger Republic! That's technology and that's a serious government at work!

If we were serious with the war against banditry, very early on November 1, 2020, we would have been in Washington DC, begging for that technology. Let them name their price. If they ask to take the balance of our oil after the oil thieves have taken theirs, so be it. After all, there can be life without oil but what is oil without life?

This war was lost even before it was declared. And now, the bandits have infiltrated every facet of our society, making the whole fight look like a con game: A crime situation in which those who would have reported the crime are part of it! Where do we go from here?

There is still the worst dimension to this sordid affair. Sometimes, the evil men demand, and receive, ransom. They still proceed to waste the victim.

This is one way of explaining the pain, agony, and anguish that the entire Igbanke Community has lived with for some 9 years since their son, Professor Paul Erie - that profound Professor of Agric. Extension in Ambrose Alli University - was cut down at the prime of his life.

Who wants to pay ransom? Certainly not the Nigerian. Nigerians are right in demanding the type of protection Uncle Same has offered Americans, and you will see if the Nigerian kidnappers will not starve to death.

2024-04-15 News