OP-UNEDITED | A Wake-Up Call to Governor Yahaya Bello – By Usman Okai Austin
By Usman Okai Austin
By not speaking out against the kidnapping activities on going in Kogi East, Governor Yahaya Bello has given an impression that his administration has not considered the rage of kidnappers as a social problem. However, the frequent occurrences of kidnap cases is a pointer to Kogi State’s poor security system, considering the fact that Kogi East is far from the seat of state power. It’s unfortunate that the entire Kogi East has no single presence of a Police Station.
With the avalanche of reported kidnappings in Kogi East, the urge to express discontent over this malaise becomes irresistible. As a matter of fact, the activities of the kidnappers constitute threats to the Cashew Business and Farming activities of the people of Igala and Bassa land. From all indications, it seems Governor Bello the Executive Governor of Kogi State is careless in putting in place an effective security control to curtail the menace.
So much serious pain in Kogi East, the innocent citizens are paying for the absence of a government in Kogi State. Going home to Igala land has now become dreadful not for the usual refrain of witches and wizards but due to the current wave of kidnappings.
Just about two week back, an Asian lady with her colleagues, whose company is trying to establish a stronghold in Igala land to buy cashew nuts directly and at competitive pricing as obtained in the export terminals like Lagos instead of through middlemen, were kidnapped at Etutekpe in Dekina Local Government Area.
The said company had established outlets, warehouses and empowered some locals in their own little way before this incidence. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of N10 million and the woman and colleagues were released yesterday only after the payment of N8.5 million ransom. Only God knows if they and their likes will ever venture doing business in Igala land again.
Just last week again, an Igbo medical doctor by name Dr Chukwu who owns clinics in Abejukolo, Anyigba and Okpo was kidnapped at Okpo. The kidnappers are yet to establish contacts and make their demand for ransom. In the same vein, and on a good note though, some two Igala young men, I understood, were killed in the Ankpa suburb about five days ago. The story had it that after a kidnap and ransom negotiation, the agreed amount was deposited at an agreed location. The kidnappers, after waiting for awhile and thinking the coast was now clear to retrieve their ‘booties’ and not knowing that local vigilante men were informed and positioned in the nearby bush, were gunned down by the vigilante men. Thanks to the vigilante men, thanks to the communities leaders that established the self made securities apparatus.
“This is in addition to the kidnap of an enterprising young man of Egume descent about two months ago for who I learnt about N2 million (not very sure) was paid as ransom. Recall also that Mr. Lawrence Madaki was kidnapped early this year at Elubi and understandably some money may have exchanged hands before his release. In this year too, the junior brother of the immediate past chief of staff to the governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Nasir Yunusa, was kidnapped along with one person in Dekina. They were released later ostensibly after the payment of some ransom, though not sure.”
The above is to mention some of the instances of kidnap that is gradually turning Igala land into a dreadful place to visit. There is an urgent need to look into this spate of kidnaps and do something drastic to stop or ameliorate same before we all become victims.
The state government is mute as kidnapping activities is treated as a normal occurrence. In Kogi State once you fall victim, you are strictly on your own. It was the former Governor, Idris Wada that addressed the kidnapping activities in Kogi central. Today, there is no single effort from the Kogi State government on how to address the spate of kidnappings in Kogi East. How long will these dastardly acts continue? When will the Governor who is the chief security of the state speak out? Kogi East is no longer safe for innocent Kogites but a safe haven for the kidnappers.
The activities of the kidnappers regardless of the motives have become a social problem in Kogi East, which requires and urgent social and collective action. An ugly side of this act of kidnapping is the sordid manner with which the captors negotiate with their preys.
Except something drastic is done to fight this scourge, kidnapping is bound to spread like rash, because it yields huge dividends. Similarly, the Governor’s silence in handling kidnap cases is less than satisfactory. This is because, there is an increase in the reported kidnap cases daily and the Chief Security of the state is silent.
Another thing is that the youth psyches are becoming attracted to this crime. With the prevalence of kidnapping incidents, it’s obvious it’s becoming a profession for some youths.
The abominable ethic has become a norm due to the aloofness of the Kogi state Government and its security agencies.
I am calling on the Governor as a Chief Security of the state to use his office to call the Inspector General of police for the immediate setting up of the special anti-kidnapping units in Kogi East to address this menace. There are a lot of things to learn, understudying other states like Imo, Abia, Enugu state that have addressed this menace previously.
Usman Okai Austin is the National Coordinator, PDP National Youth Frontier, PDP Headquarters, Abuja. He can be contacted via 08038060215 or on Twitter @PDPNYF
Inspired by Steve Biko’s ‘I Write What I Like‘, OP-UNEDITED is the citizen opinion segment of SIGNAL. All opinions posted on the OP-UNEDITED page are unedited and the raw opinions of the writers.
Do you have an opinion on any topic whatsoever and you want it published to reach a wide audience? Send it to us at [email protected]
Follow us on Twitter at @thesignalng
Copyright 2015 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to www.signalng.com and other relevant sources.