Opinion

The business of kidnapping

Bad news. According to Rev. Joseph Hayab, the Kaduna State Chapter Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), there are at least 100 persons in the state in captivity in different kidnap camps in the state. Speaking in a media interview, Hayab listed some of these to include 38 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka; eight members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God; a Catholic priest; and four other persons in Kagarko Local Government Area. But Kaduna has not got the copyright on kidnapping.

In Oyo State, three persons are in the kidnapper’s dungeon. In Niger State, a businessman named Salau Taiwo Hussein, is still in captivity after being whisked away from his Brighter Road residence in Minna. The story is the same all over the country.

If Hayab’s story is a sample of a global population of captives in the entire country, then the Federal Government should urgently inaugurate a kidnapping fund and set up a Kidnap Finance Bank (KFB) registered with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

We have to admit that the Federal Government has embarked on a very touching campaign to stop the scourge of kidnapping and insecurity in the country. The campaign has largely involved the offices of the Chief Press Secretary to the President, Femi Adeshina, and the Special Adviser to the President on Publicity Garba Shehu. Both gentlemen have done a great job. Unfortunately, if they continue the way they are going, they may one day end up proving to Boko Haram insurgents, Fulani herdsmen and kidnappers that the pen is no more mightier than the sword. Fighting insecurity has lately been a propaganda stuff.

As an evidence of the success of the Adeshina and Shehu, the military has caught the propaganda buck and when they embark on a routine domestic military exercise would give clothe the exercise with curious names: Operation Python Dance, Operation Crocodile Tears and other such stuff which would remind you of some long-forgotten nursery rhymes. If you pay some more thought to it, you would note that the American military and indeed no military anywhere in the world has ever branded a domestic military operation or exercise.

Why because such exercise are aberrations and outside their normal call of duty. But in Nigeria, with the military not having much success with Boko Haram, they have to look for a way to engage soft targets with fanciful names like “Operation Bee Sting”; and that way make Nigerians believe that they are still limping on.

The military and the police appear to have given up on insecurity. When Shehu challenged them to publish the names of herdsmen who have been prosecuted for the different genocides in the country, they went mum. Shehu was on his own and, after that, Shehu has maintained a low profile in trying to keep fighting insecurity with his pen. Shehu, armed with his pen and laptop, was the last man standing in the fight against insecurity and Boko Haram but now he appears to have decided to use his laptop to play cards and leave Nigerians alone. This attitude had driven the last nail no government’s resistance to insecurity.

The only option open to government now is to set up a Ministry of Kidnapping to deal with kidnappers and kidnapping issues. The Federal Government could do even better by setting up the Chartered Institute of Kidnapping and training the kidnappers on how to be gentle with their captives.

It is grossly unfair that the government would be paying kidnappers huge ransom money and the kidnappers would not pay tax. Yet for the peanuts the government pays civil servants (after a series of strikes), the government insists on taxing them.

Well, the above may not be the best of ideas, but what is there to do when you have a government that continues to sleep while the country is burning. On a particular day you pick up one newspaper and the banner headline is: “Tears as suspected Fulani kill 22 in Ebonyi, Enugu.” Well not being a violent man, you drop the newspaper and pick up another one. And what do you have? Another scary banner headline: “Massacre in Ebonyi: Priest, 17 others killed by herdsmen.” Then as you are about to drop that too, your eyes catch another headline, that someone is traveling to London for a medical checkup.

It all comes down to different strokes for different folks. While others are being whisked away to the dungeons of kidnappers, others are traveling abroad to continue to live longer. In the midst of the turmoil, government sleeps and snores. They may as well wake up and tax the kidnappers.

 

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