Kidnapping: Mark Declares Abia Police Boss A Failure

Source: EMMA UCHE -

ABUJA, July 14, (THEWILL) - President of the Senate, Senator David Mark came short of canvassing for outright sacking of the Abia State Police Commissioner for failing to rise up to the occasion in the face of the rampaging menace of Kidnapping and armed robbery in the state.

In his words; "What we have now is jungle environment. The orientation of the police, the training of the police, there is no reason where a Commissioner of Police should be sitting on his seat if there is kidnapping and armed robbery on daily basis in his state, it means he has failed, it is his primary responsibility and he must be told in very clear term that he failed to handle the situation."

Senator Mark condemned the spate of kidnapping that is ravaging the country, in particular in the South-East which saw to the kidnapping four journalists last Sunday. He declared that time has come for the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on these crimes, the way emergency was declared in the power sector.

"None of us here can go and do his job for him that is what he his paid to do to make sure there is safety, security of lives within his own command, all these excuses are just in my opinion not tenable they are not excuses, they are excuses for failure and if a man failed he should not remain on the seat there for us to be getting excuses from him," he said.

Mark’s declaration was against the backdrop of the resolution by the Senate at the plenary, to organize a summit of all stakeholders to address the issue of kidnapping and armed robbery in the country. They also demanded that the kidnapped journalists be released immediately and unconditionally, even as they urged the security services to fish out the people behind the kidnapping of the journalists in Abia State.

Summarizing the resolution of the Senate, he nonetheless warned that sponsors of kidnappers must be treated the same as the kidnappers, declaring also that kidnapping has done more harm than HIV and malaria.

"Some people mention the issue of unemployment. Unemployment is not the issue, the people in South-East and South-South who are engaging in these kidnappings do not have time for unemployment. The highest number of kidnapping cases is in the South-East. So until we look at it dispassionately we cannot make headway.

"If every unemployed Nigerian takes to kidnapping and armed robbery then we can imagine where we would be. We want as many youths as possible to be employed but I think unemployment….just using it as an excuse, is only a hanging excuse that people get into…it may be a reality but there is no government in the world where everybody will be employed by government.

"There are causes, the causes, one of them may be unemployment, but the rate at which it is being taken, the South-East where this thing is predominant and South-South is not the only place where there is unemployment in the country. There is unemployment in every part of this country, it is not the best reason for people to take to armed robbery and to take to kidnapping and when those people who are doing it for their own profession, when will they ever get employed, because it is almost like a profession now, It is an alternative to government unemployment!

"I also believe that the kidnapping and the armed robbery that is going on in this country is doing more harm to this country than HIV/AID than malaria, because it is taking us to a level where sooner or later, borrowing the words of Senator Maji Lawan; people will begin to fear coming into Nigeria. It’s on the Internet on daily basis and there is no way any investor will come into this country to risk his life when he cannot be guaranteed safety and government has a real responsibility.

"Personally a situation of jungle environment where we want to apply a rule of law is a very difficult thing, I think those who are involved must be handled in such a way that they will never contemplate it again in life, because at the moment they are being handled with kid glove, people are not serious with the way it is being handled, presently it is simply a jungle environment and rule of law must change to conform to deal with those who operate in jungle environment and I believe that the law enforcement agents should be able to do that.

"They need orientation, the training they get at the moment is nothing near where they can cope with the current situation that we have on our hand," Mark argued.

The Senate President in the same vein frowned at the current mode of crime fighting, saying that one way of addressing crime is intelligence gathering and that informants must be protected, adding that the present style of addressing these crimes are not working; "so we need to go back to the drawing board".

Speaking also during the debate which was sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Anthony Manzo (PDP, Taraba), the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu (PDP, Enugu) said the fact of insecurity in Nigeria, makes it impossible for Nigeria to qualify for adequate representation in direct foreign investment. He however asked that the issue of state and local government police should be revisited.

"Yes there have been several arguments against, but we cannot run away from it. It could be recalled that the colonial government in Nigeria relied on the native authority police to fight crime the time they held sway in the country. Besides there is need for intelligence gathering, because surface hunt alone will not help, it is the only way to go, aside that the war must be taken to the homes of the criminals, after all they live in our midst," he said.

Contributing to the motion, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia) not only used the opportunity to demand for immediate release of the journalists by their captors, also said that personally, his heart bleeds because "this is happening in Abia and the South-East and what is happening has cost much in human lives and the erosion of values in the society, which has exacerbated." He however called on the police to change procedures adding that it is inconceivable that the ugly incidence persists despite the fact that between Aba and Owerri the Police mounted over 63 checkpoints. In the same vein he appealed to the traditional rulers and the citizens to cooperate with the police to fight the frightening menace.

Earlier, Senator Manzo while moving the motion which was supported by 18 others, noted with grave concern the unhindered increase in the wave of insecurity across the length and breadth of ‘our beloved country’.