TACKLING THE MENACE OF KIDNAPPING
Since the kidnap of four Nigerians-three journalists, including the Chairman of the Lagos Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Wahab Oba and their chauffeur and still, nothing seem to love been done by the Nigerian police and other security agencies to effect the release of the men.
It's not because they are journalists that there has been a general outcry. It is not only journalists that are victims of the vice of kidnapping but the fact remains that journalist already have more than their own fair share of trouble in an industry that is discouraging and lacks virtually any incentives for the hazardous job they are doing in not only serving as society's number oe watchdog, but in defending the cause of freedom and pursuing the paths of peace.
Since this evil reared its ugly head few years ago, it is instructive to note that none of the perpetrators of this dastardly act had ever been arrested or charged to court. Rather the government and other stakeholders appear to sanction it with their negotiation deals with kidnappers and payment of ransom monies without effective measures to stem the ugly trend.
The menace of kidnapping in this country which is a direct result of the broken politics in Aso Rock and the failed policies of government at all levels in the nation is rapidly getting out of hand. It started, first, as a bargaining chip by the Niger Delta Militants in their quest for a better deal in the distribution of oil wealth, beginning with just the abduction of expatriates apparently to draw global attention to injustices in the Niger Delta region.
But somewhere along the line they expanded their purview into the abduction of fellow Nigerians including little children and it then evolved into something more than leverage, until like a ravaging cancer and a monstrous octopus it grew and spread its reprehensible tentacles into the very fabric of our national life becoming a thriving business for miscreants, delinquents, the degenerates and the dejected; and we fear it is going to be more than that in the days and months ahead as it is certainly going to be a handy political weapon which will be used with reckless abandon as the 2011 general elections draws closer if something isn't done and done in a hurry to nip this growing nightmare in the bud. We hope the government sees this fast.
We call on the police and other security apparatuses to take proactive and innovative steps to quickly secure the release of the journalists. And we further call on Media owners along with the government to set in motion adequate insurance cover for journalists. And to further forestall this nightmare, we call on the government, in particular the legislature to quickly enact legislation against kidnapping. While we frown at the death penalty, we ask government at all levels to put in place stiff penalties against kidnappers, say a minimum of 10 years imprisonment to curb this evil and serve as deterrent to others.
However, this will only be an initial act, for law alone cannot make men see right. Legislation alone will not stop kidnapping. Government at all levels must take concrete and effective measures to eradicate those deplorable conditions-poverty, diseases, unemployment and lack of the enabling environment and weak infrastructures that encourages kidnapping and other societal ills.
Finally, we call on Nigerians in all walks of life, as the days and months unfold, not only to look out for themselves but to look for one another, and be more careful, alert and extra security conscious, for in a nation like Nigeria as it is currently structured, it is perhaps wiser to create your own government around you and your family, friends and loved ones.
Comrade Eneruvie Enakoko