President Jonathan owes I.G ONOVO for the Daring Psychological Warfare against Kidnapping, but danger remains barring swift changes
Mr. president, while wishing these written words could reach your ears and lips, it must be noted that an ordinary Nigerian, on a daily basis earns less than 100 U.S cents or about 60 British pence, and in the Nigerian currency receives roughly around 140 naira which is less than a dollar.
Mr. President, just some weeks ago, at the University of Port Harcourt, some thing very terrible happened to two students. For not being able to complete the remaining 100 naira on a cell phone debt a student was beaten to death along with his friend by another group of students.
Sir, these are the realities during your Presidency at a time when you are struggling to return to Nigeria, the former MD/CEO of the Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola, an alleged escapee now in London.
While the ordinary Nigerian struggles to earn 10, 000 naira monthly, Akingbola is reportedly allowed N1.4million naira for his monthly expenses while sitting in his residence in London. An asset of 83 million pounds that is 126 million dollar belonging to Akingbola was recently confiscated by a London Court. Sir, what a loaded up difference in the above two accounts.
Now, Mr. President, in the light of these contrasting realities between the very poor and the exceedingly rich, the nation is raging with an illegal action called kidnapping.
The latest was a 7-day national ordeal which involved the abduction of four journalists who reported had an unusual huge amount of cash in their possessions. This 7-day frightening incident and terrifying development generally brought an emotional toll on an already fractured nation.
This national fright almost navigated the entire country into a societal crisis but for the immediate psychological warfare put on by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo.
Sir, you owe this man! In spite of the fragile state of the Nigerian Police Force, which is representative of a chronically distressed society, Onovo's tactics and leadership worked against the alleged captors of the now released journalists.
Sir, It does not matter if the any of the nation's security management had a useable tracking device, or if any technical assistance was sort from an international or outside security agency as that is what other nations like the U.S, Israel, Britain or others sometimes do in time of diplomatic or security-related distress and logistic challenge.
Sir, your recent statement that the presidency will soon procure contemporary security technology to help control criminal activities like kidnapping is a good thing.
Sir, it is great that you recently pledged to put the military to use against those that abduct individuals in the like of White-oil workers and Contractors which is how kidnapping began, and your recent show of resentment towards crimes against the new targets like wealthy and middle-class Nigerians is welcomed.
As you may be aware of, we now know why what could be called the Onovo's Rescue Manual with all of its outmoded tactics as in house-to-house; bush-to-bush search was the best alternative to fight the current wave of abduction.
In Onovo's recent true confession, the police currently lacks the “necessary equipment,” and it is no wonder that a report from the four journalists revealed that the captors had more “sophisticated” weapons and devices than a law enforcement body like the Police.
Mr. President, if truth be told, the Nigerian style of kidnapping is a felony that appears to be very distinct in its nature, features and operations.
Sir, the Nigerian style abduction, at least, at this time is mostly in the image of what could viewed as: Arranged kidnapping with systematic and sequential approaches; Unorganized Kidnapping with marks of irregularity as in the spur-of-the-moment or sudden kidnapping of any one; Media-driven kidnapping as in a highly hyped and published name of a person with sudden wealth, focused on by criminals; ludicrous kidnapping with ridiculous and bizarre characteristics as in a father abducting a son to get reward from a rich relative; Sensational kidnapping with marks of high-level acts like abducting an infant child; Message-driven kidnapping with purported information and concerns about the painful conditions in a society; Chance kidnapping with marks of opportunity and probability that the targeted victim is the right target; Sadistic kidnapping with marks of severe brutality and possible extermination of the captive, Compensatory kidnapping with marks of pure business like dealings; Humiliating kidnapping slanted on dishonoring and shaming a powerful, politically or socially placed individual; Ritual kidnapping with marks of illicit customary characteristics; and Conspiratory kidnapping as in a collaborative arrangement between persons like a disgruntled official and a bandit.
The common thread that passes through each style of kidnapping is the moment-to-moment emotion of not being a moneyed person, and the penchant for sudden riches, in the manner of those who became wealthy suddenly through corrupt or fraudulent practices.
Sir, the people in general perceives the nation as an oil-based economy where money should go around especially among the sweaty and hard laboring working-class Nigerians.
As such, there appears to be this psychological pressure for some Nigerians to become soft invitees to crime, leaving them open to a quick entry into the illegal world of abduction. It appears that some hungry students from higher institutions, a few university students and some poverty-bound police officers with free and dangerous weapons now operate in the abduction trafficking.
Sir, remember, these vulnerable Nigerians read the News papers and see writings of alleged million and billion naira under thievery by their fellow Nigerians.
Sir, just imagine what goes through the mind of a drop out student due to financial problems, what type of emotions is felt by an unemployed graduate or a police officer with a monthly belated salary ranging from 8,000 to 21,000 feels, when news of one person in the like of Senator Saminu Turaki reportedly amassed extra-ordinary wealth. Turaki, the ex-Governor of Jigawa State allegedly looted 6 billion naira of State money from the bank in one day. Sir, in one day!
Mr. President, you like many of us feel for those enormously rich Nigerians who have to result into extreme precautions like the use of expensive German shepherds and armored cars in an attempt to protect their individualities, big monies, wives, and their children.
Sir, as you may know young men and women by their very nature have so much energy or oomph, and pray for a state of liveliness. But when, some of them cannot pay for a basic living, or even purchase adequate food, shoes or clothing their vulnerable spirit might drive them to criminality.
And Sir you are right, some of these rebellious young men and women make these armored coved Nigerians their possible targets.
Sir, in a complicated society like Nigeria where the people have a very low trust level for the police, and where Informants to security agencies are reportedly killed from time to time, it is easier for captives to identify quickly with their captors emotionally.
In the same vein captives secretly pay for their freedom at all cost and as a result of fear protect the captors' identity, especially when many kidnappers appear more armed than the nation's Police.
Sir, as along as Nigeria remains a giant risk internally and among nations the threat of cyclical crimes such as extortion or abduction leaves the nation in an overwhelmed state of dilemma which makes security a problem for the people.
Sir is time for various forms of presidential executive orders to come out from you and cover important areas of the nation.
Sir, all private GSM Telecommunication device operators should install gadgets that will quickly point out and locate the origin, and place of an in-coming call, thereby making any telephone oriented crime easy to detect.
Sir, instead of trying to start a new senior police college, delay it for now and put that money and other monies into security measures for routine police work. This could begin with setting 40, 000 naira as the basic salary for an entry level police constable with secondary school certificate. Bullet proof vests for the Police become vital as the streets, banks, rural and urban areas are becoming more and more dangerous for the patrol officer.
Sir, work effectively towards more electrical power as you are currently engaged in since that could help reduce darkness as kidnappers and other criminals equally work in darkness. And with expanded electricity, employment time for those willing to work evening, and night jobs become a way to reduce unemployment.
Sir, you should work towards communications' enhancement for the police as it could make the detection rate for acts of kidnapping high and near the success rate in places like the United States of America.
Sir, work towards establishing State Policing in the nation, since local authorities tend to work better in coordinating local-driven occurrences which include crimes of kidnap that are known for their local character in terms of the captors and captives geographical , linguistic and regional surroundings.
Sir, the psychology of the nation is now in your hands, and Mr. President, no, we don't need the power of a Native Doctor or the occurrence of a bloody revolution to predict future change in the country.
Sir, the overwhelming strain in the nation requires you to provide a steady step, a bold move and an all round spirit of national battle against any force of persons not trying to make the nation right now and in the future.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D is a Forensic/Clinical Psychologist and the Interim Associate Dean of Behavioral Science, North Campus, Broward College, Coconut Creek, Florida. [email protected]