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|Kidnap Cases In Nigeria; What Is The Way Out? by AbuHanifa: 12:43pm On Oct 01, 2010|
234 NEXT NEWSPAPER REPORTS ON FRI OCT 1, 2010
Worried by the incessant abduction of its members, the Edo State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has petitioned Goodluck Jonathan on the state of insecurity in Edo State, particularly kidnappings, with the doctors apparently being the main targets.
No fewer than four doctors have been kidnapped in the state within the last four weeks, with the abduction of a couple, Olabisi Ihenyen, the Chief Medical Director of the Federal Psychiatric Hospital, Benin, and her husband, Lionel, last week being the latest. The doctors blamed the porous security situation in the country on insensitivity on the part of government officials at all levels.
In a petition signed by the association’s chairman, Philip Ugbodaga; Secretary, Emmanuel Ighodaro and the Public Relations Officer, Kennedy Alohan, and made available to NEXT yesterday after it was presented to the president through the state government, they suggested that the federal government should also review and redeploy heads of security apparatuses in the states as he has done at the federal level.
“Kidnapping, which started like child’s play a few years ago in Port Harcourt, has since assumed a life of its own and has defied all solutions,” the doctors said. “It has now gone beyond a remote trend to become a constant part of our existence. As doctors, we are extremely worried that we are unable to practice our profession in an atmosphere of fear, anxiety and insecurity.
“In the past couple of months, at least 18 medical/dental doctors have been abducted in Edo State, creating fear and anxiety in the minds of doctors practicing in the state. Clearly, Edo is now tops in the despicable crime of kidnapping of doctors.”
The statement said the security situation has put doctors in constant fear, as they are unable to engage in call duty and emergency services rendered after normal work hours. They, therefore, called for the convocation of a national conference on kidnapping, to find a way forward.
“The sweeping changes in the top echelon of the nation’s security apparatus you undertook recently should be immediately extended to the security establishments in all states of the federation, and especially Edo State,” he said. “There is a need to restructure Nigeria to accommodate state and community policing. The security agencies should stop kidnapping now. We believe they are capable of doing it if they are ready to work. The general feeling of the people now is not whether it will happen but when, where and who the next target would be.”
The doctors said the effect of kidnapping on the state is too enormous, as it scares away potential investors and robs the state of the benefit of development opportunities. “It clearly appears to us that the only safe place to live in Nigeria is Aso Rock,” they said. “We therefore urge you to deploy the same security arrangement in the villa to the rest of Nigeria. That is the only way we can be assured that you are truly working in the interest of the people of this country.” The NMA also said the scourge of kidnapping is a direct result of the “long-standing irresponsibility of successive Nigerian leaders,” resulting from bad governance and corruption. It also blamed Nigeria’s “sad culture that venerates wealth without regard to its source”.
PM NEWS REPORTS ON 17TH OF SEPT 2010
Five members of the National Youth Service Corps, four female and one male, were last night, at about 11.30 pm, abducted by unknown gunmen at Corpers’ Lodge at Unuogha Community Secondary school in Omuma Local Government area of Rivers State.
According eyewitness account, the gunmen who arrived in a Sports Utility Vehicle, stormed the Corpers’ Lodge, shot sporadically into the air to scare people and abducted the corps members.
They also made away with valuable belongings of the Corps members.
Immediately after the Corps members were abducted, the kidnappers put the Corps members on phone to announce to their colleagues and relations that they are holding them.
At the time the operation was on, the Police were contacted and immediately mobilised to the scene but only succeeded in pursuing them into the boundary between Abia and Rivers states.
The Rivers State Police image-maker, Mrs. Rita Innoma-Abbey confirmed the kidnap when contacted and said that the Rivers Police command is working round the clock in conjunction with the Abia Police Command to ensure the release of the victims unharmed.
In his reaction, Blessing Wikina, the Acting Chief Press Secretary to Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, told PMNEWS that “it is very sad an unfortunate that at the time corps members are serving their fatherland they could be kidnapped. The state Government calls on the kidnappers to release them forthwith as they are of no pecuniary value.”
He also called on the police to ensure their release unharmed.”
On 10 August,this year, during a Town Hall Meeting with the people of Omuma Local Government, the governor pledged to pay N1 million on each kidnapper arrested by the villagers to stem the tide of kidnapping in the local government.
As a precautionary measure, P.M.NEWS learnt that the rest Corps members are being evacuated from their lodge by the government.
SUN NEWSPAPER 1ST OCT 2010
Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers on Monday morning hijacked a school bus conveying 15 pupils of Abayi International School, Osisioma, near Aba to their school and took them to an unknown destination. Daily Sun gathered that the driver of the school bus had gone out that morning to designated points as was the schedule to pick the pupils to school.
On getting to a spot at Ekeakpara, it was learnt that a Toyota Camry saloon car waylaid the school bus and ordered the driver at gunpoint to stop. It was also gathered that as the driver came down, the hoodlums collected his mobile phone set and ordered him to lie face down while they drove off with the pupils towards Etche in Rivers State.
Investigations revealed that most of the kidnapped school children were nursery and primary school pupils.
The kidnappers were said to have demanded N20 million ransom for the release of the kids.
When Daily Sun visited the school located in the outskirts of Aba, teachers and some parents of the abducted kids were seen in groups discussing the fate of the children even as one of them appealed to the abductors to release the children without further delay considering their tender ages.
When contacted, the principal of the school who would not disclose his name for fear of being attacked, although confirmed the incident, refused to give further details.
He said it was only the manager that could speak on the issue. But the manager said the matter was too sensitive to be discussed now. She, however, promised to speak after the release of the children.
Some people who spoke with Daily Sun condemned the high rate of kidnapping in the city.
While calling on the kidnappers to take the ages of the children into consideration and release them immediately, they called on government to do something urgent to arrest the situation.
Abia State Government had last week given kidnappers in the state a two-week ultimatum to surrender their weapons and be rehabilitated by government in an amnesty programme that appeared to mean nothing to some of the hoodlums. Since the ultimatum was issued, no day had passed without a reported case of kidnapping or violent crime in the commercial city.
In another incident, gunmen last Saturday killed two policemen at Umuafor Ukwu in Obingwa Local Government Area (where four journalists and their driver were kidnapped sometime ago). The policemen were said to be on patrol when they ran into the gunmen who opened fire, killing two of them instantly and reportedly burnt their Hilux van.
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