Stitch in time saves nine, goes the saying.
For the last 5 years at least, kidnapping has become another usual news that we no longer startle about.
The target used to be politicians, their family members and comrades – not anymore. Teachers, doctors and everyone in-between is now target , even the clergies are not spared.
I read with pity kidnappers haggling back and forth with a Catholic church in Lagos over a priest and his wife release, the kidnappers must have miscalculated how much the priest was worth or perhaps how much the church could afford to pay for a missing clergy. At first instance, they asked for 100M naira ( around $500k) isn’t that unbelievable? After much bargaining the priest was released but the wife was detained until more money was paid. The priest and his wife was kidnapped on their return to Lagos from Delta State.
In all of the cases of abductions that I have read, from Ms Adichie’s father, Chief Falae to former president GEJ many relatives – ransom was paid for release.
Therefore, kidnapping is lucrative business in Nigeria that guarantee huge returns.
Dr Biodun Ogungbo writes regularly on health matters for Punch Newspaper, usually his articles are light-hearted keeping Nigerians informed on health matters and tips to stay healthy.
This week his writing was of concern for his abducted colleagues across the country. He narrated how doctors were being kidnapped on return from work, those on humanitarian mission were not spared.
It got so bad that doctors in Rivers boycott work so state government could pay attention to the issue and find a way to protect medical doctors from further kidnap.
This is sad, it is worrying that we will leave this issue until roadside hawkers can no longer be guaranteed to hawk safely on their streets.
Kidnappers have one goal – to extort the maximum amount of money individual is willing to part with. The only reason the doctors have been the target is the assumption that all doctors swim in endless cash and because their skills is so valuable, family, friends or government body will be willing to pay for their release.
My understanding of Dr Ogbungbo’s article can be summed up as iku to n pa ojugba eni, owe lo n pa fun ni (the death that keeps killing ones’ mates, calls for attention).
In order to stop kidnappers, paying ransom must be stopped – this will only happen if both community and government work together to oust those who choose kidnapping as a career in our communities and government take necessary action to deal with them.
While we can’t afford to lose the few doctors we have, the problem with kidnapping is that they will attack anyone or any profession that guarantees ransom – there should be a way to disincentify these criminals.