Growing menace of ransom

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.

Categories: Nigeria, Politics

Tags: , ,

4 replies

  1. My take on it, Fola, is that people are unable to make a living any other way. I do believe in the basic good that you will find in most people, but when times are desperate, they are forced to do desperate things. It is only a matter of time when kidnapping will become way of life here too. Our governments have capitulated with big business so much that the little guy can’t make it on his own any more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree that people are retaliating against unjust system, this was especially true with their initial focus on the politicians. Now that things are a bit tight across board ordinary folks are being targeted – it is worrying as most folks don’t have cash stashed anywhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. From what I can see, the problem is that “no one is their brother’s keeper”. When Boko Haram first started and were targeting foreigners in the North East, people thought it was “ok” – because they thought they were spared. (It is never ok’ to kidnap anybody under any circumstances). So what happened when BH ran out of foreigners, they looked to the middle classes and have been progressively working their way down the pecking order. (This happened in Northern Cameroon as well).
    I read an article some Canadians students were on exchange in Nigeria, they were kidnapped, eventually a ransom was paid and they were whisked out of the country to the safety of their own land. This is really shameful, that open academic exchange is now becoming impossible, due to poor governance. There are many other instances, many Igbos who reside in Lagos, don’t travel back to the ‘hometown’ come Christmas for fear of kidnap, South-South also has a big problem with it, and so the list goes on…
    The issue of kidnapping is not restricted to BH, now any bunch of criminals do it. The premise upon which it is all built upon is the same.
    1) ‘I’m alright jack’ attitude- ie I don’t care about anyone else but myself and (possibly) my family.
    2) Lack of standards, tolerating what is really unacceptable – when the situation gets out of hand, people start shouting, others will move away to safer lands.
    The result is that society sinks ever deeper into an ugly pit of violence and insecurity.
    If the situation is to improve society can’t merely leave it to the police and government – as they are doing now. This is a social menace that will need everyone to co-operate and practice a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards this sort of behaviour. Failure to do that, is simply marking time until the gaze of the kidnappers falls onto you and you are then another statistic. Would it not be better to practice prevention rather than rely on the cure? How this to be achieved, I don’t know, but it is possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed, they don’t care who or what you are, it is all about getting money which makes me think if each time someone is abducted, ransom is paid, what is stopping individuals initiating their own kidnap just to extort money from family of even government body?

      Yes, it is a job for all, it can not be that difficult given available technology. This will be a lot successful with government partnership as it will mean culprits be handled by law enforcement agents.


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