Delta Kidnappings: A Tonic Way Out

 [ Masterweb Reports ] – Despite the frantic effort of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan to set up a combined Military Task Force in Warri to combat incessant kidnappings in the state, yet kidnapping is growing at geometrical progression while victims bear the brunt. Kidnapping in Delta State is fast becoming a worthwhile business for some of the ostensible Delta youths who felt, it is the only way to make ends meet. Even Governor Uduaghan went as far to set up another Delta Police Anti- kidnapping Squad (PAS) and purchased heavily armored vehicles to security agencies in the state to combat digital kidnappings but no avail.


It is sad that the Delta oil rich state is being under the siege of ferocious kidnappers’ haven that equally prevented foreign investors to invest and being unjustly abducted. Kidnapping is fast becoming a scientific crime that has generated into every nooks and crannies of the state which the fear of coming to Delta State by non Deltans is the beginning of wisdom and trepidation. The continuation of high profile kidnappings of prominent sons and daughters could be traced to political instability that has digitally crept into the state with no definite solution. The incessant arrests of abductors are yet to bring peace into Delta State in recent times. Kidnappers’ are taken Delta state leadership to the cleaners without considering the cost of governance in the country.


Since 2010 precisely when Delta state kidnappers started professionally which was mainly traced to Niger Delta militants in Bayelsa State? Though the Amnesty programme set up by the then late President Musa Yar’ Adua in 2010 which brought at least 75 percent reduction of kidnappings in the region while militants were instituted into comprehensive trainings to foreign countries and Nigeria. Over 200 kidnappers have been apprehended while the Head of the Delta Police Anti- kidnapping Squad Dickson Adeyemi was accused and arrested along side with his boys over aiding and abetting of kidnappers in the state. To the extent that a bill was initiated by Uduaghan to the House of Assembly to be signed into law on Delta penalty on Kidnappers or being jailed for 44 years. Although, some kidnappers were recently jailed for 44 years by one Justice Theresa Diai in the state. The so -called desperate kidnappers are only interested with high profile Deltans and nothing else.


Some schools of thought assume that Delta kidnappings could be traced to Unemployment of youths, Greed, insider involvement, Politics and Ex-militants. But the fact is that kidnapping is high form of criminality which is similar to armed robbery, raping, ritual killings, stealing but ransom is being placed on the former while some kidnappers’ victims have been killed for not amicably settled with high ransom demanded by the so-called kidnappers in recent times. The statistics shown that over 20 people have been kidnapped in one spot or the other with high negotiation of substantial amount of money in their hideouts. Some of the kidnappers’ victims in recent times are Professor Hope Eghagha, Delta State Commissioner for Higher Education, Chief Dr, Gregory Oke Akpojene (MON) IDU President, Markson Macaulay, the son of the present SSG to the Delta State Government, Uchenna Abueme, NYSC member, Reverend J Isreal, Justice Marcel Okoh, Benedicta Offorkachi, Madam Suzanne Elumelu, Coordinating Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala’s mother, Okey Ofili, Obomejerio Aforkeya and others. Even one Ivrogbo- Irri prominent daughter of the soil in Isoko South LGA of Delta State, Dr Mrs. Ugboma, the mother of the Nigerian popular comedian, Bovi Ugboma was almost kidnapped late last year but was quickly intercepted by the police who were on patron duty.


Overtly, kidnapping could be also traced to the National security failure of President Goodluck Jonathan who could not tackle the emergence of insurgent Islamic extremist called Boko Haram in the Northern part of Nigeria which over 5000 of people killed while property worth millions of naira destroyed. Terrorism is gradually spreading to other parts of the country. In the South West, Pipeline vandalization is more pronounced in that part of the region while South East that kidnapping was the major profession by their youths now turned into ritualism of dead bodies flowing in their major river without tracing the perpetrators of this heinous acts. In spite that the Federal Government budgeted high on the security vote, yet security matters is being treated with levity while Nigerians are living in palpable fears of destructive kidnappers who sometimes kill their victims for not complying with their outrageous demands. The mechanism to tackle security situation is yet to be defined by our so-called security operatives in Nigeria. Even in Delta State a so-called and self-styled clergy, Emmanuel Abuovom of African church was involved in kidnapping. Christian Obodo, Super Eagle player was also kidnapped with ransom of #30 million to bail him out from kidnappers.


Again, the unjust ban of motorcyclists popularly known as Okada is also causing incessant kidnappings without providing alternative means to Okada riders rather providing Tricycles that are beyond the reach of ordinary okada rider on the street in the state while some traditional leaders and politicians are behind the kidnapping spree. Most of the youths that are resort to kidnapping as the only way to survive the neglected political terrain in the state where some of these so-called politicians bought them some heavily armed weapons to fight their political opponents and later abandoned them after being elected into their respective offices. Some of the professed politicians promised some of the youths but wickedly disappointed them for greed of office and nothing else.30 percent of Delta youths are graduates but unemployable in the labour market and some of the major oil companies in the state. The recent kidnapping of Prof Abednego Ekoko, former Vice Chancellor of DELSU last Sunday at St. Paul Anglican Church at Uzere community, precisely his home town is an indication of security threat in Isokoland.Uzere community is presently prey to kidnappers. Though series of kidnappings are being perpetrated in the community over traditional leadership and others.Uzere community must resolve their issues now to avoid being plunged the community into conflict war than waiting for the state government.


In the nutshell, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan needs to hold a comprehensive town hall meeting on monthly basis where all traditional rulers, elders, community leaders, security agencies, the 25 local government chairmen, stakeholders, industrialists, church leaders, NGOs, NBA, students, medical practitioners, traders association, artisans and others should find a lasting solution to kidnappers’ in the state. Jailing kidnappers for 44 years would rather increase kidnappings in the state. It is time for the state government to involve private- public partnership in curbing crime among unemployable youths in the state. The likes of Otunba Isaac Emiyede, ACN, South South leader in Lagos State, Engr Solomon Okpithe, Zakka Bala, security expert, Igwilo Nachukwu, Presidor Ghomorai, Comrade Joseph Evah, Rev Benedict Eto, Cordelia Okpei, Fred Edoreh, Pst Bello Osagiwe,Prince Frank Egbodo, Deacon Nwafor Micheal, Hon Raphael Okelezo should be invited to provide useful advice on how to tackle security failure in the state now. The three point agenda of Uduaghan which security and peace topped the list must severely dealt with to make the state centre of excellence.


Godday Odidi (08058124798), a Public Affairs Analyst reports from Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria.


*Photo Caption – Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan

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