• News - North Central - FCT
  • Updated: January 07, 2024

Insecurity: Set up judicial panel to uncover those behind kidnapping for ransom in Abuja, others —HURIWA tells Tinubu

Insecurity: Set up judicial panel to uncover those behind ki

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to set up a National Judicial Commission of Inquiry to probe incessant armed kidnappings for ransom in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and other parts of Nigeria.

Allnews.ng learned that members of the commission would include representative of civil society groups, private and public sectors to unravel sponsors behind the illicit trade.

The demand was made in a statement by the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), and released to Allnews.ng. 

HURIWA stated that the successes recorded by armed kidnappers and the sophisticated nature of the weapons the kidnappers wield, demonstrated without much shadows of doubts that the leaders of these various syndicates make a kill from these terrorism business and that influential persons in different arms of the security forces are to be  suspected.

HURIWA said the inquiry should also focus on why kidnappers are successfully using telecommunication to negotiate and receive huge ransom payments without the security forces ever flagging them down using the information technology equipment which the police claims to have procured for over a decade. 

The Rights group said the systematic collapse of intelligence amongst the security agencies is a symptom of the deeper issues of conspiratorial collaboration between the undesirable elements and some key officers in the security forces, no doubt.

HURIWA therefore, believed that the time has come for the President to take this decisive step to expose, arrest and prosecute these moles working with terrorists and kidnappers whilst operating as security operatives. 

Further, the organization recalled that since the National Assembly that statutorily ought to probe this form of serious security threats had become pervasive and abdicated from this constitutional duty, the President being the Head of government and the elected person charged with the command and control of the armed forces of Nigeria, and  since the heads of the security agencies are answerable to him, it is incumbent that in discharging his primary obligations of protecting lives and property of Nigerians, he  must provide the enabling environment to unveil the hidden factors and personalities behind the seemingly unending cases of armed and bloody kidnappings in the country.

Also, HURIWA pointed out that the best way government at the national and sub-national levels can assure the foreign investors of a stable and secure environment for their investments if they bring them to our soil, is by demonstrably showing the requisite commitment, passion and competencies to challenge and confront headlong, the hydra-headed monsters of terrorism and general climate of insecurity, instability in Nigeria.

It added that the current administration just like the one before it, has continued using the unworkable security formula that has failed to cover the real kingpins behind the supplies of logistics and weapons of the highest military grades which are deployed by terrorists and kidnappers in carrying out their daredevil terrorist attacks on Nigerians. 

HURIWA said unlike the past president Buhari’s administration that went to bed with mass murderers, terrorists and kidnappers, the fresh administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu should set a good example of a government determined to right the endemic wrongs in the war on terror and war against crimes and criminality. 

The Rights group suggested thus: "Setting up a credible and high powered judicial investigative board that should sit for not less than a month or two, to determine and ascertain with scientific certainty, the individuals especially those embedded within the military, police, Department of State Services, Customs, immigration and Civil defence, responsible for providing terrorists and kidnappers with weapons and the friendly environment to carry out their businesses in Nigeria without been successfully routed and uprooted for over a decade, will inevitably turn president Tinubu to a statesman." 

"This will be a very qualitative way to search for a conclusive solution to the perennial terrorist activities of bandits, kidnappers and insurgents in Nigeria that have made Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of nations because any Sovereignty that is incapable of wrestling terrorists and kidnappers and bring them down to their knees to surrender, that political entity wouldn't have any kind of respectability in the international arena whereby serious minded nations that have capacities to secure their territory and their people are talking." 

It said no big time player in the international business environment will take the risk of committing their precious funding and technological expertise in a riotous environment full of kidnappers and their collaborators in the armed forces like it is currently in Nigeria. 

Conversely, HURIWA has proposed that the security architecture of the Federal Capital Territory should be fundamentally tinkered with and rejigged in such a way that a serving Deputy Inspector General of police should oversee the policing of the Federal Capital Territory with 6 commissioners of police assigned to take charge of the six Area Councils for at least one year.

HURIWA stated also that it is imperative that the National Assembly working on an emergency appropriation bill by the executive, should provide special funding mechanisms with necessary oversight functions to prevent corruption for the comprehensive one year special security programme to secure the Federal Capital Territory and for joint military and police elite units to be adequately funded and necessary crime fighting technological facilities provided with the shortest possible time to rid all the FCT forests of insurgents, kidnappers and terrorists who are perpetrating intermittent killings of residents and successful kidnappings of FCT residents. 

"With every sense of patriotic duty, we want to warn that if determined actions backed up by formidable security architecture are not enforced towards crushing the rising numbers of terrorists and kidnappers infiltrating the FCT, then in a very short time this year, these daring kidnappers and terrorists may find it seamless to operate from house-to-house in the very key centres of Abuja to pick and choose the potential residents to kidnap so they can maximise the benefits of the ongoing commerce which seems to have some powerful individuals sponsoring them in these criminal enterprises. 

Warning that a stich in time, saves nine, the Rights group said the federal government must recognize that if these cases of kidnappings continue to take place in the FCT, then the image of the country will dwindle further to an all time low just as Somalia may even have more respect that Abuja. HURIWA said if the USA, UK should include the FCT in their routing travel advisory they issue from time to time on insecurity, then it will be the most disappointing failure by this administration in the area of security vis-a-vis the international status of Nigeria.

The Rights group in a press statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, regretted that there have been far too many cases of kidnappings happening unchallenged in the Federal Capital Territory and that the frequency has become frightening since October of last year.

The Rights group said it is shocking that the political authority in the FCT are not even bothered may be because Nigeria spends so much to provide them with special security cover and protection all year round with some of these publicly funded personal security details of ministers seen wielding some of the biggest guns anyone can imagine. 

The Rights group recalled that an Abuja-based lawyer, Opeyemi Adewale, has recounted her ordeal in the hands of suspected kidnappers who abducted her in the Federal Capital Territory on September 26, 2023. 

HURIWA recalled that the lawyer, Adewale told the media that her husband and colleagues parted with N1m before she was released. She said her ordeal started when she boarded a 14-seater bus on the evening of September 26 at a park in Lugbe not knowing that it was a “one-chance” bus.

The lawyer said she realised that she was in trouble when, six minutes into the trip, the man who sat beside her started attacking her. She said it was at that point that she realised that out of all the occupants of the bus, only she and two other women were real passengers while others were members of the gang. 

Also, around September last year, afemale resident Mistura Olasinde and her two daughters, Hauwa and Fatima, of Starwood Estate, Galadimawa, in the Federal Capital Territory, were abducted on Friday, September 8, 2023, in the nation’s capital. 

HURIWA recalled that Mistura’s husband, Surajudeen Olasinde, a staff member of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria, revealed that the incident happened at Kabusa Garden Estate while his wife and children were driving home in their Toyota Highlander from Garki to Starwood Estate located in-between Galadimawa and Lokokogoma areas of Abuja, where they reside.

“Their abduction happened around 7 pm last Friday on their way from Garki. Immediately they reached Kabusa Garden Estate at the spot where the road was terribly bad, the kidnappers came out from the nearby bush and attacked them. They started shooting to scare people away before they marched them into the bush,” Olasinde said. 

On September 7th 2023, Nineteen persons were, yesterday, kidnapped in Bwari Area Council of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja. The minister, who was miffed at the developments said he would summon the FCT Director of Department of State Services as well as the Commissioner of Police to receive adequate briefings on the kidnap and facilitate rescue operations.  

Meanwhile, HURIWA observed that the escalating cases of criminality in Abuja, the federal capital, have worsened with the latest attacks on Gbaupe, a rural village behind ACO Estate Lugbe, along the Abuja Airport Road, where 12 people, including a 9-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, were kidnapped. A villager told Vanguard that the attack took place around December 9th 2023.

According to him, two of those abducted escaped as they were being arched into the bush behind the village. 

HURIWA recalled too that in December of last year, armed kidnappers abducted residents from the Kubwa area of Abuja late Dec. 6. Initial reports indicate the attackers stormed multiple homes near Arab Road, firing indiscriminately and kidnapping at least eight people. The assailants shot two people, killing one, as they fled the area. Officials did not immediately confirm a motive for the attack. 

HURIWA recalled a report by a criminologist that factually observed that there is a high threat of kidnapping across all states in Nigeria. The risk is particularly acute in the northwest, where officials have failed to curtail attacks and kidnappings despite various security measures implemented, such as increased operations, curfews, and business restrictions. Most kidnappings in Nigeria are financially motivated and conducted by criminal groups (also called bandits) of varying levels of sophistication. Militant and/or extremist groups also conduct kidnappings that may be ideologically or financially motivated.   

It recalled that the expert has cautioned citizens to always consult local security partners on the viability of traveling in and around the impacted locations.

Do not discuss plans and routes publicly. If operating in the area in the long term, vary routes and times of travel and ensure the use of secure transport. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by security personnel. Maintain contact with diplomatic representations if you are a foreigner living in Nigeria.

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