Posted by News Express | 16 February 2021 | 515 times
Hopelessly grappling with widespread incessant armed robberies and cult-related violence already robbing the people of peace, endemic kidnapping cannot be added to the woes of helpless Edolites. Elders and well-meaning Edo citizens must act in synergy, devoid of considerations of political or other affiliations.
Kidnap survivor – December 20, 2020 (ThankGod Okuk): “After Ehor, we were attacked by a gang of Fulani herdsmen who shot sporadically into the air. There were lots of dead bodies inside the forest, with their hands tied to their back. We excreted and urinated on our bodies throughout the days we spent in the forest. They brought in passengers twice a day, both women and children. Sometimes when they encountered any police escort, they would kill him and make away with his gun and cap. Whenever this happened, the person that fired the shot that killed the policeman would be promoted.”
Kidnap survivor – January 24, 2021 (Bridget Esene): “The armed men numbering five trailed me to my church at Ikhueniro near Benin City where I was kidnapped. I was forced into their car and driven out of the church premises by my abductors who later sold me to another set of kidnappers, who are suspected herdsmen. I saw hell and I don’t wish my enemy such.”
Kidnap deceased – February, 2021(Eloniyo Abuda): Unfortunately, like the majority of hopeless and helpless Nigerians ensnared in the odious crutches of kidnappers, Prince Abuda cannot share the heart-wrenching tale of his survival. An American-based Nigerian, Prince Eloniyo Abuda was found dead five days after he was abducted by suspected Fulani herdsmen. Abuda, who lived in Atlanta, Georgia, was abducted alongside two other men and a woman along the Benin-Auchi road while travelling from his home town Fugar, in Etsako Central Local Government Area of Edo State to Lagos to catch a flight to the United States.
A plethora of gut-wrenching tales of kidnapping abound. Victims in recent times have included the Head of Service of Edo State, Mr Anthony Okungbowa; Prof Waziri Edokpa, Chairman Esan Central Local Government Area and Israel Inyanabor, a councillor representing Ward 1 in Ewohimi, Esan South-east Local Government Area.
For every politically exposed person whose kidnapping has been widely reported in the media, there are hundreds everyday of regular Edo citizens who have been perilously caught up in the evil vortex of kidnappers. Although kidnap survivors – Mr Paul Aluola, a schoolteacher at Iruwa Primary School, Ohordua and his wife, a petty trader at Ewatto in Esan South-East Local Government – lived to tell their tales of woe, numerous others go unreported. This has become a norm in a nation that systematically attaches zero dignity to human life and, rather, classifies citizen-victims absentmindedly as nameless citizens.
Encumbered by a junta-inspired constitution that is at the very least untenable to the realities of Nigeria, the assignation of Governor’s as Chief Security Officers of their states is an absurd constitutional contradiction. Armed with only just the wordings on a document, for in truth they are “almost” as powerless as every one of their state citizens, governors have had to again and again invoke the “wordings”, much like illusionists hoping to conjure up powers of awe and coercion in fulfilling their roles as chief security officers. The potency or otherwise of “almost” that differentiates governors from hopeless and helpless citizens depends on their ability as conjuring illusionists. Such is the debacle of our constitution.
A recent interview granted by the Aare Ona Kankafo of Yoruba land, Chief Gani Adams is illustrating. When asked by the interviewer, Seun Okinbaloye of Channels TV about the propriety of Gov Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s much-circulated quit order to gun-toting herders? His response succinctly illuminated not the notice itself but the desired results from the notice. In effect, everyone has been jolted into action and something was being done. Such is the efficacy of the “almost” powers derived through the constitutional “wordings” that Governors employ.
The murderous, rapacious, unremitting daily kidnapping attacks on petrified, helpless citizens in Edo State who are either killed or held captive in forests for massive ransoms is ramping up by the day, seemingly fuelled by emboldened marauders who sense no one is in a hurry to put a stop to their reign of terror. More galling is the fate of impoverished, down-trodden citizens who get ensnared in these random kidnapping binges and are obviously unable to afford the humongous ransoms these daredevils are demanding.
I call on the revered lord of all Edo people, Oba Ewuare II N’Ogidigan (Oba ghato kpere, ise!) to, once again, be a beacon to his people and lead in bringing peace and security to his realm. A general call to duty must be answered to lift this abominable kidnapping siege occasioning daily existential threat to life, limb and livelihood of the Edo people.
Governor Godwin Obaseki must act. Like Akeredolu, his mandate by the people is refreshingly fresh to be emboldening and he must act to restore the peace, no matter whose cup of tea he spills over. The silence of the graveyard best describes Edo State once day turns to night.
The heartbeat of the state must be restored day and night. Obaseki must employ all mechanisms at his disposal to fight this war against kidnappers and insecurity. He must lead an unprecedented, ingenious onslaught to rid Edo of this burgeoning kidnapping plague. Edo must “wake and see” he is leading, lest in the vacuum, lamentably, an Edo Igboho arises!
•Ikhatalor, Human Rights Defender and Good Governance Advocate, twits @MyTribeNigeria; firstname.lastname@example.org
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