Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Nigeria Police Record 300 Kidnap Incidents, Rescue 214 Victims in Four Months

The Nigeria police say they have recorded 300 cases of kidnapping for ransom nationwide in the last four months, July to October 2016.

The police however claims that Kidnapping menace in Nigeria reduced to 65 per cent during the period.
But Guardian Newspaper investigation into the rise in the rate of criminal activities, especially revealed that kidnapping has gone up over the last few years as it has been embraced by criminals in all parts of the country.

A document obtained by The Guardian from the police and titled ‘Curbing kidnap for ransom Nationwide: Facts and Figures’ shows that the total number of suspects arrested within the period across the country was 386, while the total number of victims rescued was 214.

Though the total number of reported cases is not stated in the report, The Guardian learnt from another source that more than 300 cases were reported to the police nationwide within the period.

The Force Public Relations Officer (FRPO), a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Don Awunah told The Guardian in Abuja that the police recognised the rise in the cases of kidnapping and was confronting the menace head-on. He said the security agents had succeeded in resolving most of the reported cases, arrested a good number of suspects and rescued most of the victims.

Awunah said: “There has been a drastic reduction in the cases of kidnapping for ransom nationwide. We have been able to reduce it in the last three or four months to about 65%. It is however, critical to mention that our primary aim is the life of the kidnapped victim. We have monitored the trend, and to use a hypothetical figure, out of 10 cases of kidnapping, we have rescued 9.5%, so I think it’s on the downward slide.”

Though official figures were not available at the time of going to press, sources said more than 300 cases of kidnapping for ransom were reported between July and October 2016.

Tracing the history of the menace in the country and how the police have subdued it, Awunah said it actually started in the Niger Delta, where it was either politically motivated or used as another pattern of agitation.

 The crime gained national prominence because of the ransom paid in exchange for the release of the victim.
“Then in the 70s, 80s and 90s came the oil boom, there was a shift to advance fee fraud and such crimes. With time came globalisation, and with it came the Internet fraud. The police have dealt with them all to the barest minimum today,” Awunah explained.

But a security expert, Kabir Adamu flayed the claim of reduction in kidnap cases, saying it was only in the Federal Capital Territory that it could have been reduced, noting that other parts of the country are still experiencing the criminal act but not reported.

Adamu, the Managing Director of Beacon Security Consulting Nigeria Limited told The Guardian that the cutback was only noticeable in Abuja and certain locations where media coverage is high.

“In Abuja, for instance, I would agree, but in Kaduna, I wouldn’t agree, especially along the Kaduna-Abuja expressway, along Birnin Gwari and then within Kaduna metropolis. In Rivers State also, I wouldn’t agree, in the villages, especially those infiltrated by bandits that everybody calls

Fulani herdsmen. In Zamfara, it is happening every day, especially in the rural communities. In Kano, it is happening on a daily basis, the cases are not reported because those guys don have access to the media,” he said.

The stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector say they have not stopped providing assistance to the police in unraveling cases of kidnappings, which have become very rampant.

Those who spoke to The Guardian yesterday stressed the need for the government to provide the needed motivation for the security agents.

According to the President, National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, ICT can be used to curb kidnappings and other crimes if the country is serious.

Making a particular reference to the Cybercrime Act 2015, Ogunbanjo said: “The law is defective in the sense that when a crime or a kidnap case is reported at a particular police station, the divisional police officer cannot take immediate action, unless he reports to the commissioner of police. By so doing, time is being wasted and more room is given to the criminal to further unleash terror.”

Culled from: Guardian Newspaper