Rising Wave Of Kidnapping
THE discovery, the other day, of a den of kidnappers and fraudsters in Ibadan as well as many other cases of kidnapping in Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Akure, Ondo State and other parts of the country underscores the growing apprehension over a menace now on the rise in some parts of the country.
It once again reaffirms the need to smash the criminal syndicates whose sole business is to prey on innocent members of the public. The trend is worrisome and shows a society fast losing its cherished values. This calls for vigilance and alertness on the part of all citizens as well as the security forces.
Located at Isase in Ojoku community of Ibadan in Ona Ara Local Council, the newly-found lair is a haven for kidnappers, fraudsters, fake currency traffickers, car snatchers and ritual killers.
Two bungalows, a shrine and an underground tunnel are part of the infrastructure of the evil nest but the discovery of that underground tunnel in the Ibadan den is a new dimension which shows the sophistication of the criminals in the conduct of their heinous activities.
The security agencies therefore have a huge task on their hands and should act decisively. According to the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Muhammed Katsina, who led reporters and other security operatives to the den, the place is a “multi-criminal den” in which all manners of crime such as kidnapping, robbery and money doubling are committed.
He said Nigerians across the length and breadth of the country with most coming from Abuja, Lagos, Kogi and other states have fallen victims. There is no way to ascertain the number of people who have been so kidnapped, defrauded or killed for ritual sacrifices in the place but the list is believed to be very long.
The principal suspect, Ismail Adesina (43), who claimed to be a herbalist and not a kidnapper, has since been arrested while some of his accomplices are on the run.
Citing the launch of “Operation Water Icing”, which is aimed at spreading the police’s dragnet to smoke out criminals, no matter where they are in the state, the Commissioner acknowledged that the war against criminals in the state was yielding positive results and would surely achieve more.
Sadly enough, Ibadan, the hitherto political and economic capital of the old Western Region, has suddenly become the den of devious criminality of all sorts.
This is giving the city bad image. This descent into infamy should be halted by the authorities. But the menace of kidnapping is not limited to Ibadan. Indeed, it seems to be pervading the whole of the Southwest region more than any other part of the country.
Within the last few weeks, the cases of kidnapping of high profile individuals have been on the increase. Princess Toyin Omosowon the regent of Akungba Akoko in Ondo State endured days in the hands of kidnappers before she was rescued. Health workers in Ekiti State were also kidnapped for ransom, leading to a mass protest by all employees in the state.
Reverend Father Akingbade, a Catholic priest was kidnapped in Ado Ekiti within the same period. Professor Rosemund Osahogulu of the University of Education in Rivers State and another colleague, Ignatius Ajuru were also kidnapped.
These are to mention just a few. Not too long ago, a dungeon where scores of kidnapped men and women had been tortured and killed was discovered at the Soka area of Ibadan along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
In the dungeon were some people who were still alive but looking every inch like destitute; along with human skulls, decomposed bodies and various body parts. Several identity cards, discarded clothes and shoes, apparently belonging to victims, littered the scene. Guns and several other weapons were also found.
It was a gory sight, one that advertised the clear inhumanity of those involved in the menace. Certainly, all Nigerians must be one another’s keeper in a regime of eternal vigilance.
Human values have been so bastardised and preaching to the kidnappers will not deter them. The full weight of the law should therefore be brought upon them when caught.
In Anambra State, for instance, where kidnapping used to be rampant, the State Government has taken the bull by the horns to go after known or perceived kidnappers and ritual killers. Buildings and other properties used by the criminals were bulldozed. This drastic action has brought respite to the people, who can now move freely without fear. Other places under the siege of kidnappers are ripe for a similar action to rid the society of criminal elements.