HURIWA to Tinubu: Declare national emergency on kidnappings

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● Describes abduction, murders of a Monk in Ilorin, staff member of Zenith Bank in Suleja as despicable

[Press Release] “The daily high toll of casualties from the dastardly criminal enterprise of armed kidnappings of citizens by daredevil killers, goes to show only one thing: that the Federal and state governments would have to jointly implement strategic approaches to stamp out the crime of armed kidnappings.”

Besides, the prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) which made the observation, condemned the murders at the weekend of a staff of Zenith Bank in Suleja near Abuja Mr. Austin Austin Ilom and the Ilorin, Kwara State based Roman Catholic Monk Brother Oyekachi Godwin Eze by armed kidnappers. The Rights group has advocated the declaration of a National State of emergency on kidnappings.

Specifically, HURIWA recalled that Brother Mark Onyekachi Godwin Eze, was a Novice Monk of Benedictine Monastery, Iruku Kwara State. Just as he hailed from Ezilo Enugu-Ezike, Enugu State. Mark was abducted from the monastery, kiIIed and the body thrown into the river, by kidnappers.

Also, the Rights group stated that a Zenith Bank staff of Suleja branch identified as Austin Ilom who was reportedly kidnapped 3 weeks ago from his house in Kubwa, Abuja has died. According to Joe Igbokwe who shared the sad story, “They asked for 50m ransom, the bank allegedly refused to help him because he was kidnapped at home and not on duty, his brother inlaw is a serving senator Agom Jarigbe he only allegedly said that he won’t do anything until bank bring their own contribution for his release. He ended up bringing only 3m, his friends and colleagues in the office raised 11.5m in total.“Kidnappers collected the 11m and asked them to go and get the balance, days later kidnappers called that they should come and pick him. “They went and picked a half dead man, shortly after he got to bwari hospital he asked for water, before they brought him the water, he gave up.” Such a sad end of Austin Ilom.”

In a media statement, HURIWA recommended that the Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, and the National Security Adviser Mallam Nuhu Ribadu should be directed by the President to work with the 36 states’ governments and the FCT, to come up with a framework for the declaration of kidnapping as a national emergency.

HURIWA also stated that both the 36 State houses of Assembly and the National Assembly should consider amending the relevant criminal laws applicable and then pass a uniform law recognizing kidnapping as a capital offence and set a special courts to fast track trials of cases of kidnappings in Nigeria just as the Rights group said state governors should not continue to observe moratorium on the execution of convicted persons tried under capital offences such as kidnappings.

HURIWA quoting experts affirmed that Kidnapping is the act of holding a person captive in order to make them offer something in return for their release. The motivation may be economic, political, or ideological.There are different patterns of kidnapping, among them kidnap for ransom, kidnap for ritual, kidnap for strategic bargain, and child abduction.

HURIWA citing scholarly work by criminologists stated tha “In Nigeria, the main form has been kidnap for
ransom. It was estimated that over US$18 million was paid as ransom in Nigeria between January 2011 and March 2020.

HURIWA lamented that the central government alongside the state governments, have over the years watched helplessly even as at least 7,222 Nigerians have been killed and 3,823 abducted as the country witnessed 2, 840 incidents of insecurity between January 1 and July 29, 2022.

The Rights group quoting a data on kidnappings, stated that: “Also, no fewer than 1,499 people were injured during the various attacks witnessed in 505 local government areas in the country. These were contained in a data obtained from the Nigeria Security Incidents Tracker by Beacon Consulting.

The Rights group said according to the data on kidnappings carried out ladt year, 605 abductions took place in January; 1,202 fatalities were recorded while 62 persons sustained injuries.In February, 887 deaths, 501 abductions and 82 injuries were recorded.In March, 1,497 deaths, 702 abductions and 209 sustained injuries were recorded from violent attacks.

The Rights group stated that the report on kidnappings in 2022 furtjer confirmed thus: “Also, in April, 633 persons were kidnapped, 1,434 were killed and 358 were injured.In May, 913 deaths, 265 abductions and 315 injuries, across the country.In June, 785 persons were killed, 676, abducted and 160, injured. As of July 29, 441 Nigerians have so far been abducted, 504 killed and 308 injured.

HURIWA recalled that a breakdown, according to geopolitical zones, revealed that the North East recorded 777 incidents in which 2,052 individuals were killed and 344 kidnapped. In the North West, 519 incidents occurred in the region, leading to the death of 2,229 individuals while 1,989 were abducted. No fewer than 494 incidents were witnessed in North Central out of which 1,748 residents lost their lives and 950 were kidnapped.

Citing the report on Kidnappings, HURIWA said that South West last year recorded 420 incidents which led to the death of 386 individuals and 195 were abducted. 310 incidents occurred in the North East region. 420 people were killed, while 157 were kidnapped. In South South, 278 incidents have so far been recorded. 386 individuals were killed and 195, kidnapped.

“The distribution, according to states, shows that Borno has the highest cases of insecurity in the country with a total of 527 incidents which led to the death of 1,746 individuals and abduction of 246. Kaduna State has the second highest cases of insecurity in the country with 216 incidents spread across 22 local government areas. A total of 790 people were killed and 1,137 kidnapped. Zamfara recorded 110 incidents in 13 local government areas. 797 people were killed and 356 kidnapped.”

HURIWA is by this media release urging President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to take decisive measure to introduce a lasting solution to the menace of kidnappings and the attendant high casualty figures which the Rights group said the incidents of kidnappings have become a hydraheaded monster that needed comprehensive law reforms and the political will by the President and governors to stamp out the crime.

Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator of HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
21st November, 2023.

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