The Trending Business of Kidnapping

Sometime in 2010, I travelled with the family to Warri, Delta State for vacation with an Uncle who worked with one of the oil companies situated in the region. They had initially been based in Port Harcourt but had to relocate due to problems with Militants and series of oil worker abductions taking place then. Later the imbroglio with Militants subsided and wanton kidnappings began. My cousin, Lola, informed us then that they were  wary about staying in Port Harcourt because kidnapping had become the order of the day. At that time, Warri turned out to be the safer place to be located, but now, the tides seem to have changed; the long arm of kidnappers seem to have pervaded everywhere in the eastern region.

As at the time when we visited the region, kidnappings seem to happen at random to anybody. Today, it happens to specifically targeted celebrities or supposedly wealthy personalities as we can see in the case of Okonjo-Iweala's mum, Nkiru Sylvanus, ESUT Vice-Chancellor amongst others. Recently one of our bloggers Sisi Yemmie's mother was also kidnapped a few days ago.

A friend of mine who's half-caste cousin was getting married to a white man told me of how the father of the bride had to lodge the family of the groom (who all flew in from the US) in a hotel next door to them. Part of the wall separating them from the hotel was pulled down to make a passageway between the hotel and bride's family's residence. Aides and cooks were assigned to attend them for any of their needs so that they never need to leave the Hotel except for the traditional and white wedding as well as the reception. This was all in bid to make sure the white folks were kept from the prying eyes of people outside and potential kidnappers. The security was so well planned that the white folks had a nice time and looked forward to it again after their return.

The scourge of kidnapping has become a menace in the society but surprisingly its more geared towards making money instead of towards a cause as we had in the days of the militants. I gathered info from somebody that some kidnapping kingpins ran it as a business and had farms or hideouts in the villages where they could keep their victims away before the ransom is delivered.

Worse is the fact that kidnapping is also being hatched among family members against another family member; there was a time Channels Television carried the report of a guy who was arrested along with his accomplices who were planning to kidnap a relative of his in order to demand ransom and make some cash. I was shocked when the news cam on; I thought such things only happened in Nollywood movies.

The reality of this menace at this time is creating a panic amongst the Nigerian populace; most especially the middle to the upper class; it calls for us all to be wary. Anybody could be a potential kidnapper, even your own blood. But I guess the best way to pinpoint that would be to be observant of any member of one's family who is living on the fast lane or fond of getting into unscrupulous acts. Last month, two guys were caught in my neighbourhood and accused of armed robbery; they were almost lynched and burnt to death till someone intervened for them to be taken to police station. It was discovered that one of them was the brother of a renown former football player who lived in the neighbourhood! It was shocking because no one ever thought he would descend to the level of armed robbery. Okay, this was about armed robbery but it boils down to the same fact that someone you know could be the kidnapper or robber you want to stay away from.

The kidnapping business seems to be raking in serious dough as some notorious kidnappers were known to have amassed wealth via the unwholesome crime. There was at one time reports of the Anambra State Government demolishing mansions and buildings that had been built by kidnappers; it was all in bid to fight the crime of kidnapping and other crimes.

Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, supervising
the demolistion of a kidnapper's mansion back in October

Overtime, people behind kidnapping have changed from being exclusively Niger Delta militants to dodgy elements from different walks of life - armed robbers, unemployed, professional 419ers, and at least one Catholic priest. Nowadays, more elements are joining the throng, the most shocking being policemen.
Aside from the arrested policemen connected with Okonjo Iweala's Mum's kidnapping, there are several other incidents which involved cops.

There was the story of a kidnapper who was caught and upon interrogation, the culprit gave away details that would incriminate some policemen. Immediately he was taken to the backyard and executed so that nothing would leak to any higher authority.  This is really frightening because the force which is expected to protect the people has some bad eggs launching into the somewhat 'lucrative business' of kidnapping. So who can one trust now? I guess the only person to trust is God.

I hope we don't end up holding a world record in the kidnapping business.

It is well with Nigeria!

Images courtesy:

2 Screamer(s):

'Lara said...

The state of our nation is so sad and depressing.

I hope Sisi Yemmie's mother is returned back to the family unharmed.

At this state, trust no one now even your blood.

willow said...

God save us from the hands of kidnappers,boko haramites,armed robbers,thieves in Uniform aka police and klepto politicians( the amount they steal is mind boggling)in this day,one day monkey go go market and e no go return.I hope Sisi Yemmies mum has been safely returned.