Escalation Of Abductions Sparks Nationwide Outrage As Bandits Lay Siege On Major Nigerian Cities

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In a disturbing turn of events, criminal elements, including bandits, have expanded their reign of terror beyond the North-West region, infiltrating significant cities across Nigeria.

The alarming shift has paralysed social and economic activities as urban centres like Lagos and Abuja witness an unprecedented surge in abductions.

The catalyst for heightened public anger occurred with the tragic killing of Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar, a 400-level student at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

The perpetrators, who abducted seven family members from Sagwari Estate Layout in Dutsen-Alhaji, demanded a staggering N700 million for their release.

Regrettably, Nabeeha lost her life due to alleged delays in meeting the ransom demands, triggering a nationwide outcry on social media.

The Al-Kadriyar family, already grappling with the loss of one member, now faces the dire situation of five sisters still in captivity.

Despite releasing their father, Alhaji Mansoor Al-Kadriyar, the abductors raised the ransom to N100 million per captive, insisting on a swift payment by Wednesday.

In a desperate bid to secure their release, the Al-Kadriyar family has sought financial support from well-meaning Nigerians.

Tragically, the criminal elements also claimed the lives of 13-year-old Folashade Ariyo and two unidentified hostages, whose bodies were dumped near a former military checkpoint in Kaduna State.

The devastating plea for help extends beyond individual families. Oladosu Ariyo, who lost his daughter, appealed to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for intervention.

Shocking statistics from the 2023 Nigeria Security Report by Beacon Consulting depict a grim reality, with 9,754 lives lost and 4,049 abduction cases reported throughout the country.

The North East leads in fatalities, while the North West records the highest number of abductions.

A report titled ‘The Economics of Nigeria’s Kidnap Industry: Follow the Money’ by SB Morgan reveals a surge in kidnappings between July 2022 and June 2023, with over 3,620 people abducted and reported ransom demands exceeding N5 billion.

The menace, initially prevalent in the North-West and North-Central regions, is spreading to the South-West, particularly Lagos and Ogun states.

Recent incidents in Lagos, including the abduction of a 13-year-old schoolgirl, Miracle Adereti, underscore the unsettling expansion of this criminal enterprise.

As the nation grapples with this escalating crisis, citizens and experts are calling for urgent and decisive measures to curb the rising tide of abductions and ensure the safety of lives and property.

The Chief Executive Officer of YouthHub, Rotimi Olawale, told Punch, “The FCT is not only affected by the kidnapping incidents. It has spread to neighbouring states such as Niger, Kaduna, and Benue, among others. If not properly handled, the ugly incident will spread to more states.

“The security agencies need to deploy intelligence to deal with this issue. If the kidnappers know that they will not go scot-free once apprehended, the criminal acts will reduce. They need to always act swiftly whenever the need arises.”

On his part, the Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Auwal Rafsanjani, said everything has stayed the same since the Tinubu administration came on board.

He said, “Comparing between the Buhari and administration and this, what has changed? Nothing. Bandits and terrorists are still very active. Abuja is becoming unsafe; even under Buhari, we did not have the mass abductions witnessed in Abuja of late. What can you say has changed?

“Let nobody deceive himself that there has been progress made so far. The government has to redouble its efforts.”

Speaking on the security crisis, the Chief Executive Officer of Beacon Intel and security expert, Dr Kabir Adamu, advised the federal and state governments to collaborate in dominating the forested and other ungoverned spaces, which the gunmen use as safe havens and to keep their victims.

He added, “Individuals and corporate organisations must understand threats and the inherent risks; a necessary prerequisite for adopting the appropriate risk treatment. As security threats are transient, the approach should be dynamic and forward-looking.”

 

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