FEATURE ARTICLE

Tuesday, January 22, 2019
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COMMODITIZATION OF NIGERIAN LIVES

he was on her way from Kano to Abuja. Suddenly, her bus was surrounded by armed men who demanded all passengers alight. In broad daylight, they were marched into the bush; armed bandits at the ready to shoot dissenters. In the bush, they came to a clearing in the middle of which stood a bungalow. The group of a dozen or so captives were ushered through the front door of the bungalow into a room devoid of furniture or other creature comforts. There they remained for the next couple of days until either a ransom was paid for their release or they are slaughtered for parts.

He was at work when the first call came. Thinking it was his sister announcing her arrival in Abuja, he picked up on first ring. "N500k or your sister is dead," the voice at the other end stated like it was a casual conversation between friends. The nightmare touched every part of their world - family, friends, bosses, former neighbors, school alumni - everyone willing to chip in to fund the ransom. The nightmare lasted three days before her release.

It was noon. He was on his way from Abeokuta to Offa bearing the good news that he'd just secured a housemaid for his mother. He was feeling good that the most precious woman in his life would have some help while he was out of the country. His abductors were from Niger Republic. They were new to the game and couldn't access his phone with American contacts. So, they used the other phone to demand a ransom of N1 million.

She'd been waiting for his call to say he'd landed in Atlanta. The voice at the end of the line, chilled her bones. Where would she find such money?

Human lives are being battered like commodities. Ordinary daily runs turned into nightmares. Countless lives wasted. No recourse.

We must demand security.

We must demand justice.

Make demands on local government chairs, state governors, and even federal officials to stop the carnage. When Fashola was governor of Lagos state, it was said that the thieves left Lagos for Ibadan. Indeed, there was a rise in crime in the normally sleepy city of Ibadan. Similarly, Evans the kidnapper was said to have fled Anambra when Peter Obi was governor. When leaders prioritize security, criminals take notice. Beyond the leadership cadre, we must do better to protect our lives and those of our neighbors. We know the thieves, we know their families and their connections higher up. We must work together to stop them.

In the meantime. God visit wrath on everyone profiting from the kidnapping trade in Nigeria.


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