The current economic reality being faced by Nigerians may have spread to the forests where criminal elements reside as kidnappers and bandits now demand bags of rice, cartons of noodles, bread and other food items as part of the conditions to free their captives.
It has been revealed that the level of deteriorating security situation bedeviling the entire nation at the moment may not be unconnected to the current hardship in the land birthed by high cost of living as prices of essential commodities in the market have continued to skyrocket.
Recently, abductors of some residents of Kiyi and Anguwar Hausawa community in Kuje and Abaji area councils of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, told members of the families of their hostages to include food items in the ransom.
Some of the items demanded by the kidnappers included bags of rice, noodles, spaghetti and cartons of seasoning cubes.
According to a relative of one of the victims who identified himself simply as Joshua, the items were taken along with N1.5 million as condition for the release of each abductee.
Findings revealed that all the families of the eight people who were kidnapped alongside a Pastor of the RCCG, in Kiyi had to purchase foodstuffs and condiments for the kidnappers as demanded.
According to Joshua, “Other family members did the same thing before their kidnapped relatives were released.
“If you fail to buy those things and take only the cash to them, they will collect it and still hold the victim until you get the foodstuffs for them.”
Similarly, late last year, families of those kidnapped from Ushafa in Abuja were instructed by the kidnappers to include 30 loaves of bread, 40 packets of cigarettes and other items. This was done alongside the payment of ransome before the victims were released.
This trend has stimulated reactions from concerned Nigerians as some have blamed the bandits and Fulani militias for making farming activities difficult for farmers across the country which according to them, has resulted in food crisis.
Some believe that the inability of governments in all levels to attend to the plights of the citizens particularly in the area of job creation, has plunged the entire nation into unimaginable hardship which may have been extended to criminal elements in their various hideouts.
A resident of Kaduna State where scores were recently abducted by bandits, Ijanebu Odeh, traced the trend to lack of job opportunities which has triggered unbearable hunger in the land.
According to her: They are doing that because of the situation of the country. Imagine how employers are sacking their workers, leaving them with frustrations and hunger, to even get a job in this country now, one needs connection and when you don’t have the connection, then there’ll be no job for you.
“Those kidnapping and demanding foods for ransom are hungry. They are people that think of how to feed their belly and those of their families too.
“No working class person or a businessman will just decide to go into kidnapping because he/she has money to provide whatsoever they need.
“Just of recent here in Kaduna, El-rufai sacked so many local govt workers, leaving them jobless and most of these workers have families to cater for.
“So you see, the Govt is not trying at all and they are the cause of all these kidnappings. They should provide jobs for the youths because not everyone is good at business and there is the need to do something concerning the country’s poor economy.
“It’s not that there’s no money but our leaders have decided to take all the money to themselves and their family members.”
Meanwhile, Simon Bameyi, a radio presenter who spoke with DAILY POST correspondent via telephone interview was of the view that poisoning the food items before handing them over to the Kidnappers, would be a better way of eliminating them.
He said: “It’s cool. Let’s poison the food and give them. Kidnappers killed a police officer in my area yesterday and abducted no fewer than four people.
“In fact, since this year, this place has been their abode. They also deserve to die so whenever they demand for food items, it should be poisoned.”
Similarly, Aguredam Keghter Moses,
State Coordinator Africa Youth Union Commission, Benue State Chapter, lamented how prices of food items have skyrocketed in the market.
“Do you know how much foodstuff is in the market now? Bandits are not allowing farmers to go to farm. This has created hunger and poor supply of foodstuffs.
“If not hunger what else could make kidnappers to demand for foodstuffs? They prevented farmers from engaging in their usual farming activities and now they are also facing the reality and the repercussions of their actions”.
Also, an educationist in Makurdi, the Benue State Capital told DAILY POST correspondent in an interview that the country is currently “about survival of the fittest”.
According to him, “Kidnappers asking for food as ransom! As hilarious as it might sound, it just exposes us to the current reality of things in the land. It’s about survival of the fittest and in this case, the kidnappers are holding firm because one is beginning to wonder why there is this sudden rise in cases of kidnapping and banditry.
“There’s hunger in the land, universities keep churning out thousands of graduates yearly with no employment opportunities, farmers and herders crisis is persisting daily, families are losing their means of livelihood. This sudden food for ransom is a clear departure from the norm. This is simply an act of desperation for survival.
“The government of the day needs to sit up because it is in this same country in 2020 that foods meant for the poor as palliatives were stored and not given to the masses even when there was hunger ravaging the land.
“They shouldn’t forget that desperate situation calls for desperate measures or like Sound sultan said ‘one day, the bush meat go catch the hunter’. A word is enough for the salacious”.
Meanwhile, when contacted for comment on the way forward, the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mbah was unable to take his calls and could not respond to text messages forwarded to him.
Insecurity: Reps Ask Buhari To Declare State Of Emergency
WORRIED by the worsening security situation in the country, the House of Representatives on Tuesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately declare a state of emergency on insecurity to effectively curb the ugly development.
The Speaker, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed this while reading the resolutions approved after a fourhour executive session held on the floor of the Green Chamber, during which lawmakers condemned attacks on security agents and formations across the country.
To this end, the House resolved to invite the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Mongunu; the service chiefs and other heads of various paramilitary agencies to appear before it and brief the members on the security situation in the country.
The House also mandated all its security committees to immediately commence comprehensive audit of all military and paramilitary assets and arms in the Armed Services and revert back to the House within four weeks.
Gbajabiamila, who read the resolution, said: “The House reiterates its commitment to the security and corporate existence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and would, therefore, accelerate its engagement with stakeholders on a special security summit to be organised by the House of Representatives.
“The House should urgently invite the NSA, service chiefs, and paramilitary chiefs, Controller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service and the Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT to brief the House on the security situation in the country.
“Considering the security situation, the President should immediately declare a state of emergency on insecurity so as to fast track all measures to ensure the restoration of peace in the country.
“Call on the judiciary to accelerate the prosecution of those awaiting trial due to banditry, terrorism and other criminal activities.
“Provide emergency relief to all communities that have been adversely affected by recent attacks across the country.
“The President should as a matter of urgency, ensure financial autonomy to Local Government Councils to guarantee their functionality to serve the local populace.
“The Federal Government should ensure the protection of National Infrastructure assets, particularly the Shiroro and Kainji Dams in Niger State.
“The House mandated all its Security Committees to immediately commence comprehensive audit of all military and paramilitary assets and arms in our Armed Services and revert back to the House within four weeks.
“That the number of personnel in the Police and Military falls far short of the required number to effectively secure the country and calls for immediate recruitment to this effect,” the resolution read.
Buhari Is Helping Fulanis Take Over, There Is No Govt in Nigeria – Governor Ortom
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of working for Fulanis. He said the country has no government following incessant killings by bandits and Fulani herdsmen in his state.
He lamented that over 70 people have been murdered in two weeks in Makurdi Local Government Area. Ortom spoke to protesters on Tuesday at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Abagena village. Suspected herdsmen, Monday night, killed citizens and wounded many others. “What is happening now, to me, is very clear; Mr President is just working for these Fulanis to take over the whole country.”
He said Buhari’s body language is what is being played out and that the action and inaction of Mr President “shows that he is only the President of Fulani people”. Ortom decried that attackers regularly send indigenes away from their homes, yet go to kill them where they take refuge.
Ortom called them “Fulani herdsmen”, stressing that “They are not bandits. They are Fulanis. We saw and heard them speak the language.” The Benue helmsman stated that the federal authorities have been dragging foot on the matter.
“If the federal government had taken a proactive step, we will not be where we are. In the last two weeks, over 70 persons have been killed just in Makurdi Local Government Area alone.”
Noting that the situation is not acceptable, Ortom said similar killings were going on in Guma and Gwer-West. Ortom recalled he alerted Nigerians when Fulanis from 14 countries met in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
He said they declared that except the prohibition of open grazing law was reviewed, “Benue will not know peace.” The governor wondered why the federal government was yet to arrest the leaders of Miyetti Allah that hosted the meeting. “It means we don’t have a government”, he declared.
“Mr President must do the needful and I want to suggest that immediately, let there be a security summit. I am aware that the situation is prevalent in other parts of the country.”
On Monday, the police command in Benue State also confirmed the kidnap of three students of the Federal University of Agriculture in Makurdi.
Freeze Pantami’s Accounts – Rinu Oduala Urges CBN
An #EndSARS campaigner, Rinu Oduala, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to freeze the bank accounts of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, over his past controversial comments supporting the activities of terrorist groups including Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Pantami had since renounced his radical pro-terrorists comments, saying he now knows better but Nigerians have been unsparing and relentless in the call for the resignation or sacking of the minister.
Oduala, who tweeted via @SavvyRinu on Thursday, urged the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to freeze Pantami’s accounts just as the apex bank swiftly froze the accounts of at least 20 #EndSARS promoters last year over terrorism-related allegations.
“Godwin Emefiele, when are you going to freeze the bank accounts of Isa Pantami?”
The PUNCH had reported that the apex bank through an ex parte order froze the accounts of Oduala and 19 other persons who played a role in the October 2020 #EndSARS protests against police brutality and extrajudicial killings.
The CBN had said the accounts were frozen because of the nature of the investigation which was terrorism-related but after about three months, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the apex bank to unfreeze the accounts of the 20 #EndSARS protesters.
Oduala, a leading voice during the #EndSARS protests last year, had pulled out of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing alleged killing of protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll gate. She had faulted the decision of the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel to reopen the toll gate when justice hasn’t been served to the victims of the October 20, 2020 Lekki shootings.