Kidnapping: Experts call for reform of security policies

October 29, 2019
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Security experts on Monday called for reforms in various security policies to address the current kidnapping challenges facing Nigeria.

They made the call at a Multi-stakeholders Consultative Forum on Peace and Security Challenges in Nigeria with the theme “Kidnapping in Nigeria: Overview, Effect, Causes and Possible Solution‘’ in Abuja.

Dr Ndubuisi Nwokolo, Senior Research and Policy Lead, SPD Nextier while discussing the topic “The Dynamics and Amnesty in Context‘’ said that there was need for reform in the nation’s security sector.

Nwokolo said this was because kidnapping had taken different dimension from taking people for ransoms, to holding people against their wills among others as a result of poverty, grievance or competition for natural resources.

He explained that kidnapping takes different forms according to regions and states, adding that how people were being kidnapped in the north was different from that of the east and the south–south regions.

Prof. Isaac Albert of the Security Studies, University of Ibadan, who spoke on “Kidnapping, in Nigeria: Overview, Effect, Causes and Possible Solution’’ said the spate of kidnapping in Nigeria was not only alarming but embarrassing.

Albert said that the multipliers of kidnapping were natural environment like forest, creeks, waterways, bad roads including human effect like laxity of law enforcement, collusion of state officials among others.

He advised that the existing policies should be reorganized to give the country what it needed due to the various dimensions of insecurity in the nation.

“As a state security problem, kidnapping tarnishes the image of a country and makes it less attractive for investors, as a human security problem, it traumatises citizens and above all exposes gaps in Nigeria’s security system.

“Kidnapping is becoming a career in Nigeria; it is becoming a career because of state failure.

“So, if we are going to actually address the governance issue, I think we have to start from the context of security sector reform, how many security institutions should play roles in managing these problems.

“In addition, what specific roles would they be playing, and how effectively do we want them to play the roles? I think these have to be decided,’’ he said.

Albert said that until the nation imbued the habit of meting out grave punishment to persons who engaged in kidnapping to serve as deterrent to others, the act would seem lucrative to people.

Mr Ulrich Thum, Resident Representative Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung (FES) said that kidnapping gave negative picture of a country and send danger to foreigners so they would begin to move around with security escorts.

According to Thum, this puts a lot of strain on the nation’s security because security agents will now be more occupied with protecting individuals than the common people.

“So a reform would enable security officials to perform their roles as protectors of all Nigerians.’’

Hajiya Hadiza Kangiwa, Board Member, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) said that curbing the menace of kidnapping required a political through equipping security operatives.

According to Kangiwa, there should be a paradigm shift in the way kidnapping is tackled, adding that the government has to lead the fight since it has the most resource.

She said that the event was organised by Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung in collaboration with CISLAC and co-funded by the European Union to seek solutions to the menace of kidnapping in Nigeria. (NAN)

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