Declare state of emergency on kidnapping, Reps tell FG

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Speaker House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara

The House of Representatives on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on kidnapping in the country to curb the escalating cases of abduction, some resulting fatalities.

It said the police, the armed forces and telecommunication service providers should also convene a national security summit to find urgent solutions to the rising kidnapping incidents.

Aside identifying the harsh economic realities of today as a factor, members observed that criminals found kidnapping to be “more lucrative these days than armed robbery.”

A member from Ondo State, Mr. Babatunde Kolawole, had raised the issue on the floor under matters of urgent public importance to set a debate in motion.

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Leading the debate on his motion, titled ‘The need for the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on kidnapping in the country’, the All Progressives Congress lawmaker stated, “In the last 10 years, the incidence of kidnapping for ransom in the country has escalated to a very disturbing level and has reached a point where no one is safe anymore.”

He said available statistics indicated that in 2013, “Nigeria had the most kidnap attempts in the world, accounting for 26 per cent of all such recorded incidents, followed by Mexico with 10 per cent and Pakistan with seven per cent.”

Kolawole reeled out a list of major kidnapping incidents in the country.

He stated, “Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s foster father, 72-year-old Inengite Nitabai, who was kidnapped from his home in Otuoke in Bayelsa on Tuesday, February 16, 2016, was released in March after 35 days.

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“A Kaduna State House of Assembly member, Ibrahim Ismail, was kidnapped on Tuesday, August 23 and released the next day. Margaret Emefiele, the wife of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s governor, Godwin Emefiele, was kidnapped on Thursday, September 29, 2016 and released on Saturday, October 1, 2016.

“Former Minister of Environment, Laurencia Mallam and her husband, Pius Mallam, were kidnapped along Bwari/Jere Road on Monday, October 3, 2016.

“A House of Representatives member from Katsina State, Mr. Sani Bello-Mashi, was also kidnapped alongside his aide at Goburawa village, Birnin Gwari area of Kaduna State on his way to his farm in August this year.”

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The lawmaker added, “Before that, Mike Ozekhome, a human rights lawyer, in August, 2013; Archbishop Ignatius Kattey and his wife, September 6, 2013, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State; Mrs. Kamene Okonjo, mother of former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was kidnapped in 2013; Chief Olu Falae, a chieftain of the Social Democratic Party from Ondo State, was kidnapped in 2015 and thousands of other unreported cases because of people’s distrust in our security agencies.”

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