“No one is safe”, Lawmakers call for state of emergency

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Worried by the spate of adductions across the country, the House of Representatives yesterday passed a resolution calling on the government to urgently convene a security summit in order to come up with strategies on how to combat the ugly development.

The House said the security summit should include all security agencies in the country, all mobile service providers, the House committees on national intelligence, and all arms of the military and police forces.

The lower chamber mandated its committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance with the resolution and report back to the House within three weeks.

The resolution followed a motion on matters of urgent public importance by Hon. Babatunde Kolawole (APC, Ondo) on the “need for the Federal government to declare a state of emergency on kidnapping in the country.”

The House noted that in the last 10 years, the incidence of kidnappings for ransom in the country has escalated to an alarming degree and reached such a point that no one feels safe in the country.

The lower chamber expressed worry that Nigeria is now seen as the world capital of kidnapping, as kidnap cases in the country have risen from 475 reported cases in 2011 to over 1500 cases annually at present.

It added that according to NYA, a London-based firm that gathers intelligence on crime, as at 2014, Nigeria was number 5 on the list of global kidnapping hotspots.

Leading debate on the motion,  Kolawole sympathised with the families of the two principals and students of Lagos State Model College,  Epe, who were kidnapped last Thursday and noted that kidnapping for ransom had become a daily occurrence in the country.

The lawmaker said  because most of the victims are not prominent persons, most of the kidnap cases are not reported.

He said apart from the fact tat no one is safe in country at the moment, including school children, the menace of kidnapping is scaring foreign investors away from investing in Nigeria.

According to him:  “We need foreign investors to come and invest in our country. But each time they want to come, they are advised that Nigeria is not safe. We have to address this issue. I am calling for an urgent security summit that will involve all the security agencies, including GSM service providers, so that we can provide a lasting solution. No one is safe. Even our children in school are not safe.”

On his part, Hon. Anayo Nnebe (PDP, Anambra) expressed regret that kidnapping are allowed to spread all over the country. He said that when the issue first started in the South-East and the South-South, the rest of the country felt unconcerned.

He said that only now that kidnappings are a regular occurrence across the country are government and security agencies taking some action, particularly when prominent people are affected.

The lawmaker, who stressed that the government owe a duty to secure all Nigerians irrespective of their social and economic status said the security agencies should also be proactive when ordinary Nigerians are kidnapped.

Contributing to the debate, Hon. Olayonu Tope (APC, Kwara) said that it was sad that the House was just dealing with the matter now, when it ought to have spoken out on the issue a long time ago.

“We are no longer safe. When the other zones were shouting we did not do anything. Let us take this serious. Security agents should put their house in order,” he said.

Speaking on the motion, Hon. Alhassan Ado Dogowa (APC, Kano) said there was an urgent need for the government to declare a state of emergency on security in the country.  He said the kidnappings have became so widespread that even ordinary people are now affected.

“We have no better time for us to rise to the responsibility than now. We have to do something to protect our people. We must ensure that the security of the people of the country is guaranteed.”

Some prominent Nigerians kidnapped for ransom in recent times include Mrs. Margaret Emefiele, wife of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele; former Minister of Environment, Laurencia  Mallam and her husband, Pius and Hon. Sani Bello Mashi, a member of the House of Representatives from Kastina State.

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