The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, a Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, has called for a holistic approach towards addressing menace of kidnapping in Nigeria.
CISLAC Executive Director, Auwal Rafsanjani disclosed this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.
Rafsanjani said Nigeria has witnessed increased spate of kidnapping since 2007.
“Nigeria has witness increased spate of kidnapping since 2007, the problem started in the South, particularly South-South and South-East.
“While security of lives and property constitutes the fundamental purpose of government; we find it worrisome that kidnapping for ransom as a critical part of evolution of crimes in Nigeria and direct threat to the constitutional right to live, has received little or no concern from the government.
“This is in spite of persistent public outcries on its accelerating unpleasant effects like killings, physical and psychological trauma, and socio-economic setback, on the victims and their families.
“Most Nigerians have gone through the trauma of being guests of kidnappers, apart from paying hefty ransom, many of the victims did not live to tell their stories,’’ he said.
Mr Rafsanjani said CISLAC is not unaware that kidnapping for ransom which began in the South South as a form of measure adopted by agitating youths clamouring for resource control has grown out of hand.
“In the North East kidnapping which was also used as a sustenance fund raising strategy by insurgents, remains a fast growing menace flooding the country with exhausting financial demands.
“This has exacerbated existing socio-economic burden on the victims and unprecedented intensity in Zamfara, Borno, Adamawa, Kaduna and Katsina states, and other extensively under-reported cases,” he said.
He condemned Nigeria’s poor response system and lack of appreciable proactive measures by relevant authorities, given the glaring danger alerts and trend of killings, ransoms and other illegitimately frustrating demands on the victims.
Mr Rafsanjani expressed concern over poor state of infrastructure across the country creating high tendency for poor standards of living with increasingly youth propensity to escape poverty and socio-economic deprivation.
He said although creation of employment opportunities to absorb teeming youth constitutes majorly campaign promises and political agenda of successive administrations, it is hardly initiated.
He said wide-spread corruption in the security sector is impacting the moral and equipment of all security agencies.
Mr Rafsanjani said while the police have a fundamental mandate to secure and protect citizens, the obsolete legal framework and mismanagement leaves the police and the citizens expose to violent crime.
“We therefore, demand prompt response by the relevant authorities to bring under control the menace of kidnapping,” he said.
He called for the immediate passage of laws that would improve the framework of operations of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies.
Mr Rafsanjani also called for clear lines of responsibilities and consequential dismissal of political appointees and commanding officers if there is no rapid improvement on cases of kidnappings across the nation.
He also demanded institution of an emergency response system that would adequately interpret kidnapping in line with insurgency and terrorism.
He urged anti-graft and judicial institutions to ensure punishment for individuals found guilty of kidnapping and corruption in accordance with the rule of the law without fear or favour.
He also urged them to reform the legal system to ensure strict compliance with relevant laws relating to kidnapping and financial fraud.
He called for prompt confiscation or destruction of property and seizure of finances acquired by persons or group of persons found guilty of kidnapping.
Mr Rafsanjani also called for adequate training and re-training, appreciable performance appraisal and incentive system for security personnel with sufficient reward scheme.