Editors’ Discussion: The National Security Advisor explains the rise of kidnapping over armed robbery in Nigeria.

Busy Bee
Busy Bee November 17, 2023
Updated 2023/11/17 at 11:30 PM

National Security Adviser Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has highlighted that kidnapping has supplanted armed robbery in present-day Nigeria due to a decline in people carrying cash. Addressing participants on Day Two of the ongoing All Nigeria Editors Conference (ANEC) 2023 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Ribadu emphasized the prolonged existence of Boko Haram, banditry, Niger Delta, and South East unrest, labeling them as significant security challenges capable of severely impacting the nation.

He pointed out, “If you haven’t noticed, kidnapping has replaced armed robbery across the country. Many former armed robbers have transitioned into kidnappers, taking advantage of the fact that people no longer carry cash. This shift is a result of individuals being kidnapped for ransom instead.”

Ribadu acknowledged that upon assuming office, approximately 600 kidnapping victims had been held captive for two to three years. With the advent of President Bola Tinubu’s administration, efforts have been made to secure the release of many victims, and extensive work is underway to address and mitigate the prevailing insecurity.

Looking ahead, Ribadu expressed the intention to run an open and transparent government, urging media support. Meanwhile, incidents of insecurity persist, including the abduction of the District Head of Kujama and five others in Chikun Local Government Area, along with the injury of two policemen in Birnin Gwari community, Kaduna State.

Moreover, Nigeria boasts additional crucial security agencies responsible for handling both internal and external threats, including the Department of State Service (DSS), the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

The nation is currently grappling with multiple security challenges simultaneously. These encompass the presence of Boko Haram in the North-East, the actions of bandits and kidnappers in the North-West, incidents involving gunmen in the South-East and South-South, and various forms of criminality such as armed robbery, clashes between herders and farmers, and cross-border crimes.

Referring to the prevailing atmosphere of terror, abductions, and killings across Nigeria, the federal lawmaker cited a specific incident on October 23, 2023, where bandits attacked the Anguwar Dankali community in Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State, resulting in the death of at least five people and injuries to several others.

He also highlighted the kidnapping of Major General RC Duru (retired) in Owerri, Imo State, on September 27, 2023, by members of IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra), along with the overall nefarious activities of proscribed outfits and the so-called ‘unknown gunmen’ in the Eastern part of the country.

Providing recent operational updates, the lawmaker noted that troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN (OPSH) and Operation HAKORIN DAMISA IV, from October 9 to 16, 2023, neutralized bandits and armed robbers, arresting 59 suspects involved in various criminal activities. Incidents such as the abduction of over 50 people, including a district head, women, and children, in Bagega, Zamfara State, on October 18, 2023, were also mentioned.

Additionally, he reported a raid by bandits on Danmusa town in Katsina State on October 20, 2023, resulting in seven fatalities, 10 injuries, and the kidnapping of an undisclosed number of individuals. The bandits further attacked Wurma, Tamawa, and Dadawa villages in Kurfi Local Government Area, causing casualties and cattle rustling.

Emphasizing the primary responsibility of security agencies, the lawmaker stressed the imperative of ensuring the safety of Nigerian citizens and residents.

Additionally, a pastor from the Evangelical Church Winning All, ECWA, Pastor David Musa, was killed after his abductors received a N1,000,000 ransom from his family. The Enugu State branch of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has also threatened to go on strike due to the kidnapping of 10 doctors in the state over the last two months.

To address Nigeria’s security challenges, the Senate convened a crucial meeting yesterday, summoning key officials such as the National Security Adviser, Chief of Defence Staff, other service chiefs, and the Inspector General of Police, along with heads of all intelligence agencies.

The decision was reached after the Senate adopted and deliberated on a motion titled “Urgent Need for the Improvement of the Coordination and Synergy Among Nigerian Security Forces and Agencies to Strengthen and Win the Fight Against Insecurity in the Nation.” The motion, sponsored by Senator Abdulaziz Musa Yar’Adua (APC, Katsina Central), was discussed during the plenary session.

Yar’Adua, while presenting the motion, emphasized that the current security landscape in Nigeria presents unprecedented challenges that exceed the individual protective capacities of any single security agency. He called on all relevant security agencies, ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to enhance their collaboration to effectively combat insurgency and other emerging security threats.

“Nigeria is home to various security agencies, including the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the Nigeria Police Force. Additionally, there are agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), and other authorized Civilian Task Forces,” Yar’Adua noted during the debate.

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