Prominent Nigerians are taking extra security measures as kidnappers continue to snatch politicians and businessmen for ransom. Over 100 top government and wealthy individuals have been abducted in the past month.
Police blame the kidnappings on the opposition, who are said to want to discredit the government. But analysts say widespread unemployment and poverty are driving desperate youths into crime.
Emma Ezeazu is general secretary of the Alliance for Credible Elections. He says the government is wrong to blame critics and the opposition for the kidnappings.
“I do not believe in [the] conspiracy theory, that [the kidnappings are] meant to make the country weak or ungovernable,” he says. “It is a product of the times. Look at the people that kidnapped [an] actor. What they were saying was that they kidnapped him in order to send across a message to the politicians that they see them converting public money into their private money.”
The government has not done enough to stop the trend, Ezeazu says.
“They just make public proclamations that they would deal with the situation, but for every proclamation they make, there is another kidnapping the next day. Evidently, they do not have the network and a system to track down the kidnappers, and the kidnapping is spreading from one state to the other.”
Nigerians, he says, should be worried about poor security.
“It clearly does indicate that the Nigerian government…is the main albatross to security and development. If we sort out the whole issue of governance and by sorting it out, I don’t mean any miracle happening, but simply making the electoral system to work.”
The inspector general of police, Ogbonnaya Inovo, said he could not sit for an interview because he was hosting a security meeting.
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