Following the spate of kidnappings in the southern senatorial district of Ondo state, legal practitioners, under the aegis of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Owo branch, have accused the Nigeria Police of not living up to its responsibilities of saving lives and properties.
Alhaji Tajudeen Olutope-Ahmed, who is the Owo branch chairman of the body, made the declaration in Owo, during a peaceful protest against the spate of kidnappings in the area.
Armed with placards bearing various inscriptions such as: “Kidnapping Is A Crime Against Humanity; Let Us Say No To Kidnapping, It Is Heinous Crime; “All Hands Must Be On Deck Against Kidnapping”, the lawyers lamented that the routes within the Owo-Akoko axis are no longer safe, stating that they have become kidnappers’ haven.
The lawyers, who vent their displeasure over the security lapse in the state in recent times, visited the palace of Owo’s monarch, the Owo Area Command of the Nigeria Police among others, demanding more security measures to be put in place to curb the menace.
“While eye witnesses said the victims were five, that is, three FMC Owo staffers and two Rufus Giwa Polytechnic workers; the Ondo State Police was reported to have put the number of the kidnapped victims at two individuals, this is worrisome.
“We therefore call on the police authorities to wake up to the present security challenge in Owo.
“This is not the time to slumber. It is not the time to be supine as well. Police must, as a matter of necessity be at alert to the security situation in Owo and her environs.
“To this end, we suggest that the idea of mounting police checking points, which are nothing but avenues to rake bribes from commuters, should be reviewed.
“Constant police patrol of the roads should be embarked upon. In this way police will be able to foil any attempt by the men of under worlds from showcasing their daredevil skills on the roads”, he said.
The protesting lawyers also alleged that the government had failed in its constitutional responsibility of providing security to citizens.
“The kidnappings ad ifinitum in Owo and her environs, which one of our member was once a victim is an indication of total collapse of security in Owo and the triumph of kidnapping and armed gangsters.
“It is on this note that we hereby invite the Government of Ondo State and that of the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on kidnapping on Owo roads and that of the entire federation,” he said.
As a way of reducing the hardship that kidnap victims and their families are subjected to, Ahmed said government should henceforth pay ransom on behalf of persons abducted.
“We demand that the Government of Ondo State and that of Owo Local Government should henceforth settles whatever ransom that might be demanded from any victim of kidnapping on Owo roads.
“This can be payable from the security votes of the chief executives. Security votes are not meant to be put in pockets of chief executives. We learnt that the Rufus Giwa staff was killed because the money for his ransom was not raised on time after all other victims were freed,” he stated.
Recall that in the past weeks, the Owo-Akoko axis of the southern senatorial district area of the state has recorded series of kidnappings.