The pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, on Monday, expressed serious concern on the frequency of kidnap incidents in the South West especially on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in recent times and the burning of INEC offices, urging the Federal Government to prevent Nigeria from turning into Afghanistan.
Afenifere, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Jare Ajayi, stated that the frequency and ferocity of kidnapping these days are “engendering so much concern regarding the territorial expansion of terrorists and bandits.”
Afenifere said the number of kidnappings in the South West, especially near Dominion University and Shagamu Interchange on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, in the past weeks is worrisome.
The Yoruba body also said it was disturbed by reports of the burning of the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Ogun and Osun states “because of the implication it may have on the 2023 elections among others.” It said: “This has happened in some South-Eastern states.
The unauthorized burning of any property is condemnable by all standards. The fact that this type of arson reared its head in the South West is unacceptable.
“It should be thoroughly investigated and made to be the last of such occurrence. There should be no excuse whatsoever to put the 2023 general elections in jeopardy.
“It would be recalled that the situation has become so dire that marauders now invade houses to pick victims.
For instance, last week Monday, a Catholic priest, Father Kunat, and eight others were abducted in separate attacks in Idon, Kajuru Local Government Area, and in Oil Village, a suburb of Kaduna metropolis, located near the Kaduna refinery.
“Reports had it that bandits invaded the residence of Father Kunat in Idon at midnight and abducted him while the attack on Oil Village occurred at about 7:45 pm also on Monday night. Bandits, numbering about 15, sneaked into the village and surrounded the residence of a widow, and swooped on her as she was returning from where she went to purchase an item. She and her children became victims. Another widow nearby was also kidnapped right in her home. Incidents of bandits attacking people in their homes in Abuja, Kaduna, Niger, Katsina, Nassarawa, Benue, and Zamfara States were rife.
“It is high time the governors of the South West act more decisively and more co-operatively to ensure that the region does not become a haven for terrorists and bandits. Afenifere calls on the Federal Government to show more seriousness in tackling the problem “to prevent Nigeria from becoming another Afghanistan.”
It also stated that: “In the last two years, incidents of kidnapping occurred in the South West. But the menace had become more pronounced in recent times. For instance, between January and October this year, several kidnappings have taken place on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway as well as on Oyo-Ogbomoso-Ilorin Expressway with some captives losing their lives even after ransoms were paid.
“Reports of Mr. Ibrahim Mailafia who was killed after three million ransom was paid for his life was also cited by “Afenifere expresses dismay that his assailants were so heartless and had the effrontery to ask the family of Mailafia in Kaduna to bring N10 million if they wanted the corpse of their family member.
“Does it mean that Nigeria is becoming or has become a country where head or tail, the citizens are now at the mercy of terrorists? Government and our security agencies need to brace up.
“At the beginning, those committing banditry on our land were regarded as foreign marauders from the North and from neighboring countries. The banditry has now transformed into terrorism, kidnapping, etc. due to the collaboration of insiders. Those collaborating with evildoers (and evil-doers themselves) should remember that Nemesis will surely catch up with them as no one can escape from the law of Karma.
“The primary duty of any government is the security of lives and property; followed by ensuring good welfare for the people.
“Unfortunately, governments have failed woefully in both respects-especially the former-going by how our regions are now brimming with criminals of various hues, including Fulani herders who destroy farms, kidnap, rape, and kill. Movement from one area to another is now done with palpable fear and uncertainty.
“Regrettably, rather than confronting this monster headlong, those at the helm of affairs are acting as if they were helpless with a lot of energy concentrated on the 2023 elections.
“Afenifere, hereby, urges the South West governments to turn Amotekun into a strong regional outfit to protect the region. The governors should collectively approach President Muhammadu Buhari along with the Vice President to let them save their people from being enslaved by bandits. Drones and relevant security equipment must be purchased and deplored to quickly snuff life out of the monster that is threatening to consume us.
“Everything must be done to ensure that normalcy returns and that Nigeria does not become another region where terrorists hold sway. Southwest governors should do more.”