‘Kidnappers shot at me twice without effect’
By Tola Gbadamosi
Chief Olusola Olugbogi, a 56-year-old community leader and the Agbaakin of Oba-Ile in the Akure North local government area of Ondo State was on Saturday, June 1, 2019 evening returning from his nephew chieftaincy title ceremony.
Immediately after leaving the Akure Airport road, he decided to veer off the high way to take a short route which leads to Osi along Igoba area in Akure.
Not quite about 15 minutes drive into the very thick forest, Chief Olugbogi ran into a group of cattle rearers suspected to be kidnappers.
According to him, “On my way from a chieftaincy ceremony of my nephew in a nearby village close to mine, we got to an area where the forest was very thick and road was bad.
“Suddenly, three armed men came out of the forest and their cattles were behind them. The next thing I noticed was a sound of cutlass at the back of my vehicle. I sensed these men were kidnappers. A boy was seated in front of my vehicle, I was afraid they would kill the boy but I quickly got down as two of them came closer to me while the third was a little far at the other side of the road.
Chief Olugbogi appeared was in for a battle he least prepared for, he continued. “The next thing I saw was the one closer to me shooting at me with the AK 47 rifle he was holding.
“He shot twice but of no effect. The third person who saw what happened took to his heels. The second person did the same by running away, while the third closer to me, I wrestled with him and I was able to overpower him and collected his gun from him.
“I asked the boy in the vehicle to place calls to some persons who came almost immediately . We took the culprit to the nearest police station together with his gun.
Although, the boy with me sustained injuries from the cuts of the kidnappers during the time I was wrestling with him,” he narrated.
It was an experience very rare to come by this period when the high and the low in the society, including our revered traditional rulers were being kidnapped like chickens even right in their domains. When Chief Olugbogi was asked what could be the secret why the kidnappers gunshots could not penetrate, he could only mutter some words that “It is not everything that I can say publicly, but he advised that all Yorubas should go back to their root.”.
Olugbogi called on Yoruba Obas to convocate a meeting and go the tradition way to tackle kidnapping in the land. He added that it was done in the past and it could still be done now to arrest the situation.
He further called on Yoruba leaders to come together as one. They should not forget their root.
“In those days, when things like this happened, the Obas in the land will come together and call all the pastors and herbalists in the state to tackle the menace of kidnapping.
“It is time Yoruba leaders come together to put ideas together on how to handle this rate of kidnapping in the native way.
“We can’t go to our farms anymore because of the fear of being kidnapped. On this I call on the Are Onakankanfo of Yoruba land to call on all herbalists to use our cultural method to handle this ugly situation in our land.
We should go back to Ifa, and consult it. Yes, Christianity has taking over, but we need to handle everything according to our forefathers.
Nigeria is first in the world having highest rates of kidnap-for-ransom cases. Other countries high up on the list include Venezuela, Mexico, Yemen, Syria, the Philippines, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
Thousands of Nigerians have been kidnapped for ransom and other purposes over the years. Kidnapping has prevailed in spite of measures put in place by the government to tackle the scorge. The Nigerian police’s Anti-Kidnapping Squad, introduced in the year 2000, has been trying to stem the menace.
In some years back, the idea of kidnapping was mainly in the riverine areas of Nigeria, where Niger Delta youths used kidnapping of white expertrates to show their griviances with the oil companies in there localities.
Then, there was none of these high level of violence except in rear case as death, attacking individuals, destroying people’s farms filled with crops.
Kidnapping has remained the most virulent form of banditry in Nigeria. It has become the most pervasive and intractable violent crime in the country.
This act is the unlawful detention of a person through the use of force, threats, fraud or enticement. The purpose is an illicit gain, economic or material, in exchange for liberation. It may also be used to pressure someone into doing something or not doing something.
All efforts have failed because of weak sanctioning to tackle the menace deterrence mechanisms. Kidnapping thrives in an environment that condones crime; where criminal opportunism and impunity prevail over and above deterrence.
This obviously calls for an urgent review of Nigeria’s current anti-kidnapping approach to make it more effective. Not tackling kidnapping headlong has led to loss of tens of thousands of lives and huge sums of money in Nigeria.
Many of the victims of the crime have been killed in the course of their abduction, custody or release. Many more have been injured. This is in addition to huge amount of money lost to ransom takers.
For the victims and their families and friends, the consequences are even more frightful.