HURIWA To IGP: Resign Now

Civil Rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has called on Nigeria’s acting Inspector-General of Police Mr. Kayode Egbetokun to resign from office for alleged failure of the police to rescue eight corps members who have been held for 10 days by terrorists along a highway in Zamfara State.

HURIWA, while asking the police chief to either get the corps members freed within 24 hours or resign forthwith, also kicked against calls for the scrapping of the NYSC scheme.

Relying on media reports, HURIWA gathered that the victims were kidnapped on Saturday August 21st, while traveling inside from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, to Sokoto en route to Zamfara State.
They were to take part in the mandatory national service when the bandits intercepted their vehicle. According to reports 11 corps members were kidnapped but three managed to escape. Aside from the eight corps members, the driver of the bus was also abducted. Also, it is gathered that the family of one of the victims Betty Udofia was reached and that the kidnappers are demanding N4 million ransom.

In a media statement in which the Rights group expressed strong opposition to the not-so-well-thought-out position of the veteran Nollywood actress, Kate Henshaw for the the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme to be abolished in light of the safety of corps members, the Rights group said the actress may have been misinformed about the enormity of noble roles the NYSC is playing. The Rights group also said why did she not just call for all the Universities to be shut down because of the high incidence of kidnappings of scores of higher institution students over the past couple of months.

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Reacting via Twitter over the kidnapped of the corpers in Zamfara, the respected actress Miss. Henshaw said since the security of Corps members was no longer guaranteed, the scheme should be scrapped. She urged the government to “stop putting the lives of young people at risk with moribund ideas.”

The thespian wrote, “When I served in the North, it was a very memorable experience. Travelling from Bauchi by road to the airport was safe & then flying to Lagos just with my NYSC ID card, which also got me rebate on my ticket.
“It’s time to scrap this idea since corpers can’t travel within this country without let or hindrance! Stop putting the lives of young people at risk with moribund ideas. Security is a priority & needs to be sorted totally, not technically.”

HURIWA which endorses the continuous existence and indeed strengthening of the NYSC scheme, commended the current management of the NYSC for virtually relocating the management office of the institution from Abuja temporarily to Zamfara State since the last ten days that the prospective corpers were kidnapped by terrorists just so they personally coordinate the efforts of all stakeholders including the Army, the police and other security agencies to free the hostages. HURIWA however thinks the acting IGP has not prioritise the rescue of these corpers for no justifiable reasons.

The Rights group also condemned the lack of administrative sanctions on heads of security by the President for the widespread insecurity all around the Country. If the heads of security forces are punished administratively for dereliction of duty following security breaches in Nigeria, the acting IGP would’ve sit up to send troops to rescue the kidnapped corpers.

HURIWA said although the kidnapping of the corpers is such a very sensitive issue because it touches on the institution set up by the Country to promote national cohesion, unity and to harness the talents, skills and gifts of youngsters towards national service, but the Rights group reminded those advocating the abolition of the NYSC that kidnappings have become hydraheaded monsters and asserted that Nigerians should be more focused on demanding intelligence based policing which is lacking in Nigeria than taking the cheap logic of calling for an end to the great national institution such as NYSC.

Citing researched study, HURIWA stated that between the period of July 2022 and June 2023, at least 3,620 persons were abducted in 582 kidnap-related incidents across Nigeria, a new report has said.
HURIWA stated that compilation by researchers shows that the number is more than the 3,420 people that were kidnapped between the period of July 2021 – June 2022.

According to the report titled ‘The Economics of Nigeria’s Kidnap Industry by SBM Intelligence, an Africa-focused geopolitical research and strategic communications consulting firm, at least five billion naira ($6.4 million as of June 30) were reported as ransom demands, while verified ransom payouts amounted to N302 million ($387,179), a figure potentially underestimated due to underreporting. “We believe these numbers could be far higher than reported. This is because victims’ families and the police often choose not to state whether or not a ransom was paid to procure the release of the abducted, and in the few cases when ransom payments are acknowledged, the fees are hardly disclosed,” it said.

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It said the kidnapped figures reflect Nigeria’s security agencies’ struggle to contain kidnap for ransom. “Yet, the number of kidnappers killed has not served as a credible deterrent for would-be kidnappers.” It added that the rising kidnap incidents show the industry’s profitability outweighs the perceived threat of state intervention and police rescues. SBM also revealed that the North Central region recorded higher ransom amounts, notably in Nasarawa state, where targeted abductions yielded maximum ransoms with minimal resistance. It said the South-South’s low ransom payments may indicate efficient police intervention or victim silence. “We believe that the latter is more likely as kidnap victims fear re-abduction.”

Besides, HURIWA recalled that the latest Global Peace Index ranked Nigeria among the top 20 least peaceful countries in the World just as HURIWA supports the continuous existence of the NYSC for the noble roles it has been playing to stabilise Nigeria, promote multicultural dialogues, and enhancements of broader national networking by young Nigerian graduates from diverse ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds.

HURIWA is therefore demanding that the acting IGP Kayode Egbetokun takes concrete steps to ensure that the 8 corpers still being held in captivity by terrorists are freed within 24 hours or he quits or be dismissed for failing in his task of securing the nation going by the fact that the NYSC is a symbol of our national unity which mist be safeguarded by every legitimate means. “It is indeed disappointing that the IGP, the Zamfara state governor abandoned these corpers with terrorists and went to Rwanda to attend the so-called leadership programme just as Akwa Ibom state governor who is the governor of the state of origin of most of these kidnapped corpers allegedly travelled too to Rwanda on political jamboree.


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