Chris Steven, Abuja
The lower Chamber of the National Assembly, House of Representatives on Wednesday called on the federal government to urgently convene a security summit to fashion an effective response to the kidnapping phenomenon in the country.
The summit, the House said should include all security agencies, all GSM service providers, the House Committees on National Intelligence, Army, Air Force, Navy, Police and communication.
The call followed a motion on matters of urgent national importance, titled “need for the federal government to declare a state of emergency on kidnapping in the country,” moved by Hon. Babatunde Gabriel Kolawole.
Leading debate on the motion, the lawmaker noted that Nigeria is now seen as the capital of kidnapping in the world, having risen from 475 reported cases in 2011, 500 in 2012 to presently over 1,500 cases annually.
Analysing the kidnapping that have taken place so far, Kolawole noted that in the last ten years, “the incidence of kidnapping for ransom in the country has escalated to a very disturbing level and has reached a point where no one is safe anymore.”
Quoting an international firm that gathers intelligence on crime, the lawmaker said, “in first half of 2013 alone, Nigeria had the most kidnap attempts in the world, accounting for 26% of all such recorded incidents, followed by Mexico with 10%, and Pakistan with 7%. And as at 2014, Nigeria was number five on the global kidnapping hotspot.”
The lawmaker expressed concern that the disturbing records no doubt affect the tourism and investment potentials of the country, which is trying to diversify it revenue base, as some countries issue constant travel warning to their citizens about the nation.
In his contribution, Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye, called on Nigerians to defend themselves by carrying arms, pointing out that there is no state kidnappers have not touched.
He noted that there is recession, which is bringing depression, adding that the situation is pathetic.
Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, on the other hand called on the federal government to declare state of emergency on kidnapping, adding that there is no better time than now to rise up to the situation.
He lamented that over 56 farmers have been kidnapped in his constituent, stressing that the situation is pathetic. He, however insisted that all hands must be on deck to ensure security of lives and property.
Hon. Olayonu Tope, said though the House should have spoken out before now, the next victim is not known, lamenting that it was unfortunate that security agents have become part of kidnappers.
“We are no longer safe, when the other zones were shouting we did not do anything. Let us take this serious, security agents should go and put their house in order,” he said.
Aside the call for security summit, the House also mandated its Committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance and report back to it within three weeks.