Abducted travellers regain freedom

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• Only One, Not Five, Is Our Member – RCCG
• Nigeria In State Of War – Security Experts
• List Ways To Curtail Banditry On Highways

The five persons kidnapped on Thursday night while travelling along the Benin-Ijebu-Ode-Sagamu expressway by armed bandits have regained their freedom. The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi told The Guardian that all the abductees were released yesterday.

The only female among the five, Deaconess Ibeleji Chidinma, who happens to be the only member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), regained her freedom early in the morning, while the other four, Chidioze Eluwa, Chiemela Iroha, Okoro Ohowukwe and Ndubuizi Owuabueze were set free late afternoon.

The General Overseer, RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, while addressing congregants at the church’s Ministers’ Conference early yesterday, had clarified that only one of the five abducted travellers was their member. He had called on the ministers and Nigerians to prayer for the safety of the kidnapped and indeed, the country.

The Conference, among other events, draws participants from all over the world and remains the sole period in a calendar year for ordinations of Deacons, Assistant Pastors and Pastors of the church.

The travellers were heading towards Lagos from the eastern part of the country, in a commercial vehicle with registration number KW 230 XA belonging to Abia Line Transport Company, when gunmen stopped their vehicle and took them into the forest.

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According to the Police, Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, led operatives from the Ogun Command’s tactical squad in the rescue operation.

Meanwhile, a former Cross River State Security Adviser, Mr Jude Ngaji and an ex-military intelligence officer of the Nigerian Army, Dr. Davidson Isibor Akhimien have urged the Federal Government to be more proactive on the current state of insecurity across the country.

Both security experts said what was happening to Nigeria in form of security challenges amounts to a state of war and it must be treated as such without attributing any colouration of ethnic sentiments or labeling.

The duo spoke to The Guardian separately following the recent spate of kidnapping, murder and other criminal vices being perpetrated by bandits in various parts of Nigeria, especially in the South. Kidnappings and killings have become rife along the Benin-Sagamu, Ibadan-Ife, Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna roads.

In his suggestion, Ngaji said to curtail banditry along flashpoints on the country’s major highways, the Federal Government should set up joint service camps within a radius of 30 kilometres apart along troubled roads, with regular patrols along the identified routes.

The former Cross Rivers State security adviser warned security agencies not to disclose their strategies to the public, adding that the bandits were as informed as the security agents, just as he stressed the need to engage the services of traditional institutions in curtailing criminal activities.

He said, “Traditional institutions should be involved in the fight. I also suggest the appointment of security assistants in the zones. This provides opportunity for all security stakeholders’ participation and information dissemination of the challenges in the communities, and it enables the government to be proactive, rather than reactive.”

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He stressed that it was imperative for the FG to have the data of all traditional rulers in the country and have a quarterly meeting with service commanders in their zones for onward transmission to the National security advisers.

Ngaji tasked governments at various levels to address the challenges of unemployment, saying, kidnapping has become a gold mine for the unemployed.

On his part, Akhimien decried the attempt by some individuals and socio-cultural organisations to politicise and ethnicise the current insecurity challenges in the country as if one particular tribe was solely responsible.

He warned that such disposition would compound the already tensed situation and prevent the country from finding a permanent solution to the challenges.

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