By Kingsley Omonobi & Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN CITY â€” THE Ekpoma branch chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr. Nath A. Inegbedion and three of his children were kidnapped at Ekpoma, yesterday.
The latest kidnap in Edo State is coming barely forty-eight hours after the kidnap of Dr. Ganiyu Abubakar, the Deputy Director in the Department of Livestock and Water Resources in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in the State.
However, against the backdrop of recent high-profile cases of kidnapping in the country, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, has directed the massive deployment of policemen, particularly those in the Mobile unit, in major cities across the country, to curtail the activities of robbers, kidnappers and other perpetrators of violent crimes during the Eid-el-Kabir and Christmas festivities.
Inegbedion’s kidnap was reported by the Benin branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, which at the end of its enlarged executive committee meeting in Benin City yesterday condemned the spate of kidnappings in the state.
A statement signed by the Benin branch chairman of the association, Mr. Bamidele Abina and Ogiso Elenbalulu (Secretary) respectively, also endorsed the decision of the NBA Ekpoma branch not to offer its services as legal practitioners in cases of kidnap and armed robbery at whatever level until further notice.
According to the statement, â€œWe also condemn the state of insecurity to lives and properties of citizens and other residents in the state with respect to kidnap cases, which has attained an epidemic proportion and hereby call on the Edo State Government and the Federal Government, the Nigerian Police, and other security outfits to rise up to this challenge to further guarantee the security of lives and properties in Edo State in particular and the country in generalâ€.
The NBA however, demanded the immediate release of Mr. Inegbedion and his children from wherever they were being held by their abductors.
IG orders massive deployment of cops
The I-G, at a meeting of all Deputy Inspectors General of Police, Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Command Commissioners of Police in Abuja, warned that he would no longer tolerate a situation whereby somebody is kidnapped in Kaduna but found in Warri said, â€œI want to assure Nigerians that this last quarter of the year, we will give armed robbers and kidnappers a run for their money. I am hereby directing all CPs to go back and embark on very high visibility patrols to ensure deterrence.
â€œMobile policemen, who were withdrawn from illegal duties and unauthorised posting should be immediately deployed in cities to carry out patrols and ensure peace and safety of goods and persons. But Policemen should also be cautious and civil in their approach of people who will be traveling for celebrations. I donâ€™t want to hear anything about extortion, corruption or any form of harassment from our men on the road.â€
Speaking more on kidnapping, he said, â€œNigerians should stop paying ransom money to kidnappers because they see it as a commercial venture. Kidnapping is still thriving because our people go and pay the ransom. We are trying to work out an arrangement with the banks so that in a situation that ransom should be paid, it should be with marked money so that we can go after the culpritsâ€.
Meanwhile the IG said yesterday that the Police in Anambra state have arrested the culprits who abducted Pa. Simeon Soludo, father of the former CBN governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, who was kidnapped in his home about three weeks ago.
Though he refused to give details as he said investigation is still on to tie some loose ends, Vanguard gathered that Police authorities were still trying to unravel the brains behind the abduction and find out if it had any political coloration.