By Mike AGBA
WHEN the kidnapping saga erupted in the South East zone following the amnesty programme that brought militancy in Niger Delta region to an end, the people and governments of the zone were worried. As times passed by, the crime gained momentum in the zone, but took a dangerous dimension in Abia, precisely in the Aba/Ngwa axis of the state, despite spirited efforts by the state government to tackle the problem.
I stand to be corrected that apart from Lagos State, no other state government has spent as much money on security as the Abia State government. The records are there for people to see. Apart from providing more than 300 vehicles and three personnel armoured carriers for the security agents, some officers of the agencies also enjoyed special pay packages. But in the face all these, high level conspiracy, compromise among the security agents, traditional rulers, disgruntled politicians and the people, especially in Ngwa area, continued to sabotage the government’s efforts in that direction, all in a bid to discredit the government ahead of next year’s election.
As the evil plans of these enemies of the state continued to fail in the face of unrelenting efforts by the state/ Federal Government to overcome the problem, they resorted to sponsoring calls for a state of emergency to be declared, so that they can achieve their aim of halting the ongoing political revolution in the state.
Well, just like their past plots, this is failing them again as the military intervention in Aba at the wake of the kidnap of school children is paying off rapidly with the recent arrest, revelations and findings by the military Joint Task Force in Aba led by General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division, Nigeria Army, Major General Sarkin Yaki Bello.
The revelation from Bello who personally led the onslaught to rescue the kidnapped pupils at Ukwa West Council Area of the state shocked Nigerians and the rest of the world. Narrating his experience in Ugwuagi Ogwe in the Council area, Bello said: “In Ugwuagi Community, all the people were involved in kidnapping. There were VIP kidnappers. Even small children, teachers, civil servants, adults, chiefs and women were all involved.
“Some work as informants, some work as look-outs. What we saw at Ugwuagi was a complete disaster, every villager is part and parcel of the crime in Ugwuagi and other communities the crimes exist. Some parents visit their children who are kidnappers in their hideouts to collect money from them”.
As if that was not enough, the alleged involvement, arrest and subsequent arraignment of the just appointed transition committee chairman of Ukwa West Council Area, Chief Henry Nwokemgbede for aiding and abetting kidnapping is a vindication of the State government which had insisted that there was high level conspiracy to undermine government efforts in curbing the crime. Arrested and charged along with Nwokemgbede were 13 males and 24 females. It was revealed that Nwokemgbede is a close ally of the most wanted man in connection with kidnapping in Aba, Mr. Obioma Nwankwo (a.k.a Osisi Ka Nkwu) who is now at large.
How would one justify such involvement of a highly placed person in such crime? It seems that there are still others like that in the corridor of power that must be fished out and deal with squarely. Let no one, including the federal/ state governments be carried away with the findings and successes so far in the onslaught. The security agents, especially SSS should put their noose on the ground to fish out other collaborators, especially in government circles. No one should be spared at all, no matter whose ox is gored. Even before this recent development, former Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Isiala Ngwa Council Area, Mr. Titus Egbe was arrested for his alleged involvement in the crime. With this, does anyone need a prophet or soothsayer to know that crime thrives in Ngwaland because the people failed in their responsibility of assisting the government and security agents with useful information to address the issue.
Instead, they compromised the Police and built a strong kidnapping cartel in the area to the detriment of the rest of the country. That is the highest level of immorality, greed and sabotage among people in a modern society.
Mr. Agba , a teacher, writes from Aba, Abia State.