By Ochereome Nnanna
It was barely 7am this morning when I went to dig out your article from under the pile of newspapers in the houseâ€¦
I remembered that I had seen something about kidnapping a while back but like the millions of Nigerians who have never been personally affected by this pandemic, I had glanced at your article only perfunctorily.
After all, I neither visitedÂ multi-millionaires nor did I hang out with unscrupulous persons. In a nutshell, my world was safe and secure.
Whereas by yesterday afternoon Friday June 26, 2009, the course of my supposedly smooth-flowing life went off at a tangent, marred forever by a traumatic experience of kidnapping.
It was about 3pm when I received a phone call from a dear friend and sister in the Lord telling me that she had just landed in my â€œcountryâ€ Benin from the Garden City of Port Harcourt.
I was thrilled as always to receive this news because every moment we share together was always a blast in the Holy Spirit! My joy was cut short by her next sentence: â€œMy brother-in-law was kidnapped yesterdayâ€¦â€.
It took several seconds for my mind to process this shocking news; you never actually expect to hear such words coming from someone in your inner circleâ€¦ That is something that happens only to faceless individuals in the newsâ€¦
Like some of those people you talk about in your article: â€œpeople with ill-gotten wealthâ€, ostentatious fellows, those who never give a thought to their less-privileged neighboursâ€¦
Yes, somehow from our tower of self-righteousness [though we would never admit this out loud], we do expect such dubious characters to fall prey to kidnappers. Seriously, isnâ€™t that what they termÂ â€œthe laws of karmaâ€? Or for us New Testament Christians, the law of sowing and reaping…?
However, the story here is unsettling. My friendâ€™s brother-in-law (names withheld for his safety) is one of the most unassuming men alive! He happens to be a well-respected Medical Doctor here in Benin City; a man known for his generosity and conspicuous philanthropy.
A dedicated and devout Christian who lives the quietest of lifestyles with his equally discreet and modest family… Somebody who has worked religiously from his youth to earn every kobo he has to his name; a man to whom no scandal of any sort has ever been ascribed… Indeed, a perfect gentleman!
This Medical Doctor was ambushed right inside his private hospital in the city centre, in broad daylight on Thursday June 25. And for over 24 agonising and nerve-wracking hours, the family had no idea where and under what conditions their breadwinner was being kept.
Throughout the period of his captivity, prayers went up to the Only Protector that we have in these terrifying and perilous times.
Sitting down with my friend and her family members yesterday as we waited it out, I could only ponder in all meekness on both the ephemeral nature and sanctity of life itself.
I personally stumbled out of this whole experience severely traumatised and morally bruised. Confusion, anger, rage… are just some of the emotions fighting forÂ acknowlegdement in my mind right now. And I donâ€™t even know who or what to blame.
More so, I think I am getting to that point of hopeless disillusionment with my beloved country…
You say we have ourselves to blame because â€œwe were only interested in our own comforts and in securing the best education and lifestyle for our children and family members…â€
Is this what Nigeria has come to?
…A place where the honest, God-fearing and decent man can no longer live, work or sleep in peace? That is talking about those of us who actually are humble, and continually do â€œshow charity, especially towards our less-privileged neighboursâ€. Didnâ€™t we already agree that â€œevilâ€ is supposed to befall only those wicked and reprehensible people we already mentioned…?
Ms Ero Idehen; Benin City
IT is so unfortunate that the Obingwa crooks are out again. I was in Aba last week and the story in town is a sorry one. The citizens of Obingwa know where all the kidnappers are being held.
In fact, they are kept directly at the back of most huts. My security man at home, who might be a risk at least for now, mentioned that the White men that were taken from Ogbor HillÂ two weeks ago were kept beside his farm. No individual in the area will disclose this for the fear of his family being killed.
Some that had the guts to leak this information to Police already lost members of their family. How the kidnappers got to know who the informant was is still a mystery to be solved by the Police, who no longer enjoy the trust of the town’s citizens.
I want to state with grief and sadness in my heart that Aba Police are involved in the crime; not only Police, some highly placed people in the government are too.
If not why canâ€™t the government mobilise at least 500 military men from Obinze ; even MOPOL from Zone 9 can do this work. Anything to tackle this thing will do.
Chief T A Orji save us from this mess.
Rake Obingwa and Isiala Ngwa. Imagine the Abia House of Assembly members were allegedly seen in Uyo frolicking with women and enjoying a well built city, while we die in Abia.
We are not complaining about the embezzlements again, we are pleading for security of lives now.
Gideon Daniels, Aba.