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Pa Soludo – A Challenge

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THE police has been handed another rare opportunity to prove its seriousness with the promises it has made to tackle kidnapping. The kidnap of Pa Simeon Nwankwo Soludo, father of Professor Chukwuma Soludo, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, has upped the intrigues in the Anambra State governorship election.

Events so far are in line with the famous antecedents of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which has an unrepentant habit of fouling up everything it gets involved in, hardly caring about the consequences for the larger society.

Unable to resolve issues around primaries to select its governorship candidate, some of the candidates are in court over the candidacy of Professor Soludo. The kidnap of his father last week is speculated to be part of the fall outs from the race to Government House, Awka.

Young people who came in a car kidnapped Pa Soludo, 78, in his home in Isuofia. They later demanded N5 billion naira ransom to cover “political expenses” arising from the PDP primaries.

The police authorities deserve plaudits for inviting Chief Chris Uba, a chieftain of the PDP for interrogation. The only reason so far for this action is that Pa Soludo was abducted on the same day Chief Uba’s loyalists demonstrated in Awka over the PDP’s adoption of Soludo as the party’s candidate in the election billed for 6 February next year.

We think the police can use this case to put its authority on kidnapping, a crime that has assumed dangerous proportions and perspectives in Anambra State.  The signals are however becoming confusing.

If the police claims the Soludo family did not report the kidnap, on what bases did it invite Chief Uba? Would this case become one of those swept under the carpet because the political authorities would direct the police away from the issue?

Many followers of Anambra politics, in the past 10 years, would be surprised that the police would summon Chief Uba on any account. Chief Uba, who claimed he was the godfather of Anambra politics, dealt as he felt without any checks.

When a group under his control allegedly set government facilities on fire in Awka for three days in November 2004, the police looked the other way. Chief Uba and the mob had been emboldened by the police inaction on 10 July 2003 , when an Assistant Inspector General of Police, Raphael Ige, abducted then Governor Chris Ngige. Mr. Ige was retired from the police and he died months after.

To date, no charges has been brought against Chief Uba, who often boasts of how he put Dr. Ngige in office, and threw him out when he wanted. President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has not been as partisan in these matters as Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who indulged Chief Uba.

Inspector General of Police Ogbonna Onovo should deploy those policemen who recently acquired special skills and new equipment to deal with kidnapping to handle the Pa Soludo challenge.

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