By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Former Senate Speaker Bukola Saraki advised Nigeria to find a solution to the kidnappings by working with countries that had successfully tackled the threat.
He urged the country to learn from the successful experiences of these countries and the measures adopted to address them.
Saraki gave his advice on Friday during a webinar on the first edition of the Grow Nigeria (GNC) conversation, followed in Abuja.
The webinar was titled: “Reversing the Burgeoning Kidnapping and Banditry Economy: Immediate and Long-Term Solutions”.
Saraki, who was the host of the dialogue series, said that while kidnappings were not new to Nigeria, the current trend of kidnappings for ransom, without any ideology, was worrying.
“It’s fair to say that kidnappings are not a rare global phenomenon. Other countries, over the course of their respective histories, have experienced similar problems.
“Nigeria can and certainly should learn from the nations that have successfully tackled this form of insecurity.
“There is no need to reinvent the wheel in this regard. This is why my first contribution to today’s discussion is to pose the question:
“Why can’t Nigeria reach out to these countries, which had experienced the same problem, and they successfully handled it, so that we can learn what they have done or stop doing to solve or reduce a problem?
“I remember in the 70s and 80s Pakistan, for example, used to have a lot of kidnapping cases, we can learn from the experience and how they dealt with this problem,” he said. said Saraki.
The former Senate speaker also called on young people, especially those with broad information and technology (IT) skills, to help deploy their knowledge to meet the challenge.
“It would be interesting if some of our experts, especially our young people, who are participating in this discussion, especially the computer gurus, could tell us why in today’s world the problem is not being addressed.
“It confuses people like me that in today’s world with the use of satellite and telecommunications how is it possible that people can be kidnapped and that we are not able to locate where they are. lie for days and weeks?
“Also, how is it possible that a huge amount of money can be paid as a ransom in cash and cannot be traced?”
“Are we saying that these are not monetary policies that can be put in place to deter people from having to be in possession of such a large amount of money,” he said.
He also stressed the need to address the challenge of human resources and deployment in the country’s security architecture.
Saraki expressed optimism that the outcome of the webinar would help address the country’s security concerns.
He promised that the recommendations would be sent to relevant stakeholders for implementation, including government agencies and CSOs.
Saraki noted that the platform was designed as a series of real-time dialogues focused on a non-partisan solution.
He said it was designed to involve young people, experts, professionals and anyone with quality ideas in diagnosing problems and providing viable and lasting answers.
“The subject stems from a rigorous debate between a TAPI team and Adopted Goal contributors on the various issues facing the country.
“It is believed that insecurity has become the greatest challenge for the economic, social, cultural, political and spiritual development of our people.
“The organizers believe that it is very relevant and necessary to start with this topic,” he said.
Amb. John Campbell, former US Ambassador to Nigeria, who was one of the panelists, stressed the need to restore public confidence in the security services in the face of kidnappings.
“It will be very difficult to tackle kidnappings and banditry in general, as long as a large part of the Nigerian population does not have much to do with the police or the military,” Campbell said.
For his part, Tanwa Ashiru, a US Air Force veteran with over 14 years of intelligence analysis experience, stressed the need to deploy technology to inhabit ungoverned parts of Nigerian territory.
She also called for an improvement in Nigeria’s emergency response to cases of kidnapping, banditry and other cases of insecurity.
Event moderator and Executive Director of the Adopt a Goal for Development initiative Ariyo-Dare Atoye expressed optimism that most of the challenges Nigeria faces would be addressed through the platform.
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