Recently, the report released by a human rights body, Campaign for Democracy (CD), indicated that the menace of kidnapping in the country is on a steady rise. Apparently, this ugly trend is more in the South Eastern part of Nigeria.
According to a personal study, the south East has in the past four to five years, registered about 940 cases with about #1.2bn paid out as ransom. Though this figure can rarely be relied on because not all kidnapping cases are made public by the victims or families of the victims, it still gives us a picture of the alarming rate of kidnapping and other related crimes in the land.
The trend is not just alarming and worrisome, it is a dent on the country’s image. I stand to be corrected to believe that kidnapping in the country is a modern phenomenon because am yet to remember hearing anything like this few decades ago.
Indeed it is a descendant of the rot that is eating up every aspect of our national life. The value system in recent years in the country has been relegated to the background to the extent that those values we used to admire and cherish as a people are meaningless to us today. Irrespective of the angle from which it is looked at, it is an incontrovertible fact that kidnapping and other crimes in general are on the increase in our fatherland, Nigeria. The family unit as a very important unit of the society used to have positive effects on the larger society in accordance with the cliché that ‘charity begins at home’.
Nowadays, thoughtless and vulgar individualism and misguided pursuit of mundane desires have overtaken the young people who are supposed to be the leaders of tomorrow and the effect is that people now live as if they are in the jungle where the stronger and more privileged tramples upon the weak to survive leading to a phenomenon ‘of survival of the fittest’.
Surprisingly, there are still many people who still belief in the principle that ‘for you to rise, someone else must be pushed to the ground’. There virtually no sane person that doesn’t know the consequences of drug peddling and traffic, yet it is still considered by a lot of young men as the easiest route to financial success.
As I write this piece, I still have a clear picture of what one Mr. Eze saw with his eyes some years back when he was caught stealing his neighbor’s tubers of yam in my village. He was made to carry the yams on his head almost naked while he publicly walked the village square as a thief. Today, if given the opportunity, some people will even steal the whole Nigeria as a country.
In modern day Nigeria, one scarcely differentiates between acceptable and repulsive ways of life as those who acquire their wealth through questionable means are the most regarded in the society. They are honoured with various chieftaincy titles in their villages. The society we live in seem to promote social and moral decadence and the religious bodies are scattered all over the country preoccupied with sermons that encourage this scourge.
The collapse in our norms and values has been worsened by the by the precarious social and economic conditions which spread through the land.
Today, many graduates of our higher institutions aimlessly roam the streets and there is no social security system in place to cushion the unimaginable effects of joblessness. The result is that a very good number of them (jobless youth) indulge in anti social pastimes as kidnapping, armed robbery and even prostitution.
The government has not done enough to curb this monster of youth dislocation which is occasioned by unemployment. They should as a matter of urgency take concrete steps to engage the teeming youth population meaningfully.
However, I want my fellow youth to realize that all that glitters is not gold and that the best way living a good life is to engage in genuine business because there is no justifiable reason for indulging in crime.
God bless Nigeria!
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