Former Governor of Akwa Ibom state and current Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio has traced the history of kidnapping for ransoms to the South-east of Nigeria, claiming that the menace started with the abduction of a former governor of Anambra state, Senator Chris Ngige.
Speaking on Wednesday while contributing to the debate on Joint Committee Report on Police Affairs, National Security and Intelligence during plenary at the Senate, the lawmaker continued that Niger Delta militants later adopted kidnapping as a means of protest against the government, not as a way of making money.
Akpabio spoke in reaction to a statement in the report by Abu Ibrahim, a senator from Katsina south, who chaired the joint committee on police affairs, national security and intelligence, that kidnapping started in the Niger Delta.
According to the former governor, “When it (kidnapping) started in the Niger Delta, it was like a protest – not for ransom. When it started in southeast, it was commercialised, most especially in Abia state where people built houses with bunkers under.”
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki however interjected by asking Akpabio to name who kidnapped Ngige, to which he responded by simply saying: “You know better than I do.” This attracted laughter from the senators.
While calling for capital punishments for kidnappers, Akpabio stressed that the current three year maximum imprisonment was so inadequate that it can never deter them.
“Currently, the maximum penalty is three years imprisonment for kidnappers, and this cannot deter them while I want to call for stringent penalty to punish them,” he declared.
The report recommended more funding for security agencies and provision of jobs for the youth as a means of eliminating the scourge of kidnappers.
Source: Global Reporters