Sept. 12, 2013
Mr. Ozekhome said his abductors were graduates who took to crime due to unemployment.
Senior lawyer and activist, Mike Ozekhome, who regained freedom on Thursday after three weeks of abduction, has appealed to the Federal Government to grant amnesty to kidnappers in the country.
Mr. Ozekhome made the call on Thursday while recounting his ordeal to newsmen at his residence in Lagos, after he was released by his abductors on Thursday morning.
He was abducted on Aug.23 at Ehor near Benin City in Edo.
Mr. Ozekhome said his son, Ilugbeka, and a lawyer in his chambers, Dominic Ezerioha, were also abducted by the same kidnappers on Sept. 6, while negotiating for his release.
According to him, the kidnappers eventually released him and 12 others about 7 a.m. on Thursday.
He claimed not to be aware if any ransom was paid to secure their freedom.
He said the security situation in the country was a national calamity which demanded urgent attention.
Mr. Ozekhome described his abductors as ”angry and desperate well-read graduates” who had a network of cells across the country.
He said during his interactions with them, they told him that they were pushed into kidnapping due to unemployment and poverty.
The human rights lawyer said he fell sick twice during his three-week ordeal, adding that his abductors brought a doctor who treated him for malaria and typhoid.
“As a matter of extreme urgency, I want the Federal Government to immediately grant amnesty to all kidnappers and institute an amnesty programme for all kidnappers.
“They told me that if they are given assurance that they will not be killed, they are ready to agree to the deal.”
He urged the government to declare a national state of emergency on youth unemployment and infrastructure decay.
Mr. Ozekhome appealed to the government not to neglect the families of the four policemen who were killed while trying to rescue him from his abductors.
“It was this morning that I was briefed that those gallant officers died while trying to rescue us from our abductors.
“Let me hereby call upon the Federal Government to set up a special foundation to cater for the welfare of the wives and children of these officers.”
He also urged the National Assembly to allow for state police in the ongoing amendment of the 1999 Constitution.
Ozekhome also called for the convocation of a national conference to address some of the problems bedevilling the country.
“As Nigerians, we need to sit down and renegotiate our existence as a country.
“We need to practice true federalism. We need to retool Nigeria.”
Mr. Ozekhome said the government should also tackle the problem of corruption in the country.
The human rights activist, while thanking Nigerians for their concern during his ordeal, debunked insinuations that his abduction was politically motivated.
“We were never profiled or targeted. It could have happened to anybody,” he said.