Shaykh Adam Idoko, a prominent Muslim leader in the South East, Deputy Secretary-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the Chief Imam of the University of Nsukka, was kidnapped today in his home village, Ogrute Enugu-Ezike in Nssukka, Enugu State by unknown armed men.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is shocked by this ugly incident. This is one kidnap too many. We strongly condemn this act of brigandage. We appeal to the Federal Government (FG) to take urgent steps towards finding him alive. We also urge the security agencies to do everything humanly possible to secure his release.
But the rising waive of kidnapping and armed robbery needs to be urgently addressed, particularly the case of South East Nigeria. Why is the South East so porous? Why must innocent and law-abiding people in the sub-region live in palpable fear all through their lives?
While the security agencies have been doing their best, it appears they need FG’s urgent intervention. The security data at our disposal shows that Nigeria is still lagging behind in the fight against crime, particularly in terms of the numerical strength of the security agencies.
It is well known that cities are conquered by numbers. But Nigeria does not have the required number to fight, prevent and control crime. FG currently relies on 310,177 policemen, 33,000 State Security Services (SSS) personnel and about 100,000 troops to protect a geometrically rising civilian population conservatively put at 180 million.
This grossly falls short of the recommendation of the United Nations (UN) that there should be a minimum of one policeman for every 448 civilians. In 2006, the UN further recommended a minimum of 222 policemen to every civilian population of 100,000.
For every 100,000 civilians, America currently has 360 policemen, Britain has 227, Germany parades 296 while France controls 356. Nearer home on the African continent, Algeria commands the highest number with 413 to every 100,00 civilians, followed by Zimbabwe’s 401, South Africa’s 317 and Gambia’s 280. But Nigeria parades a paltry 205!
This comparative analysis explains why our security agents are unable to enforce law and order. Every policeman in those countries has a pistol and a walkie-talkie. What do we have in Nigeria? A good car is allocated to two policemen in those countries but in Nigeria our policemen are deprived of these mandatory equipment. They are immobile most of the time or, at best, in rickety old jalopies which we often see them pushing on the roads! What a way to fight crime!
While we commend President Muhammadu Buhari for recently ordering the recruitment of 10,000 more police officers, we are constrained to say this is not enough. We urge Mr. President to declare an emergency in the security sector in the South East. The high wave of kidnapping necessitates it. Sophisticated equipment should be provided for the police. More men should be recruited.
We are aware of efforts being made by some state governments to punish kidnappers. Some have made kidnapping a capital offence while others have imposed life sentence on offenders. Yet these harsh punishments have not yielded the desired result as the spate of kidnappings continues to rise unabated. We therefore recommend the provision of jobs for the army of unemployed youths roaming the streets. The idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
In conclusion, MURIC appeals to the kidnappers to treat Shaykh Idoko with respect and to release him unhurt immediately. Idoko is a man of peace. He cannot hurt a fly. His huge frame belies his compassionate mien. Idoko is easy-going and does not belong to the class of oppressors.
We remind those behind this dastardly act to desist from carrying out attacks on religious leaders to avoid the wrath of the Supreme Creator. We urge Muslims nationwide to pray fervently for the safe return of Shaykh Idoko. In addition, we charge Nigerians to be more security conscious and to resist divulging information about their movements to questionable characters. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC),
E-mail: [email protected].
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