• Tuesday, March 05, 2024
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Nigerians perplexed as security agents can’t track down kidnappers

…Body language signals complicity – Observers

…As Tinubu gives marching orders

Nigerians have continued to wonder why the nation’s security agents have been unable to track down kidnappers despite the sophisticated gadgets said to be at their disposal.

It has also continued to amaze Nigerians why kidnappers succeed in collecting ransom from their victims without any trace of them by security agencies.

Many observers have alleged that the pattern of kidnapping and the body language of security agencies signal dangerous collaboration.

In recent times, the issue of insecurity has become a pressing concern in Nigeria. The focus has shifted towards the perceived reluctance of security agencies to deploy tracking devices in combating criminal activities, despite the success stories from other countries utilising technologies like the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Insecurity lingers in Nigeria
Kidnapping for ransom has emerged as a lucrative enterprise, thriving despite government assurances to curb it. Families, faced with the distressing ordeal of loved ones’ abductions, resort to crowdfunding on social media platforms in desperate attempts to secure their release. Recent incidents, such as the abduction of six sisters and their father in the Bwari Area Council of Abuja, underscore the gravity of the situation.

Read also: Soldiers arrest female kidnapper during ransom pick-up in Taraba

Terrorism and ethno-religious conflicts continue to plague the northern regions, with recurring attacks in areas like Plateau State. Farmers abandon their fields, stalked by bandits waiting to pounce on them, their livelihoods sacrificed on the altar of insecurity. Businesses shut down, investments dry up, and economic growth becomes a distant dream in a climate of constant fear.

In a recent report by SBM Intelligence titled “Media Reported Killings in Nigeria,” 2308 deaths were recorded between October and December 2023

Is the Nigerian military archaic in the 21st Century?

The question arises whether the Nigerian security agencies, particularly the military, are archaic in the 21st century due to their apparent hesitancy to incorporate cutting-edge technologies like GPS in their operations. While the country possesses abundant resources, the seeming reluctance to adopt modern tracking devices raises concerns about the military’s readiness to combat contemporary security challenges.

Several countries globally have successfully employed GPS technology to combat criminal activities. In the United States, law enforcement agencies utilize GPS tracking devices to monitor and apprehend criminals, particularly in cases of missing persons and electronic monitoring of parolees. Similarly, European nations like the United Kingdom deploy GPS for surveillance and tracking of criminal elements.

The difficulty in tracking criminal elements in Nigeria may be attributed to various factors. The lack of technological integration and a comprehensive strategy in deploying tracking devices could be one reason. The failure to tackle insecurity with the use of technology has also raised questions about the government being complicit in the crime.
There have been several reports of security agents escorting families of abductees to drop ransom for kidnappers, yet tracking the criminals has become a herculean task.
The sophisticated weapons like AK-47 rifles being used by these criminals also raised questions about their sponsors.

To address the challenges posed by insecurity, Nigeria needs a multifaceted approach. Embracing advanced technologies, including GPS tracking devices, is essential. Additionally, comprehensive intelligence gathering, international collaboration, and addressing root causes such as socio-economic factors are crucial components of a holistic solution.

Experts speak

Kabiru Adamu, the founder and MD of Beacon Security and Intelligence Limited, shed light on the subject matter. He emphasised the need to correct the faulty premise that puts the military at the forefront of internal security and advocated for jointness, interoperability, coordination, cooperation, and collaboration among security agencies.

Regarding the difficulty in tracking criminal elements, Adamu highlighted that agencies possess the capability but may lack the tactical ability for precision-style rescue operations with no or minimal collateral damage.

Unraveling the benefactors behind kidnappers, Adamu pointed to the ransom and political nuisance as driving factors, suggesting that tracing financial transactions could lead to unveiling them..

“Kidnapping for ransom has become an industry. Like any industry what drives it is the benefits. The ransom and possibly the political nuisance or damage it causes. Therefore, the benefactors (those who collect the money) are those behind it. To unravel them is not difficult given the structure we currently have for tracing and monitoring financial transactions (CBN, NFIU and other financial instruments),” he said.

Adamu proposed a threefold solution: conducting a sociological study to understand root causes, developing better protection measures for victims, and denying perpetrators the ability to benefit from proceeds by using law enforcement techniques.

Introducing monitoring and evaluation in public security management, embracing standards and metrics, and implementing performance measurement and consequence management were also recommended to enhance the effectiveness of security measures.

Read also: Ransom worth N4.18bn among old notes expected back in banks

My experience in Mali – Expert

An expert who shared his experience on how security agents in some other climes work with the aid of 21st century technology to achieve results, said: “Based on my job, I learnt something special this week from Security Agents in Mali that we went on a rescue mission together. I don’t know if the Nigerian Security Agencies are in collaboration with kidnappers to take ransom and share together, if not no kidnapper can succeed in taking any ransom where security formation is effective.

“The story is that, I received a message from Nigeria concerning a 16-year-old girl that was trafficked to Mali for sex trade. This victim called her parents about the situation and they passed the message to me from government agency for an urgent rescue.

“When I called the number that the victim used to call her parents and I asked the traffickers to send the victim to me so that she can go back to Nigeria, they refused. Later they removed the line from their phone, now the number is out of use. I now informed a security agent about the situation because what is important is to rescue the girl from sexual exploitation.

“Now, the number I used to contact the traffickers is no more in use. I don’t know the name of the village the victim is. I sent the number that they have removed and destroyed, to the security agent. After two hours, they notified me of the name of the village and the current new number the traffickers are using. We went on a mission without calling the new number. We arrived at the village in the midnight because it was about 15 hours journey.

“The second day, information reached us of the exact location the phone number was last used before they switched off the phone. After an hour, information came again that the person was having an appointment with somebody by 11:00am.
“We stayed around the place. When the person came around, there was a vibration from one of their security gadgets to know the person coming with the number. We monitored her entry to the house. We were able to rescue the victim. No call. Nothing.

“So ransom collection in Nigeria could be between the kidnappers and security agencies. If not, no Nigerian should pay ransom to any kidnapper if really our policemen have the necessary security gadgets.

“Criminals will be hiding somewhere and be calling people several times to pay ransom. You cannot call three times before being caught in Mali.

“That is the reason I said, Nigerian Security Agents could be in collaboration with the kidnappers to take ransom from people.”

Evolve new ideas, strategy – Tinubu tasks Military

President Bola Tinubu on Saturday charged the Armed Forces to evolve new ideas and strategies to end insecurity in the country, and protect Nigeria’s territorial integrity against all threats.

Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement said the President reminded the security agencies of the urgency to scale up efforts to deal with insecurity, even as he commended them for their dedication to duty and sacrifices for the nation.

Speaking at an event marking the Diamond Jubilee of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna, the President assured the military of his administration’s commitment to its welfare, as well as unflagging support in the discharge of its duties.

He said: “Let me reiterate the urgency to upscale the fight against insecurity, which has robbed us of peace and progress. While the relative peace you have been able to secure is worth celebrating, you must remember that the war is not yet over until every parcel of land held by the enemy is flying the flag of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”