Mass kidnapping is not a Northern problem – Peju Akande

Mass kidnapping is not a Northern problem – Peju Akande



It is beginning to look like the “in thing” now up North…go to school; round up the kids in a kidnapping spree. If you can’t massacre them to put fear in the hearts of the nation and the world; pile them into a lorry and drive off into the forests.


It doesn’t matter whether they be all boys or all girls. Just surround their schools and run off into the never-ending forests and wait.


Their parents will beg, they will wail, and their cries will reach the ears of the international community; who will be scandalized at our porous or even nonexistent security systems. This will then force our government to decide it doesn’t want this fly buzzing in its ears; they will part with a huge ransom, after all, that is what kidnappers want.


Mass kidnapping is not a Northern problem - Peju Akande



Then the terrorists/bandits…will strike again in another round of kidnapping in another part of the north; Dandume, Dapchi, Chibok…Just strike and government will come out to negotiate, present peace offerings…and it will continue because…only the Nigerian government negotiates with terrorists. It’s the reason they prefer to call the terrorists armed bandits/ robbers/ insurgents; instead of what they really are – Terrorists!



ALSO READ: Soyinka calls kidnapping ‘new social enterprise in Nigeria’, bemoans insecurity



Abubakar Shekau went on air to show us he was the one who kidnapped the schoolboys in Katsina. Skeptics will have you believe it couldn’t be Boko Haram as the terrorist group operates mostly in the Adamawa/Bornu axis. Isn’t that why they have factions?


Mass kidnapping is not a Northern problem - Peju Akande



But let’s pause to ask ourselves, why this sudden increase in armed banditry/mass school children kidnappings?




There is a rot in the north; abject poverty and lack of education makes it fester!




Let me tell you a short story.






A few years ago, my partner and I had the opportunity to work on a book project for the Goodluck Jonathan administration. It was a book documenting all that the administration had done in office. This project was handled by private partners; people who went round the country to verify claims the administration had made and the social-economic impact of these projects on the people within the region. But most importantly, whether the projects had been completed at the time we were working on the book or not.



ALSO READ: Come o, maybe we should dash Borno state to Boko Haram! – Peju Akande



Now these projects were as wide and as varied as the country itself – social, political and economic -impacting projects; which were meant to enhance the quality of life of the everyday Nigerian.

We found out, to our greatest amazement, that the Jonathan administration did more projects in the North than in any other region in Nigeria. He did more economically enabling projects up North than down South. One of such is an attempt at the education of the almajiri. He must have been frightened by the astronomical numbers he was presented. The almajiri number is huge and increasing daily.



Mass kidnapping is not a Northern problem - Peju Akande




The Jonathan administration built schools, furnished classrooms, equipped facilities to encourage the enrollment of street kids in schools. Sadly, these facilities are wasting away today; like many government projects where it starts out like a lofty idea, grand designs, and all; but falls flat at the stage of implementation. The almajiri project didn’t fully take off, if it did, it was a short flight.



There is a rot in the North and we all better start paying attention…



ALSO READ: If your spouse is a kidnapper, will you report him? – Peju Akande



We have large populations of kids growing into young adults who are neglected by both government and society.



We have a large population of young adults who go on social media to rant over mundane things like Rahama Sadau’s dress. But when the issue of gross insecurity and neglect of the North slaps them in the face; they “off their mic” because they would rather rant about the naked backside of a woman; or the fact that a groom placed his hand on the bum of his bride than confront real issues.


Indeed, we will continue to see incidents like these because truth is scarce; mediocrity is rife, but don’t you begin to think this is just a problem of the North. It isn’t.





The rest of the country should not fold their arms and point accusing fingers up North. No! Because if we don’t fight this rot, it will spread…Remember how Boko Haram started out by only killing Christians while our Muslim brothers looked the other way? Now, Boko Haram doesn’t discriminate between Christians and Muslims. They carry out kidnapping, kill, maim both Christians and Muslims alike, old and young, no one is spared!



Let’s pay attention to the rot in the North, people, because it will certainly catch up with the rest of the country.

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