Okay, let me get this right. Trouble is brewing for ransom payers in Nigeria.
A bill is currently going through the Upper Chamber titled: “Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2021. It is sponsored by Senator Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi.
So, what this means is that the people you and I stood for hours in the sun to elect to represent us are disregarding their first responsibility towards us; which is, ensuring the safety of the lives and property of every Nigerian.
The same people who, regardless of the sufferings of the people in their constituencies change cars at will; collect furniture allowance and housing allowance and live flamboyant lifestyles in the face of the abject poverty of their people…These same overfed and over-protected lot are considering a law jailing anyone who pays ransom to kidnappers?
I know some would argue and I have on a number of occasions declared, “never negotiate with bandits.”
But you see, we all erroneously mouth what we see our American friends do. We fail to take in the fact that Americans value the lives of their citizens. Therefore, no no matter when and how, they would send help to rescue kidnapped citizens.
And no matter how long, even if the victim dies; the kidnappers would be hounded down by American security agencies; be it the FBI, CIA, Marine teams, for years, 30 years, 50 years down the line. Then when caught, they would face jail time or be put to death. They are never given homes or money to help them back into the society.
That is why they can say, “Never negotiate with terrorists!”
But our senators who’ve ignored their responsibilities, continue to beat down the downtrodden with obnoxious laws.
They folded their arms at the spate of insecurity in the land. They have so far offered no solutions beyond rhetoric to incessant pillaging of communities by terrorist groups; killing of innocent Nigerians up north, down south and both sides of the east and west of this nation.
What bills have they proposed to curb the razing of police stations and the meagre security apparatus that exist in Nigeria?
What bills have been sponsored to rehabilitate the military who often run scared before Boko Haram terrorists; simply because they are not as equipped as the terrorists they fight?
And what inquiries have been set up to check military planes falling from the skies like flies and spilling young blood?
What succor have they extended to families of murdered victims of kidnapping nationwide?
What reforms are in place to beef up security challenges of the nation?
Our senators offer no solution to why Nigerians aren’t even safe in the comfort of their homes. Yet, they have proposed a bill that anyone who pays ransom is guilty of felony and liable to 15 years in jail!
Dear God, thou art most patient!
“Almighty” Senators of the hallowed chamber, which is easier to do?
Can’t you see that the everyday Nigerian hasn’t even got enough to feed his family, (thanks to a bad economy); not to talk of paying huge ransom to kidnappers you enable when you have not first ensured the safety of lives and property of the people who put you in those so called “hallowed chambers”?
By refusing to see the log in your eye, you have completely failed the people you lead.
Have you sent word, comfort, help, to parents of Greenfield University, Kaduna; who are still begging you to help secure their children from captivity? Do you even know the names of those killed simply for being at school?
What of Leah Sharibu? She’s forgotten, right? She is a victim. Her parents and loved ones have stopped looking to you to help. What of the rest of the Chibok girls stolen from their schools? The parents of children killed in their schools simply for being in school. Did you come up with reforms to ensure children are safe at school?
Did you send emissaries to condole with families who’ve lost loved ones because they couldn’t even raise the ransom? What of those who did and yet their families were killed?
You’ve left the traumatized victims of bandit attacks wallowing in IDP camps; while you’ve supported and rehabilitated kidnappers and terrorists with food and money and boarding.
You have left the weightier part of the law. You should first ensure security of lives and property of every citizen. In fact, you forgot equality. You left out justice and might I add mercy.
Show mercy to the people you lead. If you had any iota of mercy in your veins, you will never support a bill that jails people who pay ransom to secure the release of their loved ones. Instead, you will fight for a more secure nation.