Former President of the Senate Bukola Saraki has advised Nigeria to find solution to kidnapping through collaboration with countries that had successfully tackled the menace.
He urged the country to learn from these successful countries’ experiences and measures adopted in addressing it.
Saraki gave the advice on Friday during a webinar on the maiden edition of the Grow Nigeria Conversation (GNC), monitored in Abuja.
The webinar was titled: ‘Reversing the Flourishing Economy of Kidnapping and Banditry: Immediate and long-term solutions’.
The event was organised in partnership with The African Political Institute (TAPI) and Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative.
Saraki, who was the convener of the dialogue series, said though kidnaping was not new in Nigeria, the current trend of kidnapping for ransom, without any ideology was worrisome.
“It bears stating that kidnapping is not uncommon global phenomenon. Other countries, in the course of their respective histories, experienced similar problems.
“Nigeria can and should definitely learn from such nations as have successfully combated this form of insecurity.
“There is no need to reinvent the wheel in this regard. This is why my first contribution to today’s discussion is to ask the question:
“Why can’t Nigeria reach out to this countries, which had experienced the same problem, and they have successfully managed it, so that we can learn for what they did or stop doing to solve or reduce a problem?
“I remember in the 70s and 80s, Pakistan, for example, used to experiences large number of cases of kidnapping, we can learn from the experience and how they dealt with this problem,” Saraki said.
The former Senate president also called on youths, especially those with vast skills in Information and Technology (IT) to help deploy their knowledge toward addressing the challenge.
“It would be interesting if some of our experts, particularly our youth, who are participating in this discussion, especially the IT gurus, to tell us why in today’s world, the problem is not tackled.
“It baffles people like myself, that in today’s world with the use of satellite and telecommunication, how is it possible that people can get kidnapped and we are not able to locate where they are for days and weeks?
“Also, how is it possible that a huge amount of money can be paid as ransom in cash and cannot be traced?
“Are we saying that they’re not monetary policies that can be put in place that would deter people from having to be in such possession of such huge amount of cash,” he said.
He also stressed the need to address the challenge of human resources and deployment in the country’s security architecture.
Saraki expressed optimism that the outcome of the webinar would help in solving the country’s security challenges.
He pledged that the recommendations would be sent to relevant stakeholders for implementation, including government agencies and CSOs.
Saraki noted that the platform was conceived as a nonpartisan solution driven and real time dialogue series.
He said it was designed to engage young people, experts, professionals, and anyone with quality ideas in diagnosing the problems and offering workable and sustainable answers.
“The topic came out of a rigorous debate by a team in TAPI, and the contributors from Adopted Goal on the various issues confronting the country.
“It is believed that insecurity has become the biggest challenge to the economic, social, cultural, political and spiritual development of our people.
“The organisers believe it is very relevant and necessary to kick off with this subject,” he said.
Amb. John Campbell, a former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, who was one of the panelists, stressed the need to restore public confidence in the security services in addressing kidnapping.
“It is going to be very difficult to address kidnapping, and banditry in general, so long as a large portion of Nigeria’s population will have little to do with the police, or with the army,” Campbell said.
Oh her part, Tanwa Ashiru, a U.S Air Force veteran with over 14 years of experience in Intelligence Analysis, stressed the need to deploy technology to man the ungoverned parts of Nigerian territory.
She also called for improvement in Nigeria’s emergency response to cases of kidnapping, banditry and other insecurity cases.
The moderator of the event and Executive Director of Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, expressed optimism that most challenges facing Nigeria would be addressed through the platform.