The name, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, a.k.a. Evans, instantly rings a bell. He is, however, not renowned for a noble, heroic or righteous cause. His ‘celebrity’ status is not for everything good but for his unrivalled abduction exploits.
Before he was eventually nabbed last year, inside an imposing mansion at Magodo area of Lagos state, Evans was a ‘skillful’, deft and mercurial kidnapper who rightfully deserves an honourable mention in the infamous hall of Nigerian dare-devil criminals. For the records, he had reigned supreme as a fearless ringleader of a terror-inducing kidnapping syndicate, for almost a decade
Shouldn’t he by now, be languishing in one of our horrifying dungeons, a year after he was caught? Not in Nigeria where prosecution, like other fundamental national issues, takes forever before a final court verdict is given.
In climes where things work, it is a matter of an inconsequential time for the likes of Mr. Evans to find themselves banished to prison for their senseless and reprehensible actions. In Nigeria, the question many have asked and others are still asking is: when will Evans meet his comeuppance? The germane answer, possibly, will be provided by the bowel of time.
Meanwhile, why has kidnapping become a lucrative venture? Of course, unemployment takes the lead as the principal cause of abduction in return for a colossal amount of money.
We have become the world’s poverty capital, so says Theresa May, the British Minister in South Africa, prior to her diplomatic trip to Nigeria, in October. If her statement is anything to go by, then concluding that poverty has not only fueled kidnapping in the ‘Giant of Africa’, but made the atrocious trade to boom, will not be fallacious.
Then illiteracy, how does one who is not well or even educated at all decipher that abduction for money is entirely callous and perhaps, satanic both in the eyes of mankind and God Almighty.
It is absolutely pointless shedding light on how corruption, greed and politics have heightened kidnapping, most especially in our contemporary Nigeria. The sheer psychological trauma and depression suffered by victims of forceful abduction is better imagined than experienced. And that is if the ruthless kidnappers didn’t snuff their defenceless prey’s lives out.
Emphasis should be given to massive job-creation for the unemployed and sophisticated training of anti-kidnapping personnel to help combat the vice. It is imperative that stringent punishments are meted on convicted abductors.
It is one of the most potent ways of curbing the disturbing malady. But at this moment, one can only hope that government does the needful and not engage in giving rhetorical reassurances. The fight against kidnapping must be approached with a sense of burning urgency, and nothing else.
Abdulrazaq Arafat, Kano.