Professor Murtala Jide Balogun, a former Adviser at the United Nations (UN) in New York, United States, has said that the National Assembly and state assemblies should enact a law forbidding payment of ransom to, and conclusion of private deals with kidnappers, arguing that this would be a good strategy to stop the now booming business of kidnap for ransom.
Professor Balogun, who is also a former Director General of the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), Badagry, Lagos, said that “when kidnapping ceases to be ‘income-generating,’ the kidnappers’ business will fold up.”
He said further that “as part of efforts to stop kidnapping, monies demanded by kidnappers should be deposited in Community Security Accounts,” stressing that “ if a distressed family cannot say with certainty that their kidnapped relatives will be released unharmed, they can at least take solace in the belief that their monies will serve a worthy cause!”
He insisted that “ransom payment is a strong kidnapping incentive,” regretting that the practice cannot be stopped “unless the law explicitly forbids it and imposes stiff penalties for violation.”
Prof. Balogun suggested this solution against the background of increasing cases of kidnapping across the country and alleged payment of, sometimes princely sums of money, as ransom.
Family members, relatives or associates of kidnap victims, and in some cases governments, have been known to pay as much as several millions of Naira, and in some cases US Dollars as ransom. Unfortunately, some of the kidnap victims have still been killed even after payment of the ransom.
Prof. Balogun, therefore believes the law he proposes is what will stand between the kidnappers or blackmailers and their victims.