Last week’s brilliant and daring rescue of Alhaji Musa Umar, Magajin Garin Daura, from the hands of kidnappers without paying ransom was a watershed event in the fight against criminal elements in Nigeria. Magaji, who was abducted from his house on May 1, 2019 was held in captivity for 63 days before his liberation on Wednesday, June 10, 2019 by the Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Squad.
We congratulate the Nigeria Police for this feat. For the period of two months that the retired Customs Controller and brother of the Emir of Daura was held, there was despondency in Daura and far beyond. Nigerians laterlearnt that the kidnappers took him from Daura to five other locations before he was moved to Gangan Ruwa Quarters in Samegu, on the outskirts of Kumbotso Local Government Area of Kano State, not far from the state capital.
Magaji’s nasty experience has shown that it is not only the ordinary Nigerian that is at risk of kidnap. In the last two years, over 30 traditional rulers have been kidnapped in the country. Because traditional rulers are highly respected as custodians of customs and traditions, it would be considered sacrilegious to subject them to this kind of humiliating experience. But the men of the underworld have shown that they are no respecters of culture and tradition. They prey on anyone and everyone including political leaders, businessmen, clergymen and even peasants. This is a low point in the country’s history of crime and all hands must be on deck to rescue Nigeria from degenerating further into the quagmire.
One of the lessons to be learned from the experience of Magajin Garin Daura is that the country’s security system would need to be overhauled to ensure that policemen and other security agencies are alive to their responsibilities. It was unthinkable that the kidnappers could take the district head of President Muhammadu Buhari’s hometown from one location to another, driving on highways and alleys without being intercepted.The question is, how vigilant were policemen, operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), immigration and vigilante outfits who were supposed to be on the lookout for the ‘kidnapped traditional ruler?’
For over two months, criminals defied Nigeria’s security network until last week. Such kinds of failure should not be allowed in a country that is fighting insurgency and all sorts of criminality.Government should equip policemen with skills and gadgets that would facilitate the tracking of kidnappers and similar criminal elements to reduce the success rate of these lawbreakers.
A second lesson is that Nigerians should begin to take keen interest in those who live in their neighbourhood. Reports from Kano after Magajin Garin Daura’s rescue had it that the house where he was kept was rented out to the criminals though the owner of the building did not know the identity of the tenants. Those resident in the neighbourhood were taken aback when security agencies began to carry out the operation that led to the Magaji’s rescue.Nigeria has arrived at a dispensation in which house owners should not be renting out their properties to just anyone who prospects for them. They should do thorough background checks and other forms of due diligence before admitting anyone as tenant. And if a new tenant enters into a neighbourhood, those who live there should make a deliberate attempt to know who they are and what they do for a living. The landlord has now paid a heavy price for his laxity because Kano State Government has demolished the house.
The fact that Magajin Garin Daura was rescued without the payment of ransom shows that Nigeria’s security agencies, if properly equipped, can bust the kidnap-for-ransom industry that has grown so large that it is drowning people’s confidence in government’s capacity to provide security. We are very glad that Magaji was rescued and we wish the police would devote similar effort where less prominent kidnap victims are involved.