Paschal Emeka, Abuja
The House of Representatives has urged His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to expedite action to secure the release of the remaining 51 Nigerians kidnapped in the Abuja-Kaduna train attack and all other Nigerians held hostage by bandits and terrorists across the country.
The House in a motion on today, urged the Federal Government to secure the release of the kidnapped Abuja – Kaduna train passengers and other Nigerians held captive in the country.
It stressed the need for Federal Government to set up a High-Powered Inter-Agency Panel to coordinate efforts and ensure the release of kidnapped victims in the country, as well as assisting their families.
The motion was raised by Hon. Bamidele Salam, Hon. Julius Ihonvbere, Hon. Aminu Sulaiman Goro, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, Hon. Shehu Balarabe Kakale and Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe.
Others are: Hon. Benjamin Mzondu, Hon. Jaha Babawo Ahmed, Hon. Mansur Manu-Soro, Hon. Abubakar Umar Yabo and Hon. Kingsley Uju.
The House noted that Section 14(2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), states that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government, Section 17(2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution further states that the sanctity of the human person shall be recognized and human dignity maintained and enhanced.
The lawmakers also noted that in the last 10 years, terrorism, banditry, kidnappings and other forms of violent crimes have become a security epidemic in different parts of the country and expressed concerns that the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) reported that since 2018, there has been a rapid increase in kidnapping from 987 victims in 2018 to 1,395 in 2019.
They were also alarmed that the figure of kidnapped persons increased to 2,865 in 2020 and 5,287 in 2021 and expressed worry that over 70% of the kidnapped victims are mostly children, women and elderly persons who were violently attacked and captured by criminals in the course of discharging their daily activities on the farms, villages, roads, worship centres and other places.
While noting that a large number of the kidnapped citizens have remained in captivity for years, months and days without any form of help to either release them or provide social, medical or economic support to their grieving family members from the government, some of the kidnapped cases remain unresolved.
The lawmakers listed some of the unresolved cases of kidnappings to include the remnant of 2014 kidnapped Chibok girls, Leah Sharibu in February 2018, the Islamiyya school students kidnapped in Niger State on May 30, 2021, the Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna students kidnapped on July 5, 2021, and the students of Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri kidnapped on October 21, 2021