“Kidnapping for Christ”: Nothing must be spared to secure justice, Muslim Public Affairs Centre demands in Kano-9 case

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Kano's kidnapped victims and their kidnappers.

Members of Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) have risen to the plight of victims of kidnap in Kano, North West Nigeria, among whom nine were recently rescued and eight now successfully handed to and reunioned with their parents.

It says there must be nothing short of justice for the victims.

Incorporated as Independent Muslim Public Service Agency, the MPAC through a statement sent to The DEFENDER Friday by its Director of Media and Strategic Communications, Mr. Abdulwarees Solanke, expressed deep concern that a criminal ring of inter-state child kidnappers could be operating between Anambra and Northern states of Nigeria engaging in the “horrific and unbelievably wicked” activity undetected for more than five years.

This, according to Solanke, raises many questions about the vigilance of our police, other security agencies, and importantly too the security consciousness of citizens of the affected states whose children were taken away without a trace.

It is impossible to understand how such crime, described as “Kidnapping for Christ” by its nature, can happen in a nation or in fact become a trend that no one has raised any serious concern about for so long, the Muslim Public Affairs Centre said in the statement by Abdulwarees Solanke.

The statement read in details: “In what appears to be a major breakthrough in inter-state crime in Nigeria, reports at the weekend had it that nine children reportedly kidnapped in Kano and moved down to Anambra State by their abductors were recently rescued by the Kano State Police Command in collaboration with their counterparts in Anambra State.

“The Kano State Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Ilyasu who disclosed the seemingly cheering development while addressing reporters at the Bompai Police Headquarters on Saturday explained that the dare-devil criminals have been operating for over five years in the ancient city of Kano and were smashed by the Command’s tactical team and the Inspector General of Police Operation Puff Adder attached to the anti-kidnapping squad.

“According to CP Illiyasu, the kidnapped children who are between the ages of two and ten years were kidnapped five years ago by a gang led by Paul Owne (38) and his wife, Mercy Paul (38), residing at Dakata quarters of Kano State. The evil-minded couple were arrested while trying to take one of the kidnapped victims, Haruna Sagir Bako, to Onitsha in Anambra State.

“Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) expresses deep concern that a criminal ring of inter-state child kidnappers could be operating between Anambra and Northern States of Nigeria engaging in this horrific and unbelievably wicked activity undetected for more than five years.

“This raises many questions about the vigilance of our police, other security agencies, and importantly too the security consciousness of citizens of the affected states whose children were taken away without a trace. It is impossible to understand how this can happen in a nation or in fact become a trend that no one has raised any serious concern about for so long.

“We are even more horrified that this trend, which is capable of causing or fueling inter-ethnic and inter-religious clashes is allowed to fester for that long until providence intervened to blow off the lid on it.

“From the details of arrest so far, there seems to be incontrovertible involvement of Kano and Bauchi indigenes in the kidnap cartel, which even makes it more worrisome.

“We are equally saddened that being a trans-border or inter-state trend, there was no record of interception at checkpoints to question suspicious movements of persons out of Kano from where these children were being kidnapped and sold for whatever reasons that motivated the criminality.

“There is every likelihood that such heinous inter-border business of child theft and trafficking might be going on undetected in different parts of the country where children of impressionable age are kidnapped and exchanged for cash in a state, and shipped to other states to be resold like common goods or slaves, their identities altered and possibly taken out of Nigeria.

“We cannot guess-say in its entirety the motivation for this mindless mercantilism. Thus, we would leave this in the hands of the appropriate authorities to finely interrogate the perpetrators that have been arrested and bring them to swift justice.

“We are convinced that this is a wide network which tentacles or reach could even be beyond the shores of Nigeria. So, no stone must be left unturned in the bid to unravel every strand of the criminality, even if it would need the involvement of Interpol.

“This shameful development finds some similarity in the Wadume Saga which resulted in the killing of three policemen when an undercover police detachment was sent to arrest the kidnap kingpin who in an escape bid called the attention of the military men in Ibi, Taraba State who opened fire on the police.

“The investigation must be thorough and nothing must be spared to bring to justice everybody has seen or known to be connected to the crime, no matter how well connected.

“MPAC believes strongly that no society knows peace and development when crimes such as this (crimes of insecurity or state negligence on the safety of lives and properties of citizens, smooth trans-border kidnapping) are all left entrenched and enduring.

“It is our hope that the media, in good conscience, will accord this heinous crime the necessary level of coverage and attention as a duty it owes the nation and its citizens.”

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