The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Owo local branch in Ondo State, has accused the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in the state of not doing enough in terms of securing lives and properties, and called for a state of emergency to be declared on kidnapping.
The lawyers said this on Wednesday during a peaceful demostration over the spate of kidnapping and armed robbery on the Akure/Owo/Akoko road in the state.
They marched with placards with various inscriptions such as: 'Kidnapping is A Crime Against Humanity'; 'Let Us Say No To Kidnapping, It is A Heinous Crime'; 'All Hands Must Be On Deck Against Kidnapping and Robberies', among others.
Noting that the road leading to the Northern senatorial area of the state was no longer safe for motorists and travellers, they also lamented that failed portions of the Akure/Owo/Akoko roads have become a trap as kidnappers operate along the route, even in broad daylight.
Speaking on behalf of the lawyers on Wednesday, Tajudeen Olutope-Ahmed, the Owo branch Chairman of the NBA, said the rampant cases of kidnapping in Ondo State was becoming a source of concern to members of the legal profession.
Olutope-Ahmed expressed displeasure over security lapses in the state in recent times and also demanded that more security measures are put in place to curb the menace of kidnapping. He also condemened the kidnapping of some victims (three medical workers and two lecturers of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo) and called on the Police to wake up to its responsibilities of providing security for the people.
“While eye witnesses said the victims were five, that is, three FMC Owo staffers and two Rufus Giwa Polytechnic workers, the Ondo State Police was reported to have put the number of the kidnapped victims at two individuals; this is worrisome," he said.
“We therefore call on the Police authorities to wake up to the present security challenge in Owo. This is not the time to slumber. It is not the time to be supine as well. Police must, as a matter of necessity, be at alert to the security situation in Owo and its environs. To this end, we suggest that the idea of mounting Police check points — which are nothing but avenues to rake bribes from commuters — be reviewed.
“Constant Police patrol of the roads should be embarked upon. In this way, Police will be able to foil any attempt by the men of the underworld from showcasing their daredevil skills on the roads."
The NBA Local Chairman, however, accused the state government of having failed in its constitutional responsibility of providing security to its citizens.
“The kidnappings ad ifinitum in Owo and its environs, of which one of our members was once a victim, is an indication of total collapse of security in Owo and the triumph of kidnapping and armed gangsters. It is on this note that we hereby invite the Government of Ondo State and that of the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on kidnapping on Owo roads and that of the entire federation," he added.