Death Penalty For Kidnappers

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Ikedi Ohakim, Imo State governor.

Governor Ikedi Ohakim of  Imo State said in Owerri on Monday that he would not hesitate in signing the death warrants of convicted kidnappers in the state.

Ikedi Ohakim, Imo State governor.

Ohakim said this while while answering questions from journalists during  a live state radio and television programme tagged:  “ The Governor Speaks.”

The governor said kidnapping had become a “calamity” in the South-East geo-political zone and required very drastic measures to tackle.

He said governors of  the geo-political zone had decided on very stringent measures against the crime and would soon make their resolutions public.

“We will not run away from our states because of the activities of criminals that do not constitute one per cent of the population.

“People should not take this as an excuse not to invest in this area. “Terrorism occurs in Iran for instance, yet America has a lot of investments in that country,”’ he said.

Ohakim also said the Imo State Investment Promotion Agency (ISIPA) had been set up to facilitate investments in the state.

On the planned August 7 council polls in the state, he said  measures had been put in place to ensure the success of  the elections.

The governor also said some former council administrators in the state were being prosecuted for misappropriating N27 billion.

On the delay in the execution of  the Imo Wonder Lake and Imo Refinery and Petrochemical projects, he said some time was required for some preliminary  initiatives before the take-off of the projects.

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Ohakim, however, urged  the people to be patient with his administration, pointing out that President Goodluck Jonathan would perform the ground breaking ceremony for the Wonder Lake project in September.

Meanwhile, kidnappers in the Eastern part of the country have accused politicians of giving them the sophisticated guns they use in kidnapping people.

They accused the politicians of abandoning them after they gave them the guns which they used in protecting them during elections, saying that since they were abandoned, they decided to go into the crime of kidnapping.  This was the message the Chairman, Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Mr. Wahab Oba brought from the kidnappers’ den.

Wahab, three other kidnapped journalists and some officials of the council paid a visit on Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday at the State House, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria where he said that the kidnappers brandished their weapons at him and told him that the politicians gave them the guns and later abandoned them to their fate.

On his part, Oba noted that the visit was to thank the governor for his efforts in ensuring their release, adding that efforts by the federal and state governments to get them released made their kidnappers uncomfortable, which led to their release without paying any ransom.

He called on the Federal Government to set up a special security trust fund to combat crime in the country, while commending Fashola for the priority given to security in the state through the State Security Trust Fund.

“There is need to have a special security fund for the Nigerian Police that would ensure they are well equipped.  We learnt that the whole country has just one tracking equipment to track down criminals.  This is so unfortunate for a country of over 150 million people,” he said.

However, Fashola blamed the recent kidnappings in the country on the poor economic situation which would require a holistic economic strategy to fight to a standstill just as he linked the porous security situation to the problems confronting the power sector.

According to the governor, many youths who were not gainfully employed to earn a decent living had resolved to dissipate their energies in criminal activities, adding that job creation could be better achieved with the implementation of the power reforms by the federal government for the private sector to get involved in the establishment of small and medium enterprises across the country,” Fashola stated.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga with agency report

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