It may come as a shock to Nigerians to know that kidnapping is becoming another money-making venture in their country. We hear some in news, especially when it affects a top political officer or travellers along Kaduna-Abuja Expressway. But what many of us didn’t know is that this devilish act happens in almost every part of the country. For instance, I have not heard media houses announcing any of the incessant kidnapping that happens along Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway nor have I seen where they wrote about the kidnap victims that were not “Big Men” or “Big Men” relatives. But unfortunately for us, kidnappers don’t attack only those people presented to us by the media.
On 1st October, 2020, I stumbled on the tweet of an investigative writer, Fisayo Soyombo, who lamented the kidnap of his colleagues and the huge ransom the kidnappers demanded for. He wrote a heart-rending post on how his colleague begged over the phone for arrangements to be made from whatever angle possible so his abductors do not kill him on that very day. It was quite pathetic and painful.
But what actually made me drop this article is the type of comments his post attracted. As of the time I read that tweet, two kidnap victims have dropped the strategies they used to come out alive from their kidnappers’ den. No, they didn’t do James Bond and Jackie Chan by killing all the kidnappers. And no, they didn’t do ninja to sneak out noiselessly when the kidnappers were sleeping. And don’t even bother thinking about the police rescuing them. These men NEGOTIATED their way out. They paid to leave with their lives. In fact, they bought back their lives from these kidnappers. What a shame to our country.
Well, the focal point of this essay is the advice these men gave to Fisayo and to every other Nigerian that stumbled on the post. As I implied earlier, kidnappers do not only go for the rich and famous; anybody can be their victim. Somehow, our system has failed us and we have to think of ways to help and protect ourselves. Well, below are the three core tips given by these men.
- Negotiate with them
The thing these men highlighted the most was negotiation. According to them, nobody should argue with the kidnappers or take their threats for granted. If they give the ransom, try to negotiate with them. As these men said, negotiation skill is the sure way out of the kidnapper’s hold.
- Don’t Involve the Police
I’ve been thinking of the best way to put this but none is coming up. These men blatantly advised against involving the police here. They didn’t say why but they indirectly painted our police black. In fact, they advised that the person’s family should engage private investigators instead of going to the police. It’s a pity what our system is turning into.
- Don’t call them bluff
One of the men told Fisayo not to panic because kidnappers always threaten their victims with death if their demands are not met. He claimed that their threats are always empty. But the second person advised that their threats should never be bluffed because those men can go to any length to obtain the said ransom. This is actually scary.
“Why is she telling us all these?” some people will ask.
Well, it is obvious that our system has failed us. These kidnappers are in our midst and are monitoring our movements. They carry out their businesses freely without hitches. But they destroy lives. I am not a security expert and so I am not in a position to give tips on how to avoid being kidnapped. But at least, I have brought tips given by abductees on what we can do if our loved ones fall into their net.
May God continue to protect us all.