*Demands unconditional release of Mrs Nwosu*
A pro-Democracy Non-governmental organisation – Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has
demanded the unconditional release by armed kidnappers of the forcefully abducted spouse of the Deputy Managing Director of Sun group of Newspapers – Mrs Toyin Nwosu [above with husband].
HURIWA has also asked the President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a powerful Federal Government’s team made up of tested and trusted criminal legal experts to work in close partnership with the hierarchies of the Legislature and national and state assemblies to harmonise strategic legal frameworks on Combating armed kidnapping with a view to making it a Federal offence punishable by the death penalty.
In a statement signed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA condemned the Lagos State Command of the Nigeria Police Force for embarking on blame game on what to call the abduction of this innocent woman and wife of the top rated journalist who is also a reputable columnist.
HURIWA said it was wrong -headed for the Lagos State police command to engage in banality of debating whether it was a case of armed robbery or armed kidnapping rather than activate effective mechanisms for tracking down the suspected armed marauders who invaded the Lagos home of the popular columnist and bundled away his wife Mrs Toyin NWOSU.
The Rights group said: “We urge the Nigerian Government to constitute an action team made up of few but versatile legal scholars to work in partnership with the hierarchies of the Legislature and the judiciary to articulate actionable positions on strategies for amending all relevant criminal laws relating to kidnapping within a time frame of one Month with a view to make kidnapping a capital offence punishable by death.
“It has become very clear that the piecemeal legal approaches by the different states within the federation of Nigeria to tackle armed criminality of kidnapping hasn’t worked therefore demanding that a national mechanism be put in place to make Kidnapping a grave offence only punishable with the death penalty. Kidnappers are as bad as terrorists and therefore the harsher the punishment meted out to them the better”.
Government must also investigate the alleged involvement of top police and military officers in the spate of armed kidnapping for ransoms. “Why do people pay ransoms continuously and these gangsters are never really caught and decimated except a handful of petty criminals usually fraudulently paraded as armed kidnappers by the Nigeria Police Force? Where are the operatives providing weapons to kidnappers?” HURIWA asked.
HURIWA demanded the immediate sack of the Lagos State Police Commissioner for alleged dereliction of duty and for spending valuable time and resources debating the nature and texture of the criminal Act of invasion of the home of the Lagos journalist Mr Steven NWOSU and the unfortunate kidnapping of his wife.
The Federal government must declare a national crime emergency on armed kidnapping the same way it has carried out the counter terrorism war so as to save Nigeria from the destructive consequences of armed hoodlums. Government should set up a national joint military/para military anti-kidnapping task force to tackle kidnapping.
Armed kidnapping discourages foreign direct investments and therefore would create unemployment and a spiralling economic hardship that would spark off a regime of social disconnect amongst families who would be affected should the economy of Nigeria crumbles as a result of the widening spate of impunity including armed kidnapping.
Lagos State commissioner of police Mr Fatai Oweseni disputes the widely held suspicion that the armed hoodlums who invaded the private home of the Lagos media manager Mr Steven NWOSU and abducted his wife by force of arms were armed hoodlums and not kidnappers.
But HURIWA said the police commissioner should be sacked for negligence of duty and professional incompetence. “Why engage in debate on the nature of the serious crime that has happened in Lagos that is rattling Nigeria on whether the hoodlums were armed robbers or armed kidnappers even before the Nigeria Police Force has had the professional experience of undertaken a comprehensive investigations of these serious crime before jumping into hasty conclusions?
“This is a very disturbing development that must not be taken lightly under the current political dispensation. The NPF must truly be reformed and only professionally competent officers should constitute the hierarchy at all levels”.