Shina Abubakar – Osogbo
National President, Nigeria Baptist Convention, Dr Israel Akanji has warned that criminals would be more emboldened as the country approached the 2023 general election if something urgently is not done to curtail the problem of banditry.
Speaking with Newsmen at Inisa, Odo-Otin local government area of Osun state on Thursday, he said since political campaigns and election activities increase money in circulation, the bandits might take advantage in order to extort more innocent Nigerians.
The cleric lamented that “banditry itself has become a business, they are using it to rake money from people, kidnapping their relatives and forcing them to bring a huge amount of money.
“If their activities are not urgently checked now, I fear that they would be more powerful as we approach the 2023 general election when politicians begin to throw money around, more innocent Nigerians would fall their victims “.
He said out of the 121 students of Bethel High school, Kaduna state, kidnapped over a week ago, two were released after paying the ransom and one other was allowed to leave with them because he was sick, saying the bandits insisted on huge ransom before the remaining 118 students can be released.
“Where did they want the parents to get that amount of money? If they had money they would not have brought their children to a missionary school in the first instance. Not only that, the bandits are also making all sorts of demands asking parents to bring food, bags of rice, bags of garri and if you are able to take food to them, you are elongating the stay of the children in their hands”, he added.
Reverend Akanji charged the government to seriously tackle the menace of banditry, describing it as horrible, imposing pains on citizens, affecting businesses, livelihood and must not be allowed to thrive.
He lamented that after 165 years of providing educational service to humanity, attacking one of its school is not a good way to repay such services.
Speaking on moral decadence and spate of criminality in Nigeria, the cleric pointed out that the failure of home due to parents negligence of their responsibility, as well as the negative implications of technological advancement, were majorly responsible.
He explained that many parents under the guise of the pursuit of means of livelihood had abandoned their roles to the churches, schools, mass media, and social media, saying all of those things cannot replace the role of parents in children’s life.