The chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia State, Mr. Donatus Nwankpa, is calling on governments to consider granting amnesty to kidnappers across the country as part of strategies to check kidnapping.
Nwankpa who just regained freedom from abductors told The Nation that punitive measures are not enough to address the problem. “We have to look for a way, not just the operational or punitive aspects; we should also look for a way to positively engage them in order to give them some sense of belonging.
“We need to reassure them that their lives are not yet over. To some of them, they have already given up; they don’t believe that they have hope again. In the course of being there, I discovered that they have their off moments. In those off moments, you don’t talk to them; but in sober moments, you can engage them. All we need to do is to create a social programme that will recover our stray and erring youths.
“What is happening to the ex-militants should be extended to them. Amnesty is a positive engagement. Some of them can be sent outside this country because they can no longer do all these N30,000 minimum wage jobs. They need psychologists and counselors to talk to them. One of the areas that we are failing in this country is that the counseling department of various institutions have failed,” he said.
Nwankpa was seized in Umuahia, the state capital on January 28, about 12 hours to the arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari in the state for his campaign. Describing the moments before his abduction, the APC chairman said “we had just finished giving people responsibilities in Umuahia and I felt that it was necessary that I should know the state of preparation at the arena (Enyimba Stadium) where the president would be hosted.
“We agreed to visit the arena to see things for ourselves and make adjustments where necessary to ensure a hitch-free exercise. Unfortunately, as we were driving down, we ran into hoodlums. They took us into the bush where they ransacked and took everything that they could find on us and later blindfolded us. While one of us escaped, they took me and the other person to a location. Later, they allowed the other person go as he was badly injured. They knew that I am the APC chairman and that I was going to receive Mr. President the next day,” he said.