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Banigbe’s kidnapping expose in Abduction Chronicles

Folarin Banigbe (left); Yinka Ogunnibi; Babasola Feibo; Toyin Ayinde; Oba and Olori Banigbe (Folarin’s parents) and John Dara at the launch of Abduction Chronicles… in Lagos

Kidnapping is one of the most feared crimes against humanity, which has gained currency in recent times in Nigeria. It is committed against victims of different social, religious and financial status. A lot of factors have been attributed as a major cause of the menace, one of which is the decline of morality in the society. The trial of what is arguably Nigeria’s kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike (Evans), is still fresh in the memory of many.

Folarin Philip Banigbe, a civil engineer and publisher of PH Microscope, shares in the belief that the deterioration of moral values is a basic reason for the perpetration of the evil act. He made his assertion known while sharing his experience of his kidnap ordeal during the launch of his book Abduction Chronicles, which held recently in Lekki, Lagos. The talk-point event had as theme ‘Rediscovering our humanity.’

Abduction Chronicles is based on the life experiences of Banigbe, who was abducted from the comfort of his home on his 17th wedding anniversary in Port Harcourt. He as exposed to the elements with little or no food, and in constant terror of an armed gang. He had to negotiate his freedom but not before an unexpected twist brought him in a direct, hair-raising confrontation with the abductors.

Banigbe bemoaned the numerous criminal activities humans commit against other human beings and noted that unless love, compassion and care form the basic life principles of every human being, the desired solution to this menace would only be a mirage.

As he put it, “My kidnap experience has opened my eyes to the reality of various happenings in our society. I also discovered that those who perpetuate this crime have some considerable reasons for engaging in it. It was heartbreaking when my abductors narrated their reasons to me. Most of them are victims of neglect, abuse and rejection. Therefore, they see crime as a reasonable means for survival regardless of the harm they inflict of others. I felt sorry for them even when I should have loathed them with passion for making me suffer undeservedly. Their revelations made me understand that we have lost it in our society. We no longer have that humanity in us. Everybody is against his neighbour. There is this feeling of fear, lack of trust, tribalism, sectionalism and ethnical bigotry. And unless we rediscover our humanity and make it our value, this will continue.”

While introducting the book, Mr. Babasola Feibo, described it as one that “change perspectives, reconsider the paradigm of abduction and an effective too on how best to solve the problem and help victims that have gone through the ordeal. It is a story of obedience, of breaking the silence of abduction in society. Folarin has decided to break the trend and present in a comprehensive expression the evils of abduction and other criminal activities in society.”

Also, another author, Yinka Ogunnubi, while delivering his keynote, described kidnapping as a “business activity that is aimed at satisfying economic and political needs of the doers and their sponsors.”

Ogunnubi also pointed at the psychological effects of the evil act on the executors and the victims, noting, “Whenever a person undergoes a kidnap experience, he experiences more of psycho-social trauma than physical pain. The victim can only be cured by a lot of love and care from loved ones. The kidnapper too is a victim of the bondage of sin because he sees crime as the only option for survival.”

Similarly, Presidential aspirant of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Dr. John Dara, while unveiling the book, lamented the drop of traditional moral values in present-day society, arguing that only credible leadership could purge the evils of kidnapping out of the country: “There is need for us to consciously settle for the best practices. Every citizen should hold morals in high esteem. We should make these invaluable virtues our watchdogs and form our life principles from them. Unfortunately, we live in a society where if you try to do the right thing consistently you are seen as being abnormal and you may end up being lonely.

“I believe that insecurity manifests in the form of abduction, human right abuse, rape and other damaging vices. Nobody feels secure in this country anymore. You are either affected by one of these evils or the other. Unless we address this issue holistically and systematically, we won’t get our desired result. We need a leadership that can connect everybody and establish harmony and hope among us. But what do we see now? Corruption everywhere! Everything seems to be on the decline just because of bad leadership. To solve this problem, we must put the right people in power and things will fall in place.”

A major talking point of the event, which had former Commissioner for Urban and Regional Planning, Lagos State, Hon. Toyin Ayinde, intervening was the establishment of the Abduction Chronicles Platform, a brainwave of Folarin Banigbe, a community that will reach out to victims, who had had the harrowing experience of kidnapping.

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