Opinion

What would you do if your child was kidnapped?, By PJ in da house

Access Bank
What would you do if your child was kidnapped?

“God forbid bad thing!”

Amen to that.

But what would you really, do?

“I don’t even want to imagine it.”

Nobody wants to. We all say, “Tufiakwa, it will never happen to me… it is not my portion…” And I pray it won’t be but what of those it happened to? Did they ask for it?

Did the father, who was kidnapped and was joined by his own daughter in captivity plan this?

Did the parents of the Kagara students, the Chibok girls, Dapchi girls, the Greenfield university students, the Jangebe school pupils, the Kankara children, the Federal College of Forestry students, the ABU students, the…hundreds of people traveling the roads or simply being in their homes and snatched away, many times in broad daylight ask for it?

I’m not sure they asked for it nor wished it to be their portion.

Bad things happen to the best of us and we live in dangerously brutish times.

We live in a country where terrorists can go to the military environment and snatch students from their campuses with no fear of reprisal, no fear of being challenged. They would demand ransom and we pay.

What’s more, foreign media has began to describe kidnapping in Nigeria as an “industry” and why not even Sheik Gumi called it a “business” .

This is from a report on Aljazeera, “…experts agree that the growing instances of mass abductions of boys and girls in the region are an offshoot of a booming kidnapping-for-ransom criminal enterprise that has become one of Nigeria’s main security challenges. At least $18.34m was paid to kidnappers as ransom – mostly by families and the government – between June 2011 and March 2020…”

Hummn.

We have cried ourselves hoarse and yet, nothing seems to change. There is palpable fear all over the nation, even those who live in palaces are not spared.

So what would you really do to fight this growing concern?

You say, “Call the police.”

You’re joking, right? You didn’t hear of kidnappers telling families of victims not to call the police and the moment they did, the kidnappers notified their victims?

Who squealed on them?

You haven’t read of the recent negotiations being done by Sheik Gumi on behalf of the victims’ families and the bandits? Did you hear of any government’s presence?

Or you haven’t heard that even the government is a potential victim of this kidnap? Did you read that its Abuja’s turn to experience fear with reports of imminent terrorist attack in the news?  The National Assembly is said to be the target.

Reports say schools in Bwari had hurriedly been shut down last week following rumoured sighting of hordes of insurgents in nearby towns of Sabo Wuse; security has also been beefed up in the military barracks…I pray their strategy works because you see in this war against terrorism, even the military is a sitting duck.

So back to my question, what would you do, especially with a government lifting its hands heaven wards and chanting, “Me sef, I dey look for who go hep me.”

You should start talking to your children about what is going on.

Children as little as from age 5 and above; our children should begin to understand that our environment is very dangerous. They can’t play “anyhow”, they can’t go anywhere without letting people around them know; they can’t be at ease in school or at home and on the playground, they have to be on their guard.

This is being paranoid, you say…yeah, better paranoid than kidnapped.

Teach your children to memorise your phone number(s)

Teach them to be aware of their environment, many of these kids don’t know jack about their routes to and back from school, for instance; their heads are often buried in their devices. Tell them to look up and survey their environment, particularly when the so called familiar person is taking them through a different route; teach your children about landmarks.

Teach them to be sensitive and to be wary of strange faces, tell them these are likely suspects; tell them even familiar faces can be suspects because…of course you’ve read enough to understand where this stems from.

By Festus Iyorah
Teach your kids to scream for help when they suspect something is off! Create hostage situations and teach them, for instance, how important it is to remain deadly silent when hiding from people they suspect want to do them harm and run as fast as their little legs can carry them when all is clear.

Teach them to duck when they hear gunshots and general commotion and that not everyone in military uniform or police uniform is real and safe.

In the unlikely event they are kidnapped, you need to find the best person to negotiate with the kidnappers. We always say, ‘never negotiate with kidnappers,’ safe thing to say if your relative isn’t a victim.

You need all the help you can get; prayer wise, comfort wise, in every wise while that child is help captive, many parents lose it and never recover…even some victims never recover even after being set free but that isn’t what we’re talking about today.

According to a kidnap victim who escaped, teach them not to look their abductors in the eye if they are caught and teach them to eat whatever food is given…so as to keep their strength up…they may need to run!

Above all, teach them to pray.

Teach them to connect with God and pray even with their abductors watching.

Is this a manual for what to do in case of the unexpected?

No.

We need to pray, first…dear Lord, help us all.

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