Sikiru Smith’s abduction and waterways security
Sir: Security in the waterways in South-South Nigeria will reduce kidnappings in the waterways of Lagos. It is 45 minutes journey by speedboat from Gelegele port, Edo State to Epe, Lagos State. The police should focus more on the waterways of Ondo, Edo and Delta states for the kidnapping of Air Vice Marshal Sikiru Smith (rtd).
Security of the waterways in these states is porous. South-South governors and South-West governors should cooperate to restore security to the waterways. For the country’s maritime environment to be conducive for business, its territorial waters must be devoid of criminals like pirates and kidnappers. As in land routes, insecurity in Nigerian waters and the entire Gulf of Guinea has been a festering wound.
As Air Vice Marshal Sikiru Smith (rtd) still languishes in captivity, efforts to rescue him are believed to been expanded to other parts of the South-West with the involvement of special police operatives in Ogun and Oyo states as well as operatives of Amotekun Corps.
The west of coastal areas of Nigeria has been in the limelight in recent times due to kidnap activities. The Benin River waterway is the major link to creeks in the west of coastal states in Nigeria, that is Delta, Edo, Lagos, Ogun and Ondo. Securing Benin River is key to solving the problem of kidnapping in Edo, Lagos, Delta, Ogun and Ondo states. For certain reasons, kidnapping is now the commercial activity that is concentrated in the west of coastal locations and inland locations all over the west of coastal areas. The main threat to Lagos and Ogun states are the creeks, where the militants are hiding now. “The Benin River is crucial in checking the activities of kidnappings and robberies because it is the major link to creeks between Delta, Lagos, Ogun, Edo and Ondo states. There is need for joint military task force for flushing out militants operating these creeks and there is need to make the area safe from the activities of criminals.’’
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command (WNC) should as a matter of urgency open up the Benin River to security agencies to tackle kidnapping in Lagos by establishing more Naval Bases on the Benin-Lagos river waterways which most kidnappers in Lagos use freely. I am seriously concerned about reports of the kidnapping of Nigerian citizens and foreign nationals in Lagos State in the last few months.
Lagos State government should tackle the challenge of kidnapping which is currently on the rise and they should liaise with Edo, Ogun, Ondo and Delta states governments for lasting solution.
Inwalomhe Donald, wrote via email@example.com