Friday, 30 June 2017



Evans: Matters Arising


As Nigeria continues to reel with jubilation and apprehension at the arrest and detention of Evans recently. Alvan Ewuzie, here, makes salient points about what the development connotes. 


Evans
 
When security agencies, led by the Nigerian police in this instance, tracked down and got big-time kidnapper, Chukwudi Dumeme Onwuamadike, aka Evans, they heaved a sigh of relief. They were so thrilled by his arrest that a video of their dancing on the streets in highbrow Magodo, Lagos, where he was tracked and arrested went viral. Again, Nigeria’s star cop, DCP Abba Kyari, stood up to be counted. He confessed that getting Evans ranks among one of the hardest nuts he has cracked. Some people have already began to refer to the Geography graduate from the  University of Maiduguri as the future Inspector-General of Police.
 
It would indeed be a well-deserved elevation and criminals would know that it can no longer be business as usual. I have observed with stifled laughter the slant and tribal sentiments the arrest has elicited. The tendency has been to tar a people with the same brush as the notorious kidnapper, who has rightly been dubbed a billionaire. Going by his confession that he had collected a million dollars on more than one occasion from his victims, the billionaire tag cannot be far from the truth. One of the matters arising from the issue is the  erroneous impression that kidnapping is domiciled in a particular part of the country.
 
If we trace the recent history of kidnapping, we would locate the origins in the Niger Delta area, where the boys who agitated against unfair treatment of being the starving goose laying the golden egg for the nation kidnapped expatriate oil workers for ransom. In many instances, the state governments negotiated with the boys and paid huge sums to get the kidnapped people off the hook. The late President Umaru Yar’Adua came with the novel and peace-bearing amnesty programme and the boys became engaged in ventures that have seen them dropping their AK-47 guns for books and skill acquisition.
 
There is no disputing that the ‘business’ of kidnapping relocated from the oil wells to nearby states in eastern Nigeria. The sophistication and ruthlessness brought into the business by such people as ‘Osikankwu’, who terrorised Abia State, Vampire, whose location was Imo, and now the most sophisticated, richest and smartest of them all, Evans, whose operations traversed Rivers, Anambra and Lagos states, kidnapping assumed wider and worrisome dimensions.
 
Lately, the evil business has spread to the Abuja-Kaduna road, where the police recently nabbed a gang straddling that route. The cancer has spread and thus become a major security challenge, which may be why the Lagos State commissioner of police, in his excitement, declared that the arrest of Evans was the beginning of the end of kidnapping in the state. I can understand his excitement, given that Evans had been on the wanted list for years. The police and other security agents must be on the alert for it is patently false to think that the evil business has been nipped with the arrest of Evans. In times past, the arrest and execution of a rather notorious robber, the self-styled Dr. Oyenusi, in Lagos more three two decades ago, did not mark an end to the menace, neither did the arrest and execution of Lawrence Anini in Benin City stem the tide of robbery at the time. Anini and his partner in crime Osunbor, had their kind of sophistry in their time such that President Ibrahim Babangida gave the Inspector-General of Police at that time, Etim Inyang, I guess, an ultimatum to get Anini by all means. No one knew at the time that a high-ranking police officer was a vicarious member of the gang and supplied them guns and vital information. It was said that the robbers were eventually tracked and caught after a meeting was held inadvertently, behind the saboteur police officer, who would have told the criminals to escape at the last minute, a frequent occurrence that made people think that Anini was fortified with other powers. As the saying goes, the enemy was within, and we may yet get to know why Evans eluded arrest for years. The security people should not rest on their oars, for it may well be that saboteurs are in their midst, a situation that retards progress in the fight against crime.
 
The arrest of Evans may not mark the end of kidnapping but criminals must know that it is a matter of time before the long arm of the law catches up on them. The proceeds of crime taste like ashes in the mouth when the end comes, as it has for Evans, who now says he would rather die than face the shame now his portion. The deceit in the mind of criminals is that they are too smart and will keep eluding the law. It took over five years for Evans to meet his waterloo, which was inevitable. His presumed innocent wife and children would now live in psychological trauma and even stigma, a rather sad consequence for a family that knew nothing about what their breadwinner did to put food on the table. His children would forever live with the reality that their father was a criminal kingpin and it would hardly do their psyche any good. His gang may have been rounded up but there may well be escapees among them who may be hatching fresh evil and believe they are smarter than Evans in the evil deed. Time holds their end and their safest move would be to jettison the evil act.
 
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Written by Alvan Ewuzie/Sun News
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