The civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Wednesday, criticized the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, for the unviable policies of the two bodies and their failures to stop kidnapping and ransom taking in the country.
HURIWA’s national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, criticized the communication minister, who on Tuesday said the government would take advantage of 5G technology to help security agencies curb insecurity.
The group said that Pantami put the lives of Nigerians at risk during the COVID-19 outbreak and made it mandatory for people to gather at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) offices to register the National Identification Number ( NIN). The minister had bragged that the NIN would help build a national database to curb kidnappings and ransoms.
Yet despite at least 95 million Nigerians having obtained their NIN, the Pantami Ministry of Communications has been unable to allow the arrest of kidnappers who use their phone numbers to contact the families of the victims to demand a millionaire rescue.
For the same part, Emefiele in Abuja bragged on Tuesday that newly redesigned naira notes and cash withdrawal limits have reduced kidnappings and ransoms. But he was flayed by HURIWA for not exposing the kidnappers through the Bank Verification Number (BVN), which is said to be a biometric capture of customers’ information, as many families of the victims have paid millions of Naira as ransom. to the bank accounts of the kidnappers and not a single one. of the kidnappers have been reported and arrested.
Onwubiko said: “The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami; and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, have started again with their false claims about the fight against insecurity. Nigerians can see for themselves that the alleged measures implemented by the two men are like going around in circles; movement without movement at best.
“The Pantami case is particularly painful. He forced millions of Nigerians amid the deadly risks of the Covid-19 pandemic to flock to NIMC offices to fight to register with NIN or lose their phone lines. After these fights with thousands of people apparently probably contracting Covid-19 as a result, the state of insecurity worsened with terrorists, kidnappers and mass murderers becoming more lethal and successfully negotiating ransom payments using their lines without getting caught.
“Indeed, since the noise about NIN registration began, kidnappings and dastardly attacks have intensified. On July 5, 2022, gunmen attacked the Kuje prison facility, freeing hundreds of inmates, including dozens of suspected Boko Haram members. To date, the suspects and their family members whose records are with the Nigerian Correctional Service have not been re-arrested or traced. Also, on March 28, 2022, insurgents attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train and kidnapped dozens of passengers. Surprisingly, the marauders contacted the families of the victims by phone and obtained millions of Naira as ransom, but Pantami and his agencies were unable to trace them using the NIN.
“In fact, no less than 53,418 Nigerians lost their lives at the hands of non-state actors between May 29, 2015 and October 15, 2022, according to Nigerian Security Tracker, a project of the US Council on Foreign Relations. America. .
“Nigerians should take note of leaders of allegedly questionable character and reject them in the next administration. It is unthinkable that Emefiele is being accused of alleged terrorist financing by the Department of State Services (DSS) and that Pantami is allegedly linked to Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
“Nigerians will not forget the complicity of President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime in the reprehensible and repressive hardships Nigerians face by failing to fire these two men when it mattered most. CBN’s argument that the redesigned naira notes were meant to stop vote buying is childish and laughable because the new notes distributed to deposit banks by CBN are bought by politicians running for political office and some even displayed millions of these new ones. naira notes on social media during their public political campaigns in their states.”