The Office of the Vice President has denied that he said, on his visit to the United States, that cases of kidnap in the country are exaggerated and not entirely new; but the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would just not let go.
The opposition party says the reckless dismissal of the alarming spate of kidnapping in the country by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo further confirms that the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration has no iota of concern towards the pain and suffering of Nigerians.
But in a statement, Osinbajo’s spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, released the authentic comments of his principal.
He quoted him as saying: “I really will urge that you don’t rely entirely for information on social media. I think that the social media tends to be hysterical about practically everything.
“I think there is also a lot of politics involved in some of the information as it comes up. I think it is also important to point out that this new wave of issues of security came immediately after the elections. And there is always a connection between this issue of security and elections because many times, politicians’ arm several of these individuals during the electioneering period, and immediately after an election cycle, many of them, having nothing to do and with arms all over the place, resort to the fastest way of making money which is to abduct somebody and ask for a ransom. And that is just one side of the problem.
“But let me dimension it so that you can really understand it better.
“When people say there is security problem here and there, it is not one thing, it is several different things but if it is described as one thing then it will look bigger than it really is. And I am deeply worried about the fact that we might find ourselves unable to resolve these problems unless we drill down to see what the problems are.”
“With respect to general kidnapping which we have seen in certain parts of the country, again this is not entirely new. When you listen to some of the stories, some of them are simply not true anyway. Some are fueled by politics, but there are cases of kidnapping, there is no question at all about that….and every story we try to track and trace. When you track them, you find out that people just tell some stories, but the truth anyway is that there is kidnapping in places where it has taken place. The way to check it is the work we are doing with State governments namely using technology to track cases. These are economic crimes; if people know that they will be caught, and they will not be allowed to get away with their loot, it will stop in the places where it is taking place. That is really the work we are doing with the State governments. We are doing this in the various zones where we see that there are a rash of incidents. We are trying to put in place trackers and all sorts of other equipment that can be used to locate these criminals.
“I am not so sure how many follow the number of arrests that have been made in different state police commands, several have been made. I don’t think the problem is as massive as that, I think we can deal with the question of kidnapping quite easily. I am sure that not so long a time, the news will be a lot better in terms of kidnapping and we will feel more comfortable about life at home.”
But the PDP says by attempting to play down on the menace as not being “as massive as that”, Prof. Osinbajo clearly demonstrates that the APC and its government are not connected with the people but only pretends towards them during electioneering.
In dismissing the security problem, the Vice President is simply telling victims of kidnapping that as far as the APC and its administration are concerned, they have not suffered enough.
The PDP, in its statement on Wednesday, says that the anti-people disposition, come from what it described as an uncaring and insensitive administration that does not have the mandate of the people.
It adds, “It is therefore unfortunate that instead of being remorseful and seeking solutions, Prof. Osinbajo is rather playing on the sensibility of Nigerians by attempting to justify his comment, which has been widely condemned by citizens from all walks of life.
“Prof. Osinbajo has only succeeded in showcasing President Buhari’s incompetence and failure in securing the nation. He has also ridiculed his office in the eye of the international community, who is well aware of the gravity of kidnapping and other security challenges confronting our nation.
“What has Prof. Osinbajo said to the families whose breadwinners have been killed by kidnappers and many more who are still languishing in kidnappers den?
“When will the problem of kidnapping become “massive” for the APC administration when medical doctors, community heads, faith-based leaders, government officials and their relations, students, innocent school children, pregnant women and even expatriates are being kidnapped in various parts of the country?
“While our party and indeed millions of Nigerians appreciate the efforts by our security operatives in fighting this menace, despite the operational challenges imposed on them by the incompetent APC administration, the PDP insists that President Buhari must bear the blame for the persistence of the security problems.
“This is the reason Nigerians, at the 2019 general election, preferred a more capable and patriotic leader in Atiku Abubakar, who had already set out an operable blueprint to frontally confront and address the security challenges facing our nation without resorting to unnecessary blame game”.