• Tony Igele

Security in Benin River is Key to Tackling Kidnapping in Lagos

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 the west of coastal states in Nigeria is Delta, Edo, Lagos, Ogun and Ondo. It takes 45 minutes by speed boat from Gelegele Port in Benin City in Edo State through the Benin River to Epe in Lagos. 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.

For several months, the rampaging militants and kidnappers held sway, as they ambushed and killed security operatives who dared to enter the creeks. The establishment of Naval Bases on Benin River waterways which will drastically reduce the menace of kidnapping in Lagos and other parts of the west of coastal states. The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) should focus more on Benin River waterways that connect Delta, Ondo and Edo States. 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.

I want to call on the Lagos state government to tackle the challenge of kidnapping which is currently on the rise and Lagos State Government should contact Edo State Government, Ogun State Government, Ondo State Government and Delta State Government to find lasting solution to kidnapping in the west of coastal areas of Nigeria. The way to tackle the challenge is a pro-active and dynamic enforcement measure, with strong input from the state governments, the armed forces, the media and the citizenry. Government must take steps because of the frequent attacks on vessels, police stations, and seafarers by gunmen suspected to be pirates and militants on the Lagos waterways.

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