Daily Trust (Abuja)

2 November 2008

Nigeria: FG to Clamp Down On Kidnappers

The Federal Government has vowed to deal ruthlessly with anyone or group of people caught in the act of kidnapping innocent citizens in the country.

The Vice President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, gave the warning in Lagos, while delivering a paper entitled, "The Niger Delta: A Future Assured" as part of activities to mark the 65th anniversary of the Island Club of Lagos.

He said the Federal Government had already commenced the process of putting in place a strong policy and relevant legislations to arrest the problem.

"We feel that so far, our laws are not hard enough to handle such cases and very soon government will come up with pronouncement that must stop this criminality," he said.

Jonathan said that the government was determined and committed to stop the spread of what he described as "commercial kidnapping".

"If we allow what is happening in the Niger Delta, Anambra and Abia States to cross to Lagos , then we are in trouble because Lagos State is very critical to us.

"Government is committed and we will soon come up with pronouncement on this, we must stop it," he said.

The Vice President reiterated the Federal Government's commitment in ensuring that the sound of gunfire in the Niger Delta would become a thing of the past.

He said that anger and frustration of the people would be brought under the control of hope and opportunity.

"The Niger Delta I want to show you is one in which after fifty years of oil, the promise of good governance and accountability is a welcome reality," he said.

He, however, stressed that government alone could not achieve an effective and long lasting resolution of the crises of underdevelopment in the Niger Delta.

Jonathan noted with delight "the already great signals from the states of the Niger Delta, regarding peace-building and peace-keeping".

"We must encourage those who have demonstrated courage in taking the hard decisions at difficult times regardless of politics," he said.

In his welcome address, the Chairman of the Island Club, Chief Olufemi Adeniyi-Williams, described the anniversary lecture topic as appropriate, noting that it was an issue that had been agitating the country.

He observed that the visit of the Vice President to the Club was in continuation of a tradition which started 65 years ago.

Adeniyi-Willians further stated that the Club had been providing a veritable Pan-Nigerian meeting point for the elite in the society.

He said that the club also served as a platform for notable pronouncements, consultation and agenda setting by government, the business elite and the diplomatic community.

In a message to the occasion, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said the state government would continue to collaborate with the club in ensuring rapid transformation of the State.

The governor, represented by the State Commissioner for Special Duty, Mr Tola Kasali, assured that the state government would continue to support the Club. (NAN)

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