From a week brimming with headlines, scandals, and the odd shit-smudging, Pulse.ng’s Joey Akan walks through them all, shedding extra light, analysis, and maybe, discovering the solution to world peace.
Last week was one of tears, uncertainty and deep agony for many Nigerians residing in Port Harcourt. Akas Baba, comical OAP at Wazobia FM, was kidnapped. Not only was he kidnapped, but was shot in the leg in front of his kids and wife, and taken away bleeding by some unknown men who have demanded that N10m be sitting sweetly in their account before he’ll breathe free air again.
It’s unexplainably harsh for that to be the fate of any man walking the earth, and to think that it was perpetrated while his family watched helplessly, and terrified, further leaves a sick feeling in my stomach.
Kidnapping in Nigeria, which gained prominence in Port Harcourt due to some political manipulations in bad faith, and the amount of expatriate workers prowling the streets, had spread into Akwa Ibom State, with rotund oil-dripping politicians feeling the edge of the brutality. The easterners, always on the lookout for any money-spinning racket, jumped on it, and kidnapped with impunity. They changed the rules of the game. The rich weren’t the only targets. But the middle class workers, and generally any mortal who they felt could string together N50k.
But a consolidated effort from the law enforcement agencies, and a great deal of community policing, fought the bandits into decline, and later, obscurity. But now, they are back…with a bang.
We totally comprehend that the basic drive for Akas Baba’s kidnapping was to milk his work firm, but asking for N10m is a bit of an overkill. Akas Baba is no business mogul. He is an OAP. He doesn’t sit on endless bundles of Naira notes while sniffing and huffing at other less privileged dudes in disdain. He is simply a hardworking voice on the radio who had found a way to be good enough for mass acceptance.
His job not only entertains the citizens of the Niger Delta, it goes way beyond that. Many a dying soul have heard that deep baritone friendly voice, dripping lines of concentrated pidgin English, and felt revived in spirit. Many reports exist about how his shows enlivens and enriches the dull moments of many. He spreads genuine happiness. Akas Baba saves lives.
To kidnap him is to commit a crime not against the law, but against the very fiber of goodness and balance upon which earth was founded. To kidnap him is to wrong the planet. And earth never forgives. The kidnappers might get the money they’ve felt it good to demand. Heck, they might even get a bit more. But with the money comes Karma, which will be swift and unmerciful in its execution of Nemesis.
In a wider context, this kidnap episode just throws extra light on the prevalent rot in the Nigerian society. A hardworking Nigerian has become food for other Nigerians. We live in a society where grace and goodness have been eroded by poverty and the desperate worship of money. Akas Baba’s kidnap is one of many daily kidnappings that Nigeria is internationally recognized for. It’s a tourist nightmare, and the scourge of the citizens.
There is so much that can be done for Akas Baba, and so little of which we can directly influence. Our urgent hope is that he receives medical attention for the bullet wound which he suffered during his abduction. While on the longer term, a skillful negotiator needs to be contracted, reduce the demanded ransom, and trust the kidnappers to operate in good faith, receive their money and let him go. Not take his life.
And don’t you dare entertain heroic ideas about our law enforcement agents tracking him down, storming his cell, and rescuing him. That might be a possibility, but this is Nigeria, not Jack Bauer’s ‘24’ series. We are grounded in cold reality, not creative scripting.
I, Joey Akan, I’m hoping for the best. Free Akas Baba…now!