The American Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has given Nigeria the fourth position in its global ranking in Hostage taking and kidnapping.
The FBI did not disclose the three countries ahead of Nigeria in the ranking, but it explained that the cases of hostage taking across the world have been under-reported.
Speaking in Lagos at a lecture organized by the Hubert H Humbert Fellowship Program Alumni Annual lecture at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), an FBI agent, Ms Jennifer Dent, disclosed the ranking of Nigeria as number four in the world in hostage taking in Lagos, and also identified Nigeria as the greatest threat to cyber security in Africa.
Hostage taking in Nigeria assumed a frightening dimension in the wake of the militancy in the Niger Delta, leading to incessant kidnapping of expatriates working with oil firms and affluent Nigerians or their relations.
Commercial hostage takers kidnapping people later emerged and the scourge spread to the south-east.
According to local news agency, The Vanguard, Dent shared the story of how her experiences in Nigeria have been quite unlike any other, having worked in nine different African countries including Rwanda.
Posted to Nigeria in 2009, Dent recalled how her first Christmas vacation in the United States was rudely interrupted by a call with the unexpected news: A Nigerian youth, Farouk Abdulmutallab, had just attempted to detonate an explosive on board a Detroit, USA bound aircraft on Christmas day.
The FBI agent said the experience of the September 11, 2001 bombings of the World Trade Center in New York had people blaming the lack of cooperation of the various security agencies for the mishap. That consciousness, according to her, is therefore brought to bear upon the training provided to Nigerian security personnel by the FBI working in Nigeria. Fielding questions, Dent gave kudos to the EFCC, whom she said has been working tirelessly to improve Nigeria’s image.
Another United States Consulate official who spoke in a lecture entitled The Challenges of Law Enforcement in Nigeria: Taming the culture of Impunity, was its regional security officer, Brian Buchnam, whose previous international postings included Haiti, Iraq and Rwanda, where he worked with Dent.
Bucknam also shared his experiences while working in the police in the United States, saying working in the police department of a major city is “nothing like the movies in Hollywood”. He concluded, however, that nothing prepared him for the “Al Qaeda in Lagos”.
According to him, many officers join the police force with great passion only to have it diminished fifteen years down the line due to frustration. Furthermore, he expressed faith in the Nigeria Police, and enjoined fresh entrants to “Join the police for a higher purpose”.
“We have a lot of power. We can arrest people, we can kill people if it is justified, therefore we have to remember that with great power comes great responsibility… Character is what you do when no one is looking. Let it mean something if you make an oath. Police is a direct reflection of the community”.
He added that police in a modern society needs a lot of skills because their job requires them to wear a lot of hats in different situations, including those of a doctor and marriage counselor.
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