How does one avoid becoming victims of cruel kidnappers and two-faced individuals like Evans in our society? Mr Chukwudubem Onwuamadike alias Evans was, until now, considered a typical gentleman by most people in his neighbourhood. He is married to a beautiful woman and is a father of five lovely children. To his neighbours, the Evans family was just a normal family.
But Evans, going by his own confessions, was never a normal person. Definitely not someone anybody would want as a neighbour. To be mild, this Evans with a gentle face, is a nightmare. A fantastically cruel man. Yet, not many people knew he was a danger to have around and certainly not his neighbours. They couldn’t have imagined what a shark he was.
Evans, unknown to people was the kingpin of a sophisticated syndicate responsible for many high profile kidnappings. And Evans was so successful at his evil business that he acquired palatial mansions, bought buildings in Nigeria and Ghana for himself and his family, and was flying to Dubai, South Africa and other countries for shopping.
He was living like a king, yet he was just a common vicious criminal. He was so ruthless; he could lock up a fellow man, who had not offended him in any way, for several months and threaten to kill him unless he was paid a huge ransom. And yes, he was collecting the ransoms in dollars, euros and naira, until he met his waterloo and was arrested by men of the Nigeria Police Force who had been on his trail for several months. The police had been following the tales and trails of Evans’ crimes from the Nigerian states of Anambra, Edo to Lagos before he was eventually arrested at his Magodo Estate mansion.
There are many lessons to be learnt from this Evans story. The first and foremost one is that the Nigerian police can really work and deliver on its mandate of policing and bursting crimes if and when they are properly equipped and motivated. A lot of times, this same policemen that trailed Evans and ensured he was halted in his vigorous pursuit of illicit wealth by kidnapping innocent Nigerians has been vilified by many Nigerians and branded incompetent.
However, while some of the criticisms of the police are necessary at times, they are often over the top and harsh. This operation on Evans has now revealed and confirmed that our policemen can indeed burst criminals like Evans with the right tools and proper motivation. So, we need to equip and motivate our policemen. Nigerians must also start giving information to police about people they suspect. This is because the policemen cannot work without information.
The second lesson is that the Nigerian nation need to reevaluate its value system and stop the wanton celebration of all sorts of characters who just happened to have found a way to make money. We need to honour integrity and good character more and begin to suspect those who suddenly made money and begin to mouth ‘it is God’s blessing.’ This craze for ‘money no matter what’ has become more pronounced because only those who made it, irrespective of how, are honoured and respected.
It is important also that we learn as individuals and citizens that security is everybody’s business and in fact each person is responsible first for his personal safety and security. Therefore, it is imperative for everyone to start taking necessary security measures to avoid been victims of kidnappers and robbers like Evans. We all need to be vigilant because many Evans are still roaming our streets looking for soft targets. The Yorubas have a saying that ‘A ki gbon bi eni ti on soni,’ meaning we may not be as wise as the person watching us. However, considering the spate and increasing incidence of kidnapping and other crimes in our society, this is the time to think better than the criminals in our midst and be a step ahead of them.
It is not about being paranoid, but we must begin to take serious precaution about our safety and security and be at alert. It is good to pray for God’s protection, but we must begin to do our bit by making our safety and security a fundamental factor in all our decisions. And then, God will bless our efforts and protect us from evil.