The Owo branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Ondo State has said governors’ security votes should be used to pay the ransom for kidnap victims.
Its Chairman, Tajudeen Ahmed, who addressed reporters ahead of the maiden edition of the branch’s maiden Law Week celebration, said if this modality is agreed upon, the governors would be alive to their responsibility of ensuring that residents of their states are secured.
“Security votes of governors should be used to pay ransom to kidnappers. The essence of security votes is to secure the people. But when the people are kidnapped, it should be used to secure the release of kidnap victims.
“A situation, where a poor salary earner is kidnapped, where do you want such to get the fund for payment of ransom? So, if governors used their security votes to pay ransom, we believe they will be more alive to their responsibility.”
The NBA chairman frowned at the spate of kidnappings and banditry in the country, saying the trends could be attributed to corruption.
Ahmed said: “The issue of corruption has aided kidnappings across the country. This has to do with bad and abandoned roads. There was a time we took a position on it and it was stemmed down. It led to the reduction of the crime on the Akure-Owo highway as well as the rehabilitation of Owo-Ikare road.
“Our verdict on war against the corruption is that it must be total and thorough; it must not be selective. When the governors went to Ibadan (Oyo State) for a security summit on how to tackle the invasion of bandits and herdsmen, our position was that the move was not the solution.
“The solution lies in putting an end to corruption. All our roads are impassable. That is why the roads are accommodating criminals.”
The Owo lawyers said they decided to dedicate the celebration to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) for what they called his “lofty and unforgettable contributions” to the branch and the state’s development.
They expressed the resolve to endorse the governor for a second term, saying: “If Akeredolu could lead the NBA in such a superlative form during his tenure, then we are convinced that he will lead Ondo State to stardom.
“We have that implicit belief and trust in him. That is why we gave him our support, even though we are not a political party.
“And, so far so good: he has been able to demonstrate that as a lawyer, there could be a difference than when others are leading. He has been able to justify the votes he got from the people of Ondo State during the last governorship election.“
“Even, we know that his party will give him a second term ticket. But as citizens of Ondo State, we know that he has been doing well and we want him to continue for a second term.”