Over the last few years, Nigerians have grown accustomed to an increase in kidnappings. Initially used by MEND militants as a tactic to terrorize foreigners working in the nations oil industry, kidnapping is increasingly used by some to make money quickly. Kidnappings have become a lucrative business with the taking of children such as Margaret Hill in 2007, foreigners that have lived in Nigeria and selflessly helped communities for decades, such as Dr. Robert Whittaker, and even defenseless senior citizens across the Eastern region. The most recent publicized kidnapping involved legendary Nollywood actor, Pete Edochie. Edochie played the role of Okonkwo in the series production of Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart'. While Edochie was released unharmed and allegedly without having to pay a ransom, what is clear is that kidnapping has gone beyond being a remote trend to become a constant part of Nigerian existence in certain parts of the country.
Yet, one thing is clear, the failure to react more forcefully to these actions is reflective of a larger issue. In general, Nigerians seem able to "roll with the punches" even when it makes little sense to do so. Despite the constant disrespect from 'leaders' who have historically plundered the nation's coffers, the people somehow accept that as normal and despite complaining and even acts against such corruption, things remain the same. This inability to collectively react to and stop truancy, be it from corrupt officials, violent militants or kidnappers and thieves who wield guns is a sign of passivity that if left unchecked will lead to the total destruction of the nation's social fabric.
Just because Nigerians have been considered "the happiest people on the earth" does not mean that they should be passive in the face of clear disrespect, corruption, truancy and violence. This reaction only emboldens those who peddle in creating insecurity across the country and allows a minority to hold the rest of the country hostage to their baneful whims. If Nigerians cannot react forcefully to the increasing spate of kidnappings then, what will it take for them to react to the greed and corruption that prevents progress? Although that question is yet to be answered, the continuing state of dissatisfaction amongst many Nigerians continues to increase and will likely force a resolution of this issue. One can only hope that this resolution, when it comes, is peaceful and long lasting.