I have been thinking of the recent kidnap of Chief Olu Falae. Contrary to the initial claims of rescue by the Nigerian Police, Chief Falae has since disclosed that his family did pay a ransom of a few million naira before he was released, having to walk 15 kilometres from where the kidnappers dropped him off to Owo. I must commend the police for their diligence in showing up with an air-conditioned jeep as well as a cap and change of clothes for the Afenifere chieftain. Imagine if the police did not drive him from Owo to Akure. He might have been re-kidnapped or just collapsed from exhaustion. The police saved Falae. They all deserve bonuses.
However, I can’t help but think that perhaps if Chief Falae had prepared for a kidnap, it might not have been as stressful for him. I am therefore making a proposal that every person with kidnap value should take very serious. (If you don't have kidnap value you can stop reading this article and pray instead.) I am developing the Nigerian Kidnap Survival Kit (NKSK). This kit will be compact enough to carry on your person at all times.
The NKSK will be made up of the following:
1. Wear resistant, waterproof, temperature adjusting shoes.
We know that Chief Falae trekked for many kilometres. He must still be recovering from tiredness. Maybe he even has blisters on his feet. Certainly his shoes will be ruined. The shoes in my NKSK will be soft enough to cushion the effect of long hours of walking yet durable enough to withstand the elements. The shoes will also have a temperature control that can go cooler or warmer depending on the weather.
2. Jotter and pen.
Boredom may set in on those long walks to the kidnappers hideout. You may see interesting things along the way or hear interesting stories you would like to document. The kidnappers wont let you carry a camera or cell phone so the best you can do is have a jotter and pen. Sometimes the kidnappers may be really funny and you might need to record their jokes for when you write your memoirs in the future. You don't want to have to rely on your memory for that. You never know when your memory will fail you.
3. Cards and board games
Even kidnappers deserve some entertainment. Boredom can lead to frustration and to depression which in turn can trigger violent irrational behaviour in the kidnappers. You don't want them to start sending your body parts to your family members like they do in the mafia movies. Sometimes the difference between life and death can be winning a card game. I will have both cards and boards in the NKSK because there are two type of people in the world: card people and board-game people. If your kidnapper is a board game person then you can do that instead. Remember to allow the kidnapper win sometimes to keep him interested in the game.
4. Kidnap insurance
If the kidnappers know they will get their money, they are less likely to be aggressive. I will partner with an insurance company that will create cover in the event of a kidnapping. There will be photocopies of the insurance papers in the NKSK. Upon being kidnapped, the victim will immediately show these papers and assure the kidnapper that while their professionalism is not in doubt, they should take note of the availability of funds and not resort to senseless violence.
5. Phone numbers for the Nigerian police
Of course, after all is said and done, and the ransom has been paid, you need someone who will give you a lift from the far away hideout of the kidnappers to your home. You will also need a fresh change of clothes. The police have shown, especially in the case of Chief Falae that they are more than capable of doing this. Once the transfer has been made and the kidnappers have gone, you will call the police and hopefully, they will show up before new kidnappers come along and kidnap you again.
6. Mini plastic kettle
If you are like me who grew up in northern Nigeria, you will appreciate the importance of using water in the toilet. More hygienic. The thing is, it is likely that the kidnappers if they provide you with tissue will buy very cheap tissue - the type that will eventually leave you itchy or even wounded. You don't want this to happen and if you are going to suffer discomfort at the hands of your kidnappers, the least you can ask for is a clean bottom.
Ps. I also suggest that when you are kidnapped you ask the kidnappers if they use WhatsApp so you can plead with them to take a photo of you in captivity and WhatsApp it to your phone. The way the world is these days, if you say you were kidnapped and don't provide photo evidence someone will say you are lying. You need the photo for your memoirs. Kidnappers may be criminals but they are not heartless. They too will see the value of a photo like that.
A kidnapping properly handled can lead to a bestseller. Neither you nor the Nigerian police can do anything to prevent kidnapping in Nigeria. But you can prepare for it and use it to ultimately bless your hustle. It will be like surviving Ebola. There will be book deals, interviews, public speaking engagements, endorsements, nicer neighbours and relatives, a spike in the number of people interested in you sexually and many other benefits. But you have to stay alive. I will look into arranging for you to pre-order my NKSK against December when kidnappings will be on the rise. It will not be too expensive I assure you. Because I care.