Friday, 17 August 2007

Obituary: Micheal Hill

Untenable criminality

No outrage can be better expressed than to condemn with the strongest words and the heaviest hand of the law the kidnapping/ransom vicious cycle that has become the norm in the Niger Delta Region in Nigeria.

News has been haemorrhaging out of the area and one cannot count the number of sons, daughters, mothers and relations of prominent people who have become pawns in the despicable activities of assumed activists for liberation who are just brigands, criminals, thieves and societal vermin.

Kidnaps are the norm

Just 5 weeks ago, these events reached a new low when the Anglo/Nigerian 3-year old daughter of long-term expatriate was captured at violent gunpoint from a seemingly benign school-run and held for 7 days.

My view was that the people involved should be hunted down and exterminated that rat poison on vermin would be considered more humane. I just could not see how any cause on earth regardless of the grievance could be justified by the kidnapping of a child – a madness had entered this scheme, no negotiation can be complete until these criminals see the searing edge of justice decapitate them with mob applause.

As they held the poor girl for 4 days, they were negotiating for the girl’s father to exchange places with his daughter, which he was quite willing to do, but better judgement prevailed against this, because it probably would have escalated into an untenable situation.

When the girl was released we all breathed a collective sigh of relief as the family refused to be intimidated by these activities or consider leaving Nigeria and kidnappings have continued without abatement.

The toll of the ordeal

Little could we know that these events had dealt an irreversible death knell on the family, the stress of knowing your daughter is in the hands of hoodlums who would do anything for money is hard enough and it appears that might have contributed to this sad event.

On August the 8th 2007, Michael Hill, 60, the father of the girl died of a heart attack which many would say was exacerbated by that rotten ordeal he had to go through a month before.

Michael Hill would be buried in Port Harcourt where he moved to 10 years ago for professional reasons as the Operations Director of Lone Star an US Oil company and ran a karaoke bar.

Saddened, really saddened

My heart goes out to Margaret Hill, his daughter and Oluchi his wife who must be inconsolable regarding this loss along with family over in County Durham that survives him.

Mr. Hill was one of the many expatriates who consciously took the decision to make Nigeria a liveable place by settling there and planting deep roots as locals are baling out for deteriorating circumstances – this episode becomes another blot on the security, safety and liveable index of adopting Nigeria as a home.

The government should do well to rid the Niger Delta Region and other cities of these untrammelled miscreants, it is a duty to all Nigerians and most especially those who have died just going about their lives but inadvertently ambassadors of what is good about Nigeria.

Rest in peace, Michael Hill and may Margaret and Oluchi receive strength and fortitude to bear the loss, more so, if there is anything that can be organised to help the family, I hope the company, the government and community are stepping forward.

References

Child in Niger Delta Kidnapping and Death Threat

Reasoning out the girl's kidnap

Margaret Hill - Home with parents

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