Kidnapping in Nigeria: Analysis, Causes, Effects and Solutions
Kidnapping has kept Africa's largest country by population in the state of dilemma. Nigeria is a country where people see bad behaviour as means of making huge money. It a major problem experienced in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Kidnapping has causes, effects, and possible solutions.
In this write-up, to be dealt with is the kidnapping problem in Nigeria. It is backed up with proper research work. In addition, this topic can be used in project work of students.
Before writing further on this topic, let’s define kidnapping. What is kidnapping? Kidnapping according to Oxford Dictionary is abducting and holding anybody captive, typically to obtain the ransom. Though the definition given is to obtain ransom, some modern-day kidnappers have gone beyond that. Some people kidnap these days for the achievement of their evil motives like rituals. In this kind of kidnapping, the kidnappers are not ready to accept any material or monetary gain from anybody.
Also, kidnapping could be defined as the act of taking a person away illegally to an unknown destination, keeping such as a prisoner while demanding or attaching some conditions to the release of such individual especially monetary which is known as ransom (Levi Ugochukwu 2012).
Kidnapping in Nigeria is traceable to the activities of the militants in the Niger-Delta region of the country agitating against marginalization, underdevelopment of their areas even as the oil producers among other things (ibid).
Francis .A. Akwash in his work, The Psychological Impact of Kidnapping, stated, "kidnapping is one of the most psychologically damaging crimes of all. Victims typically take many years to heal from the psychological wounds inflicted upon them, and some never completely recover" (Francis 2016).
In an African country named Tanzania, we saw a kind of kidnapping took place in the country. According to the kidnapping incidence that happened in the country in the early months of the year 2015, some albinos in the country were kidnapped for ritual activities. This act of man inhumanity to man that took place in the country attracted a lot of reactions all over the world. In Tanzania, witches that work as local doctors make use of albinos in witchcraft. Albinism is a challenge in Tanzania.
In the past, the rich in Nigeria felt happy for the accumulation of wealth which made them move freely in the society. In the present time, the rich people are afraid to move freely without being guarded by security men due to the fear of kidnappers. Today in the country, the poor and the rich are both facing their individual challenges.
The members of the political class in the country are also afraid as those who have charms they use for protection find out that their charms are not enough to protect them from their hunters, the kidnappers. As corrupt politicians in the country are selfishly embezzling the money which is made to be used for the societal development, the kidnappers, on the other hand, are busy making plans on how to kidnap the politicians who embezzle the country’s treasury.
The most memorable kidnapping incidence in Nigeria was the one carried out by the religious insurgency group called Boko Haram in April 2014. This group of terrorists have been causing a great problem in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. On the night of 14–15 April 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria (Fox News 2014). Some other sources said the number of the female students is 219. Responsibility for the kidnappings was claimed by Boko Haram, an Islamic Jihadist and terrorist organization based in northeast Nigeria (Wikipedia 2015). Many countries of the world have aired their views and concern for the kidnapped girls including United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, and China. The wife of the former American President, Michelle Obama, showed her concern in the kidnapped girls through the campaign titled “Bring Back Our Girls”.
There have been reports of the rich and famous men and women in Nigeria who have been abducted by kidnappers. Reports from various news companies have shown that Pete Edochie, a popular Nigerian Nollywood actor, was once kidnapped by these hoodlums. Pete Edochie was abducted by kidnappers at Afor-Nkpor in the Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State (Nigeria Films.com 2009) on August 16, 2009.
Kenneth, who was the first runner-up of Mr Nigeria 2010, a Nollywood actor, was reported kidnapped on December 18, 2012, in Owerri, Imo state according to the report from Nigeria Films. The kidnappers demanded 100 Million naira before his release. In fact, members of the Nollywood industry of Nigeria have really experienced serious challenges from kidnappers.
Nkiru Sylvanus, another actress in the industry, was also kidnapped in the Imo state and the kidnappers demanded the same amount (100 Million naira) from the family of the woman.
Both the foreign and local businessmen in Nigeria have experienced the cruel treatments by kidnappers. Some foreigners who wanted to invest in the country after they heard the story of kidnappers in the country decided to quit instead of having their money hijacked by hungry kidnappers.
A British businessman who visited Nigeria was kidnapped in Lagos state when he drove out from the airport. This news was reported in The Telegram News report on July 19, 2013. A kidnapping incidence that took place in Kebi state has Fulani gunmen as the suspect. This was a kidnapping incidence that took place in the country in 2015 and was reported on Today Internet News on March 15, 2015. The name of the famous businessman according to the source is Alhaji Sambo.
Kidnapping cases in Lagos state, commercial city of the country, is on the rise.The Lagos Command of the Nigerian Police has disclosed that 246 persons were murdered and 51 kidnapping cases recorded in the state in 2016 (Vanguard News, 14 December 2016).
The disgusting thing about this incidence is that the perpetrator does not even respect the religiously ordained persons.On April 24, 2016, Reverend Father John Adeyi was kidnapped. Despite an outrage over his kidnapping both locally and internationally, Fr. Adeyi’s decomposed body was found in a bush at Odoba village in Otukpo area of Benue state. The kidnappers of the Catholic priest killed him in cold blood, despite receiving about N2 million from his family members (Daily Trust 2016).
Statistics show that the level of kidnapping activities in the country is not encouraging. Citizens of the country are advancing in it and think that it is the best and quickest way to make money. Nigeria accounted for 26 percent of kidnap and ransom incidents globally in the first half of 2013, a recent statistics released by NYA International, specialist crisis prevention, and response consultancy, indicated. In the data on the kidnapping incidence released by Risk Map Report in 2014 subtitled “Global Kidnapping hot-spots”, Nigeria is seen as the 5th among the countries that have experienced high kidnapping incidents in that year. Another risk consultancy firm, Control Risks, reported recently that 74 percent of kidnappings recorded in Africa in 2012 occurred in Nigeria (Daily Independence 2013). According to Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), Nigeria in the recent years is among the top ten countries with high kidnapping incidence globally.
The arrest of Evans: the news that shook Nigeria in 2017
In the year 2017, a notorious, intelligent and billionaire kidnapper was arrested in Lagos state of Nigeria by the Nigerian police force. The name of the kidnapper is given as Chukwudumebi Onwuamaegbu, but popularly known as Evans. He has collected a lot of money as ransom from the victims and had made a lot of investments with them.
The news on the arrest of the criminal was everywhere in the month of June 2017 through media companies. It really brought joy to so many people in the country as one who has been terrorizing the country is captured.
Quoting Vanguard news, "There was tumultuous ovation and excitement, yesterday, at the Force Headquarters, Kam Salem House, Abuja, and the Police Command, Ikeja, Lagos, after news filtered that the notorious and most dreaded kidnap kingpin in the country, Evans, has been arrested by the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT, inside his bedroom, in the Magodo area of Lagos"(Vanguard 2017).
Among the persons kidnapped by Evans is James Uduji who was kidnapped close to his house at 7th Avenue, Festac Town, late last year, held for 6 six weeks and paid a ransom of $1M, and Chief Raymond Okoye – Odu-Na-Ichida. He was kidnapped in 2015 and paid $1M as ransom after being held captive for 2 months.
Causes of kidnapping in Nigeria
A person who is new in Nigeria or visiting this article for the first time from a foreign country will ask “what causes kidnapping in Nigeria”?. Causes of kidnapping in Nigeria have made many headlines of news publication companies in the country because of the nature of the incidence. In many schools in the country, this is included as part of the academic syllabus of primary, secondary and even tertiary institution students.
In a nutshell, causes of kidnapping in the Federal Republic of Nigeria are:
- Grievances; and
- The high quest for money.
Joblessness or unemployment is one of the root causes of kidnapping in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Nigeria has a very high unemployment rate. The Vanguard online news reported on May 19, 2014, that an estimate of 60 million Nigerians is unemployed.
Unemployment in the country is one the major reasons why many Nigerian youths picked kidnapping as the avenue to generate money which they will use to establish themselves in the society. It is one of the major challenges in Nigeria and the rate keeps increasing every day. Unemployment is a global problem but Nigeria is one the countries that have it in high rating.
Poverty is another factor that has been pushing many Nigerians into kidnapping business. A poor man needs money to keep life going and because of that can easily be convinced to venture into the field of kidnapping to make money and live above poverty line. A poor man is a hungry man and he needs resources to reduce and say no to his poverty challenge.
One report has it that there are rich people who have been into the business of kidnapping in the Eastern part of Nigeria where kidnapping is an everyday occurrence. The rich men who are into the business recruit the poor and made them get involved in the dirty business. When the relations of any who are held captive pay ransom, these poor men are given their own cut.
Corruption is another driver of kidnapping in Nigeria. In the year 2014, Nigeria ranked 136 out of 174 on the list of the surveyed nations alongside with Cameroon, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, and Russia. That is to say that Nigeria was the 38th most corrupt country in the world in 2014 according to Transparency international ranking.
In that year 2016 survey, Nigeria sat at number 136 on the table alongside with Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. This showed that Nigeria ranked 40th most corrupt nation in 2016.
The members of the political class in Nigeria are known for high embezzlement of the public fund for their individual or personal use. Because of the level of embezzlement being carried out by this class, some of the youths in the country are being compelled to kidnap members of the class to get some money from them through paying of ransom.
Another phase is that because corruption is high in the country, men see kidnapping in the country as a game and nothing bad. This concept adds to the increasing number of kidnapping in the country.
Embezzlement of the fund that is made for the development of the country hence giving the citizens of the country the opportunity to live a better life is bad. Because of this bad attitude of the members of the political class, things are made hard for the citizens of the country. This is because wealth is not evenly distributed through the development of the country. The suffering pushes the people into some bad activities like kidnapping and fraud.
Some men do not feel happy when they see others progressing in life. This is a major problem among the Igbo tribe of the country, Nigeria. Some men who are not doing well financially sometimes ask themselves questions on why the other person should progress more than them. When this category of people feels very bad about the progress of the other, the next is to make plans on how to bring down the other. This sometimes led to the kidnapping of the innocent man who does not know that the other is planning badly for him. The abducted in this kind of situation sometimes die in the hands of the kidnappers.
High quest for money
There are many Nigerians who want money be it by hook or crook. These persons can even kill for rituals to make money as quick as possible. They prefer to get this money today and die tomorrow. They have prosperity as their watchword. Whenever you engage them in a discussion, what you will be hearing from them is usually how to make quick money even through bloodshed.
The high quest for money has made many impatient Nigerian youths take kidnapping as “clean business”. On daily basis, what they have as their action plans are on the next person they are to kidnap for them to be paid ransom before the release of the victim.
Money is an important thing one needs to live well. But the way many people go about it is very wrong. Every living person that works hard and smart to make money in life will make it. Why staining our hands because we want to make it either by hook or crook? It is bad to do that because that may cause us pain tomorrow.
The effects of kidnapping in Nigeria
Kidnapping has robbed Nigerians many good opportunities. So many people have missed opportunities in the country because of the problem of kidnapping. Kidnapping in the country has paid many citizens badly. Among the effects of kidnapping in Nigeria are:
- Poor investment by foreign companies;
- Lack of trust; and
Poor investment by foreign companies
The problem of kidnapping in Nigeria has scared away many companies that would have invested in the country. During the kidnapping incidence that took place in the Niger Delta areas of the country, many foreigners who were working in those areas were abducted. Some who were not victims of that refused to work because of the experience their fellow had.
When foreign companies that wanted to invest in the country heard of the problem of kidnapping in the country, they prefer to invest in other countries that are risk-free instead of spending a lot of money as they are likely to receive the ugly visit from abductors in the country. These are companies that would have helped solve the national challenges, especially unemployment because these companies will employ Nigerians when established in the country. But because of kidnapping in the country, the country misses such opportunity.
Lack of trust
Nigerians are now losing trust in their fellow humans because of the effect of kidnapping in the country. Before the challenge became rampant in the country, the rich people gave out their phone numbers to people with their good minds because they believe they are one. Today in Nigeria, the rich find it difficult to do the same. The reason is because the person you want to give your phone number may be a kidnapper without your knowledge or linked to any of them. It is a big problem in the country today.
In business, businessmen and women do not open up to people again because the person you want to open up to might be a spy being sent by a group of kidnappers to come close and know the worth of your business to estimate the amount of ransom they will demand from you when kidnapped. Men who are seeking for information from their good hearts are not given authentic feedback because of lack of trust in the society.
What is fear? Fear according to Oxford English dictionary is an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm. Do we call the kidnapping in the Federal Republic of Nigeria a threat or pain? Kidnapping in Nigeria is a serious societal threat. The threat has made many Nigerian rich men hide when they move on the road. Some of them have decided not to move around in the day because of kidnappers.
Some that are not yet wealthy enough are making plans on how to employ policemen to guard them whenever they move around. Notwithstanding the fact that some rich and politicians are being guarded by security men, many of them still have fear in themselves.
Solutions to kidnapping in Nigeria
This subheading would have been better titled “possible solutions to kidnapping in Nigeria”. In this subheading, we will be dealing with the possible ways through which kidnapping in Nigeria can be reduced. Among the possible solutions are:
- Amendment of state and federal Laws;
- Employment generation; and
- Proper sensitization to the masses.
Amendment of the state and the federal Laws
The Law of every country is there to guide the people on what is right and the wrong to abstain from. On the other hand, Law can be amended when a new challenge comes up in any country or state. The amendment of the part of Law that will strictly address kidnapping in Nigeria will compel the kidnappers to stop such dirty business they have been into for years.
A notable example is the one amended by the Anambra State House of Assembly. Because every town in the state was being disturbed by kidnappers when the bad practice started newly, the members of the State House made a strict Law to address the social threat in the state. Part of the Law concerning it is that the property and belongings of anyone found as a kidnapper in the state will be destroyed (example buildings). Since the introduction of this Law, many buildings being owned by any detected to be a kidnapper in the state has been destroyed.
This should not be left for the government alone. All of us need to work together to close the gap between the rich and the poor in the country. If you are a rich man, employ your neighbor since you can help him out of that his unemployment state. When you do not employ him, he may be compelled to plan evil because that which you know you can do to help him you failed to.
On the other hand, political rulers should say no to embezzlement and map out plans on how to make the citizens secure employment. When the youths are busy with the work they do and get paid in return, the challenge of kidnapping in the country will be reduced.
Proper sensitization of the masses
This is another bold step that the government of Nigeria needs to take to reduce kidnapping in the country. The masses should be sensitized on the punishment that awaits any who is caught through kidnapping. The citizens should be taught on the bad sides on kidnapping in the country through radio, televisions, community gathering and other channels. There is power in the spoken words and it is believed that a kidnapper can be changed through this channel.
Kidnapping is a global problem but that of Nigeria is now turning into a routine. The Western countries are known with kidnapping but today, we practice it more than them. Covered in this piece of the write-up are kidnapping in Nigeria as related to its notable occurrences and statistics, causes, effects, and solutions.
- Ronald Mutum (2016), Five recent high-profile kidnappings in Nigeria, Daily Trust news report, Nigeria
- Daily Independence (2013), Nigeria accounts for 26% kidnaps Globally, retrieved 21st April 2015
- Emmanuel Nnadozie (2017), How a Notorious Kidnapper, Evans was Caught like a Chicken. Vanguard News publication 2017
- Fox News (2014), Nigeria says 219 girls in Boko Haram kidnapping still missing, retrieved 19th April 2015
- Francis .A. Akwash (2016), The Psychological Impact of Kidnapping, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nigeria
- Levi Ugochukwu (2012), The Causes, Effects and Remedies to Kidnapping, National Daily Publication, Lagos State, Nigeria
- Nigeria Films.com (2009), Breaking News: Pete Edochie Kidnapped retrieved 19th April 2015
- The Telegram, British Man Kidnapped in Nigeria, retrieved 20th April 2015.
- Transparency International (2014), 2014 Corruption Perception Index, retrieved 22nd April 2015
- Uzochukwu Mike (2015), Kidnapping: Overview, Causes, Effects, and Solutions, retrieved 25th April 2015
- Wikipedia (2015), Chibok Schoolgirls Kidnapping, retrieved 19th April 2015.