Kidnapping Crisis: Assessing the Magnitude in Nigeria

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The Prevalence of Kidnapping in Nigeria

Kidnapping is a criminal offense consisting of the unlawful taking and carrying away of a person by force or fraud, or the unlawful seizure and detention of a person against their will, oftentimes, for a ransom. Nigeria has one of the world’s highest rates of kidnap-for ransom cases. Its menace has led to the loss of tens of thousands of lives, and huge sums of money. The first notable case of kidnapping was recorded in 2006 in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria, where expatriates in the Oil & Gas sector were taken by militants who protested the inequality in oil profits shared and the poisoning of their lands and water bodies due to insistent and reckless oil spillage. Since then, kidnapping has seen a quick rise, spreading wildly across other regions of the country, from the South to the terrorist sects in the North. It has become a lucrative business for criminals especially since there has been no proper checks, mitigation and disciplinary procedures put in place by the Government, despite the creation of the Special Anti-Kidnapping Squad by the Police Force in early 2000s. The United Nations’ required standard for police protection per 500 people or 1,000 people within a space, is unattainable in Nigeria as the force is short on manpower and adequate intelligence. Kidnapping

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This has also been a serious deterrent to the fight against kidnapping in the country. Statistics show that from 20072013, Nigeria recorded 0.4 kidnapping incident per 100,000 people with a minimum of 0.2 kidnapping incident per 100,000 people in 2007 and a maximum of 0.5 kidnapping incident per 100,000 people in 2009.

The Numbers Behind Kidnapping Cases

In 2019, a total of 2957 cases of kidnappings were recorded Columbus CyberSOC Africa’s intelligence platform (Columbus) reveals that for the year 2019, a total of approximately 2957 kidnap cases were recorded. In the first quarter of 2019, analysis show that there were an estimate of 685 cases reported, approximately 57% of the cases occurring in Northern region (≈393). The Northwest region (Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi, Zamfara, Sokoto) ranks the highest in number of incidents (≈172) reported. A total of approximately 292 cases, 42.6% were reported in the Southern region, with the South-South (Akwa-Ibom, CrossRiver, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Edo) recording the largest number of incidents at an estimated value of 120. In the second quarter of the year, approximately 537 cases were recorded with the Southern region having 55.5% (≈298) of the cases while the Northern region had 44.5% (≈239) of the cases. Surprisingly, the North-central region (Niger, Benue, Nassarawa, Plateau, Kogi, Kwara) recorded the highest number of incidents (≈108) from the North. The third quarter saw the HIGHEST number of kidnap incidents of the year, approximately 1049 cases. Close to half of the total cases for year 2019 were recorded in this quarter. The North contributed an estimated value of 652; Northwest - an estimate of 251 cases, North Central - approximately 244 and the North East at an estimated value of 157. The Southern region recorded a total of approximately 397 incidents of kidnap; South-South with approximately 178, the highest. South-East, an estimate of 128 and South-West, an estimate of 91. October and November had a combined number of approximately 553 cases of kidnap reported. an estimated value of 303 from the North and an estimate of 250 from the South. Kidnapping continues to rage and wreak havoc across the country with no realistic or effective approach that will see to the reduction or end of this menace any time soon. 

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