IMPLICATION AND CHALLENGES OF KIDNAPPING AND ECONOMIC CRIMES IN NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

Kidnapping and financial crimes are recurrent decimals in the Nigerian society, they are among the activities plaguing the development of Nigeria in many forms.

This research seeks to assess Implication and challenges of kidnapping and economic crimes in Nigeria; to find out the causes and effect of kidnapping in Nigeria Using primary data, the study found out that kidnapping has been taking place in Nigeria due to the activities of insurgent groups in the North, but it increased with the emergence of “Boko Haram” terrorism in the North-eastern Nigeria; financial crime is not strongly related to kidnapping, but they have indirect connection whereby political office holders abuse their powers by syphoning funds and engaging in money laundering; poverty is correlated with kidnapping in Nigeria; and there are multiple consequences of kidnapping, such as financial victimization, rape and even death of the victims. The study therefore suggested that for kidnapping to be eradicated in Nigeria, poverty and corruption must also be significantly reduced. The paper also suggested that terrorism and insurgency should be fought as they involved abductions of innocent people, females and children in particular; thus, for Nigeria to address the kidnapping phenomenon, strategic security action should be onslaught against terrorism and financial crime, etc.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of study

Civil unrest, terror threats, endemic corruption and ongoing abductions of Nigerians, including the well-publicised kidnapping of school-girls by terrorist group Boko Haram, underscore the continuing challenges of combating modern slavery in Nigeria (The Global Slavery Index, 2014). Modern slavery takes place within the context of human trafficking and, sometimes begins with kidnapping. Yet, kidnapping is not a new phenomenon. Religious parables found in the Holy Bible and the Holy Qur’an about the sly abduction of Prophet Joseph (may peace be unto him) are indications that kidnapping is as old as human history. However, Tzanelli (2006) mentioned that the modern usage of the term ‘kidnapping’ dates back to 17th-century Britain where infants (‘kid’) of rich families have been ‘napped’ (caught in the sleep) for ransom.

The trend is on the increase all over the world, because the Global Slavery Index (2014) reported that throughout 2014, men, women and children continue to be kidnapped in village raids and held as slaves by militias in eastern DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). In April and May 2014, 267 women and girls suffered sexual violence by armed groups. In Nigeria, also, kidnapping is ongoing since the early 1990s (Hazen & Horner 2007). Kidnappings continue to contribute to a climate of insecurity in the South East, the Niger Delta and the South-western region. Hostages have most recently also been taken in the states of Northern Nigeria. Between 2008 and 2010, the Nigeria Police Force recorded 887 cases across the country (Action on Armed Violence, 2013). Kidnapping is taking place everywhere in Nigeria; it is a national problem that has eaten so deep into the fabric of the country (Dodo, 2010) but it takes place more in the moment of terrorism, insurgency and other forms of political violence. The kidnapping of 250 girls in a girls’ secondary school in Chibok, Borno State in 2014 and many more by Boko Haram represent the growing incidence of the kidnapping in Nigeria.

Hazen and Horner (2007) reported that some groups in the Niger Delta have used the kidnapping of international oil workers to raise international attention regarding the plight of those living in the Delta, the environmental damage caused by oil spills and the oil industry, and the demand for more local ownership of the extraction of natural resources. The use of this tactic has not been entirely political in nature, as there are reports of significant ransom payments, which have then been used to fund the activities of these groups further. In fact, the tactic has proven so lucrative that a number of criminal groups appear to have taken on the task in order simply to make money. Apart from generating money, kidnapping has other serious consequences on the victims and their relatives, as well as the State at large. This requires a systematic examination of the problem in order to identify its underlying factors and its devastating consequences for policy recommendations for tackling the problem in Nigeria and beyond.

It was Achebe (1983), who said that anyone who can say that corruption in Nigeria has not yet reached alarming proportion is either a fool, a crook, or else does not live in Nigeria. He further asserted that the situation has come to the extent that keeping an average Nigerian from being corrupt was like preventing a goat from eating yam. This monumental corrupt practice in Nigeria is very severe and devastating. The menace of corruption in Nigeria has certainly emerged as one of the main impediments to national development. Corruption in the country has caused the country severe losses economically, politically and socially, and these facts are responsible for decayed infrastructure, downturn of the economy, fragile political institution, and steady decline in all indicators of national development (Keeper, 2012). Agreeing with the foregoing assertion, Human Rights Watch (2007:40) stated that Nigeria has some of the worst socio-economic indicators in the world and the overall picture has not improved since the end of the military rule. Corruption midwifed by Nigerian leaders is a social malaise which has accounted for lack of vision and mission by government. Dike (2006), also opines that corruption brings a country no good. Corruption has eaten so deep into the fabric of our society, that no segment can claim immunity from its ugly effects, not even religious bodies. Corruption today is still a deadly disease in Nigeria, and many Nigerians are yet to be free from it. Corruption is found more especially in the government institutions; the executive, the legislature, judiciary, establishments such as the military, police, road safety corps etc and government bureaucracy. Various past and present Nigerian leaders have been indicted for being unashamedly corrupt (Agenda 20:2020). Consequently, corruption has become the biggest challenge militating against Nigeria’s democratization march, which has always shown its effects on Nigeria’s past and present fragile and fledgling democracy.