KIDNAPPING IN NIGERIA: ISSUES AND SOLUTION
1.1 Background to the Study
Kidnapping has recently been a historic issue in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other parts of the world and good governments are doing as much as they can to ensure that the kidnappers are captured and punished. Kidnapping is abducting and holding anybody captive, typically to obtain a ransom. At times, kidnappers hold their captives longer in order to demand more from the relatives of their victim. The current situation in Nigeria could be likened to an inferno drawing both the old and the young; the rich and the poor; and the local and the international communities to itself. Some jobless youths now see kidnapping as a lucrative business they can venture to without minding the possible implications it has on the nation. This is evident in the recently nabbed criminal known as Evans (Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike) who is proved to be a billionaire in the kidnapping business. No one is safe anymore. Every day, tens of Nigerians are kidnapped for various reasons ranging from economic, political and personal grievances. Some are killed before they were rescued while others are rescued by their relatives after paying ransom. The first case of kidnapping for financial payments occurred between the year 1999 and 2000 when Niger Delta criminal gangs abducted expatriate oil workers and made demands for payment of huge ransom. Since then, the criminal business of kidnapping people for ransom has become a nationwide occurrence. The act can be traced back to the series of foreign oil and construction workers as well as the series of attacks on the oil facilities by militants in the Niger –Delta region of Nigeria. Since the beginning of this criminal act, kidnapping, Nigeria has recorded huge losses in crude oil. This has made many Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to spring up in Nigeria. One of such is ‘Erukaye Hope’, a non-governmental organization based in Delta State. Many have and are still making effort to obstruct this criminal business.
Kidnapping is all over Nigeria. It is a national problem that has eaten so deep into the tissues of the nation. It is a problem that must be tackled nationally. Kidnapping is growing daily in Nigeria. This criminal commerce paints an ugly picture of the already battered image of Nigeria. This kidnapping racket has become incurable disease. Kidnapping has become a life threatening ailment. For example, one can arguably say that there is no month in Nigeria when we do not read on the pages of newspapers about cases of kidnapping. Nigerians who are involved in this ugly business find it difficult to quit. Kidnappers now see kidnapping as a business that can never be stopped by any government in Nigeria. This is because the government of Nigeria is yet to take a bold step to find a lasting solution to this barbaric act. Once the government comes with a stiff action against the kidnappers, the idea of seeing the trade as a type coated with much profit would be a forgotten trade.