The origin of Kidnapping in Nigeria
Kidnapping in Nigeria can be traced to the year 2005 at the start of militancy in the Niger Delta region. These cases of kidnap were hardly for the purpose of making money or rituals as we find today. It was foreign workers in multinational oil companies located in the Niger delta who were often kidnapped. Militants in the Niger Delta region felt cheated by these companies because of the state of poverty that still pervaded the land as well as the damage that was done due to oil activities in spite of the huge money made by these companies. Other than this investigationhotline experience can prove pivotal to litigation cases as we have the necessary skills to deal with situations involving employee theft, money laundering, stolen property, sexual harassment claims, extortion, and many other sensitive topics.
The ransom for the release of the victims was often political negotiations with the oil companies. At these times, victims of kidnap were rarely killed This shows that kidnapping at the start was to serve as a means to an end, which is to extract money from the employers of the oil workers and also to further drive the cause of the militants.
Kidnap further graduated into a money-making ritual in other parts of the country. Kidnappers would use charms and drugs and any other means to lure their victims, mostly children to death.
However, the issue of kidnap has now grown to become a nation-wide problem. It has now become a threat to national security in terms of danger to all individuals and is no longer restricted to a particular group or sect. Targets of kidnap are males, females, young and old.
This money-making ritual form of kidnapping still exists and has now transformed into a means of making money through negotiating and coercing families of the victims to pay huge amounts of money. We are now forced to consider Kidnapping on its own as a critical crime in the country.
Causes of Kidnapping
Political dysfunction and corruption: At its very roots, kidnapping began majorly because of political dysfunctions, corruption and backward economic state of the people of the Niger delta region. It began as a means to express discontent with the happenings at the time and to settle a score with the government and oil companies. Even now, corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nigerian system at all levels, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. When the youths see just how much corruption goes on at political levels, they become desensitized and decide they also must do anything at whatever cost in order to get rich. Thus, kidnapping is seen as their only means to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.
Now, kidnapping is interwoven with other crimes in the country as well as social, economic and political development in the country. Political leaders now make use of thugs in order to carry out their selfish ambitions.
Poverty: Although militancy is still in the Niger Delta region, poverty is a widespread problem that racks all areas of the country. Widespread poverty and the high rate of unemployment can be seen as the major causes of kidnap. Those who perpetuate this crime are mostly unemployed people who do not see themselves in gainful employment and decide to use kidnapping as a means to survive.
The recessive state of the economy and infrastructures all over the country: This has also contributed to the increase of kidnapping in Nigeria. The poor state of infrastructures correlates with the poor standards of living and thus kidnapping serves as an excuse for criminals to escape from the poverty caused by a dysfunctional socioeconomic system.
Kidnapping has become a means of extracting money and unwarranted rewards from families, organizations, groups and even the nation when the machineries of the state are involved in rescue missions and negotiations.
Effects of Kidnapping
The effects of kidnapping are highly destructive, damaging and cannot be overemphasized.
Psychological trauma for victims as well as their families: During kidnap operations, victims are held hostage for a time which all depends on how quick negotiations are made and ransom paid. Pending the payment of the ransom, victims are denied freedom of movements and are held in fear. Many are denied food or good nutrition, sometimes threatened and denied contact and communication with anyone. Often times, survivors of kidnap suffer post-traumatic disorders having seen how their lives could be lost in an instant if the ransom was not paid or the terms of the kidnappers were not met.
Kidnapping discourages tourism and the foreign direct investments needed for the growth of the Nigerian economy
How to eradicate kidnapping in Nigeria
Enforcement of more severe punishment: The thriving of kidnap shows that the laws and legal penalties against kidnapping as a crime against the State are not severe enough to deter its perpetrators. The state needs to take up more severe actions and penalties against those who perpetrate this crime. These actions include the length of time taken for criminal cases to be settled in court. The law must be effective enough to punish criminals. The crime of kidnapping should be placed in the same category as Boko Haram insurgency and terrorism. Kidnapping is an infringement on the freedom of people to live and move and it should be treated with more severity.
Reform of the legal and judicial system: This is in order to ensure there is strict compliance with the relevant laws relating to kidnapping and those who support or encourage it.
Review of the prison-correctional system in Nigeria: If the prison system were really efficient and correctional in nature, we would have reduced cases of kidnapping.
Job creation and wealth creation: If more employment opportunities were created and provided for the people, many will abstain from crime. This will also raise the standards of living and bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.
Corruption: Corruption is one of the major causes of kidnapping. Corruption among political figures can be reduced by providing adequate punishment for the guilty. This will serve as a deterrent to those in political positions who always think they can get away with this evil
Reformation of the political system: The political system should be reformed in order to allow for saner ways of politicizing through active participation of the youths as voices to be heard and not thugs for political crimes.