Ladies best convention

Frequent acts of violent crime have grown to form a major threat to Nigeria’s national security. These include instances of militancy, insurgency and banditry. Banditry includes cattle rustling, armed robbery and kidnapping for ransom.

Kidnapping has remained the most virulent form of banditry in Nigeria. It has become the most pervasive and intractable violent crime in the country.

Kidnapping can be targeted at individuals or at groups. School children have been kidnapped in groups in various parts of Nigeria. Usually, the prime targets of kidnapping for ransom are those considered to be wealthy enough to pay a fee in exchange for being freed.

Nigeria has one of the world’s highest rates of kidnap-for-ransom cases.

Kidnapping is the unlawful detention of a person through the use of force, threats, fraud or enticement. The purpose is an illicit gain, economic or material, in exchange for liberation. It may also be used to pressure someone into doing something—or not doing something.

Nigeria has one of the world’s highest rates of kidnap-for-ransom cases. Other countries high up on the list included Venezuela, Mexico, Yemen, Syria, the Philippines, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Thousands of Nigerians have been kidnapped for ransom and other purposes over the years. Kidnapping has prevailed in spite of measures put in place by the government. The Nigerian police’s anti-kidnapping squad, introduced in the 2000s, has endeavored to stem the menace. But this been to no avail, mainly due to a lack of manpower and poor logistics.

In my view these efforts have also failed because of weak sanctioning and deterrence mechanisms. Kidnapping thrives in an environment that condones crime; where criminal opportunism and impunity prevail over and above deterrence.

This obviously calls for an urgent review of Nigeria’s current anti-kidnapping approach to make it more effective.

Opportunistic and organized bandits

Even prior to the advent of colonialism there were recorded cases of kidnap for rape, ritual or for other purposes in various parts of Nigeria. But kidnapping today is done primarily for ransom – either money or its material equivalent to be paid for someone’s release. The underlying logic of the kidnapping enterprise is that the victim is worth a ransom value and they or their proxy have the capacity to pay.

Kidnappers persist because the benefits of their crimes exceed the costs.

Each victim has a so-called “kidnap ransom value” which makes them an attractive target. This value is determined by a number of factors. These include the victim’s socio-economic or political status, family or corporate premium on the victim, the type of kidnappers involved, as well as the dynamics of ransom negotiation.

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