Kidnapping and Abduction in Nigeria: Threat to National Security and Socioeconomic Development


Timothy Gwami Ishaya
Ubong Aniema James
Gadu Ezekiel


The phenomenon of kidnapping and abduction is on the increase on daily basis in Nigeria, and the increasing rate has become very worrisome and notorious in the ears of everyone to both the citizens and foreigners alike in Nigeria. In Nigeria, kidnapping is often done for ransom and it occurs mainly for economic and political reasons. Kidnapping and abduction involves taking away of a person or persons against the person's will, usually to hold the person in confinement without legal authority. Kidnapping started in the Niger Delta region in 1999, while kidnapping and abduction for ransom became prevalent as from 2006. It was strategically used to wage the resource control war against the Federal Government and the multi-national oil companies. The militants had justified their kidnapping and oil bunkering activities as a means of drumming-home the Niger Delta demands to the then recalcitrant Nigerian government. Today it is spreading like wild fire into all the six(6) geo-political zones (both southern and northern states of Nigeria). More than 95 percent of all kidnappings and abductions in Nigeria have occurred in the south-east and Niger Delta regions. However, with the implementation of the Amnesty Programme since 2009, there has been increase in cases of kidnapping and abduction instead of reducing. While the perpetrators now involve both members and non-members of armed groups, the victims also include expatriates and indigenes of the region depending on their economic worth as it is used as a means of livelihood and survival by people indulging in it in post-amnesty Niger Delta. Most of the hostages or victims are released unharmed after payment of ransom. Kidnapping and abduction for any reason is a crime against humanity, it reduces man into the semblance of an animal. It has created insecurity, threat to National Security and adverse effect on socioeconomic development in Nigeria. This paper examines the phenomenon of kidnapping and abduction in Nigeria with a view to underscore its threat to national security and socioeconomic development. This is against the backdrop of the rising incidence and prevalence of the crime in contemporary Nigeria. By way of qualitative analysis, predicated on secondary sources of data obtained from various books, journals, seminar papers, lectures, newspapers and magazines, the paper posits that kidnapping has been motivated and sustained by criminal quest for material accumulation. The paper adds that the situation has been compounded by the growing trend of criminal impunity in Nigeria wherefore the government's capacity to sanction and deter crime is abysmal. The paper observes that kidnapping portends dangerously for Nigeria's national security and socioeconomic in view of its untoward impacts and implications. This paper focuses on examining the act and issue of kidnapping from its earliest encounter, its nature, its causes, its effect on victims and the Nigerian society at large, and a closer look at the major social and economic factors responsible for kidnapping in Nigeria. The paper submits that crimes like kidnapping and abduction would continue to prevail in Nigeria until pragmatic measures are taken to deter their occurrence as well as penalize their commission. The paper argues that widespread increase in kidnapping and abduction in Nigeria can be traced to prevalence of poverty and unemployment, and it recommended massive job creation and reconsideration of the system of justice administration in the country as solutions to the problem of widespread kidnapping and abduction in Nigeria.