Kidnapping has become a big challenge in Nigeria. There is no day in Nigeria when we do not read on the pages of newspapers about cases of kidnapping.
Kidnapping refers to an action of abducting someone and holding them captive. It is one of the most serious criminal offences with which a person can be charged. Kidnapping began as a crime that involves forcibly abducting someone and holding them captive demanding for ransom.
There are many cases of kidnapping in Nigeria. Among those recorded are; the unforgettable kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls, where over 200 girls were abducted in Borno state on April 14, 2014.
The abduction of Dapchi schoolgirls which occurred four years after the Chibok schoolgirls were kidnaped.
Also, the Kankara schoolboys which occurred on December 11, 2020, where over 800 pupils from the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina state were abducted. Also, in July 2021, about 140 students were kidnapped from a Baptist High School for ransom in Kaduna. Also the kidnap of a commissioner’s wife and driver in Benue state on August 3, 2021. The kidnap of a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri, Reverend Father Elijah Juma Wada.
Moreover, in November 2020, nine students from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna state were kidnap along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway. The students were reportedly traveling to Lagos for a programme at the Nigerian French Language Village in Badagry, Lagos state when the incident occurred.
From my perspective, kidnapping can be curbed in Nigeria when there is good standard of living, provision of employment for the youths, stiffer penalties for culprits, good leadership at all level of government, promulgation of relevant laws and their enforcement, proper data of immigrants and foreign nomads in the country, and sound moral and religious teachings. These will help reduce the unfortunate act of kidnapping in Nigeria.
To combat kidnapping, government must first, ensure effective border control. Second, there should be provision of a reliable and unique identification number of each individual such as National ID card, driver’s license, and voter cards for tracking social benefits and other identification purposes.
Third, curbing corruption with and among Nigerian law enforcement agencies. If the corruption within and among the few Nigerian law enforcement agencies is tackled, the problem of kidnapping for ransom is half dealt with. This will in turn restore the confidence in Nigerians by feeding law enforcement agencies the necessary information to tackle kidnapping for ransom.
Fourth, creating a better relationship between the locals and Nigerian law enforcement agencies.
However, in relation to Nigeria’s present situation, the Nigerian government should establish dedicated community policing, therefore creating a better relationship with traditional leaders, religious leaders, youths, and other social organisations within communities in Nigeria. This will aid in curbing the problem of kidnapping in Nigeria as trust is been established between the community and with law enforcement being consistent and available when kidnapping incidents arise. The fifth solution is cutting off the logistics of kidnappers in Nigeria.
Mary Oluwatosin Afolabi,
Department of Mass communication, University of Maiduguri,
Maiduguri, Borno state