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The study was set out with three objective to examine the various factors responsible for kidnapping in Nigeria, to determine the effect of kidnapping on national security and role of government in curbing the spread of the menace of kidnapping in Nigeria. The methodology used included the questionnaire as well as descriptive analysis of data presented. The study revealed that kidnapping has not only become a criminal phenomenon or an academic issue of discuss but also a major threat to national security. Kidnapping has been related in some countries to the crime of terrorism which shares a major threat to national security. Kidnapping in Nigeria, however considered new to the security or crime challenges to Nigeria, has taken a rather dramatic and worrisome position. This has been due to the dimension it took in its widespread in almost all the region of Nigeria. The causes of kidnapping in Nigeria have been grouped under economic and political factors. Economic in the sense of the low per capital income, poverty, unemployment to mention a few has been a major factor that has propelled the adoption kidnapping especially by youths. The political factors have been related to the political struggle for self for attainment and development of the Niger Delta region, as well as its adoption by political miscreants. In  To this end, there is the need to put in place some measures in order to achieve the essence of national security as well as well human development some of those measure as recommended in this study include the adoption of developmental project for the youth of the society including the full implication of MDG project. Another measure to this the creating of an enabling factor for self-employment of the youths of the country as well equipping in capacity and sophistication security personnel in to combat the kidnapping menace head on.




1.1     Background of the Study

All over the world societies have had to deal with criminality in various forms. Some of these forms of criminality have proved a great challenge to the society and stretched the debate on what crime is. The concept of crime has a long history in the civilization of man. Some religious communities see crime in the perspective of sin (Wikipedia Encyclopedia 2010).Some highlighted the issue of crime as sin in a mythological or legendary account of the origin of man. One of such is the Quran and Biblical records of the fall of man which tells the story of Adam and Eve’s eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden (King James Bible). There are disparities on the concept of crime with regards to people and places (Hulsman, 2000: 2).Nevertheless,when it bears its effect upon individuals and national security, it often becomes an issue of national concern. Some of these crimes have evolved through societal and legal processes giving some form of societal idiosyncrasies to some criminal acts.

One of such criminal act is kidnapping. Defining kidnapping poses a number of definitional problems in relations to a country’s legal and moral viewpoints as well as the availability of variances such as hostage taking and hijacking. However, in the context of this paper, Kidnapping in criminal law is an offence involving taking and conveying away a person against his or her will, either by force, fraud or intimidation (Wikipedia Encyclopesia, 2010). The issue of kidnapping however gained its early prominence in England when kids were abducted (EtymologyOnline, “Kidnap”). The word kidnapping thereby culminated from the phrase “kid nabbing” and was first recorded in the year 1673 (EtymologyOnline, “Kidnap”). Over the years, it has taken different forms with regard to the reason for carrying out such action by perpetrators.

Kidnapping is a global phenomenon which has been of great challenge to every government of affected countries. Some areas of concern to most government and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are the relationship of kidnapping to the issue of human trafficking and prostitution (SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking of Women and Chilren for Prostitution).  In recent times, the crime of kidnapping has been linked to political intents where victims are kidnapped to push forward a political statement (Cambodian Law of Kidnapping and Trafficking).It has also been related to the issue of terrorism which has threatened global security (Osaghae, 2007: 19-22). Another reason for kidnapping which has recently gained prominence in Nigeria is kidnapping for ransom. Each and every one of these reasons has in one way or the other threatened the national security of countries where such crime is perpetrated. Its resultant effects have been the proliferation of arms and the parting of large sums of money to kidnappers from victims. This has therefore been a major threat to national security of any nation.

As a matter of importance to the survival of any nation, the issue of national security becomes paramount in the policies of government. This is as a result of the fact that the survival of the political, economic, social and diplomatic sovereignty of any nation depends highly on the national security of that nation (Yun, Hostage Taking and Kidnapping in Terrorism). The concept of national security is wide with different definitions; as there is no universally accepted definition of national security. Chief  Olusegun Obasanjo defined National Security as “the aggregation of the security interests of all individuals, communities, ethnic groups, political entities and institutions which inhabits the territory of our great country Nigeria” (A Priority for U.S National Security and African Development).

A more comprehensive and all-emcompassing world-view definition of national security was made by President Barack Obama in the context of the US which can also be adopted by other nations. He defined national security as the security of the US, its citizens, partners and allies, a strong innovative and growing economy and an open international economic system that promotes opportunity and prosperity. He added that national security also encompass the respect for universal values at home and around the world and an international order that promotes peace, security, and opportunity through stronger cooperation to meet global challenges (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Assembly Resolution, 1976 ). The crime of kidnapping however threatens the very elements of this definition which is encompassed in national development which should therefore be of serious national concern.

In Nigeria, the crime of kidnapping gained prominence lately with the political strives of militants of the Niger Delta region of the South-South Nigeria (Barack, 2010). The kidnapping of expatriates in Nigeria threatens the very economic base of the nation which is oil exploration. To further push forward their political statement, the militants stepped up their criminal acts by kidnapping Nigerians of high political status or political figures. This eventually led to the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) taking decisive steps in checking the activities of militants which eventually resulted in the amnesty programme of the Late President Umar Yar Adua (Akpan, 2010). Unfortunately, the business of kidnapping spread to other areas of the country especially in the Eastern part of Nigeria and metamorphosed into a business mostly perpetrated by youths to make money.

Presently, the rate of kidnapping in Nigeria, in spite of the effort of police and other security agencies has been quite worrisome and poses a great challenge to the national security of the country. It has stalled business activities in some areas as well created fear in the minds of Nigerians.On the other hand, the perpetrators, who are mostly youths, are lost to such criminal activities instead of being gainfully employed as productive citizens for Nigeria’s development. The kidnapping of some journalists around Abia state was regarded as the height of the insensitivity of kidnappers (Egwemi, 2010).This has prompted the government of Nigeria to initiate strategies to check kidnapping in the country. The various states in Nigeria are initiating steps at establishing stringent laws to dissuade would-be kidnappers (Nigeria’s Latest Booming Business, AFP).  There is however the need for government to initiate more strategies to curb the menace of kidnapping which threatens the national security of Nigeria.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Kidnapping took a rather dramatic dimension in Nigeria recently with its spread to other areas of the country from the Niger Delta region. This has therefore posed a serious challenge to Nigeria’s national security. Its impact on the nation has been quite enormous as it affects the socio-economic cum political lives of average Nigerians.   This study in the quest of finding solution to the menace of kidnapping in Nigeria, seeks to answer the following question.

1.3 Research Questions

(1)     What are the factors that are responsible for the increase of kidnapping in Nigeria?

(2)     What are the effects of Kidnapping on Nigeria’s national security?

(3)     What are the roles of government in curbing the menace of kidnapping?

1.4     Objectives of the Study

The specific objectives of this study therefore are:

(1)     To examine the various factors responsible for kidnapping in Nigeria.

(2)     To determine the implications of kidnapping to Nigeria’s national security.

(3)     To determine the roles of government in curbing the menace of kidnapping.

1.5     Significance of the Study

The issue of kidnapping could be relatively new to Nigeria compared to other countries. This therefore poses a great challenge to the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in its combating of crime and maintaining national security. This paper therefore will be beneficial to the government of Nigeria in putting in place machineries to fight against this menace. It will also be beneficial to security agencies who are directly or indirectly involved incurbing the problem of kidnapping in the country. This study will also add to the existing literature and body of knowledge on the topical issue of kidnapping as it relates to the issue of national security especially in Nigeria. It will also be a reference material for subsequent research work.


1.6     Scope of the Study

This study covered the period between 2005 and 2010. This is the period when there was a significant increase in kidnapping cases in Nigeria. This period witnessed the increase of the active militant struggle in the Niger Delta region of South-South Nigeria. The period also covers the recent spate of kidnapping in several parts of which included the kidnapping of journalists and some children in Abia state amongst other states. Some Kidnapping cases in Nigeria from 2005-2010.

This study will therefore be restricted to reference materials on the issue of kidnapping as it relates to the concept of national security from 1999 to 2010. Referrals on the issue of national security will also be based upon materials within this period.

1.7     Limitations of the Study

This study is impaired by the challenge of few materials available for reference on the topic of kidnapping in Nigeria. This has only been a new topic of discuss in the academic setting. Some information which would have been relevant for this research work was not disclosed by security agents who were interviewed.


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