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The Evolving Threat of Kidnapping for Ransom in Nigeria

  • Freedom Chukwudi Onuoha
  • James Okolie-Osemene
Chapter

Abstract

Ever since the 1980s, kidnapping perpetrated for different reasons remains a feature of the landscape of criminal victimisation in Nigeria. However, the menace of kidnapping for ransom (K4R) has become a serious threat to human security in Nigeria. Extant literature on K4R has largely explored the historical background, motives, impacts, and state responses to this growing security threat. What is missing, however, is a critical examination of the broad typologies of operation to deepen our understanding of how K4R is perpetrated by organised criminal gangs. This chapter, therefore, focuses on the evolving threat of K4R in Nigeria. It constructs four main typologies—routine, invasion, highway, and insider models—based on insights gleaned from the character and modus operandi of kidnapping gangs. Utilising a theoretical bridging framework that combines the lifestyle theory, routine activity theory, and economic theory of crime, the chapter argues that the escalation of K4R derives from, and reflects, the crisis of the Nigerian political economy. It further discusses the factors that underpinned the escalation of K4R. The chapter concludes that the upsurge in K4R seems to be overwhelming the Nigerian Police, necessitating the adoption of extra measures by the Nigerian government such as the registration of mobile phone users, adoption or amendment of anti-kidnapping legislation by some states to provide harsh punishment (death penalty), the deployment of military task force, and demolition of structures or buildings owned or used by kidnappers for their operations, among others. These and other measures have proven largely ineffective in addressing the menace. To this end, the chapter recommends, among others, government’s implementation of measures to drastically reduce poverty, create employment for the teeming youth, curb widespread corruption, and evolve a reliable national identification system, and the capacitation of security and law enforcement agencies through proper training and equipment.

Keywords

Kidnapping Human security Politics and economy 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Freedom Chukwudi Onuoha
    • 1
  • James Okolie-Osemene
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of NigeriaNsukkaNigeria
  2. 2.Department of International RelationsWellspring UniversityBenin CityNigeria

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