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The implication of kidnapping on socioeconomic development of Nigeria

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1.1 Background of the study

Nigerian nation has witnessed kidnapping phenomenon and its rate is increasingly alarming. Kidnapping and hostage taking in Nigeria has turned into a social problem which is affecting virtually every member of the Nigerian society in one way or the other. According to Uzorma and Nwanego (2014), kidnapping and hostage taking is among the terrorizing crimes in Nigeria which is mostly common in the southern part of the country (South-South, South-East and South-West). Practically, the duo entails abduction. Thus, it occurs when a person is abducted and taken from one place to another against their will, or a situation in which a person is confined to a controlled space without the confinement being from a legal authority. Consequently, when the transportation or confinement of the person is done for an unlawful purpose, such as for ransom or for the purpose of committing another crime, the act becomes criminal (Uzorma & Nwanegbo, 2014). Asuquo (2009) noted that the term “kidnapping” is difficult to define with precision, because it varies from State to State and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It is the forceful seizure, taking away and unlawful detention of a person against his/her will. It is a common law offence and the key part is that, it is an unwanted act on the part of the victim. It is a restriction of someone else’s liberty which violates the provision of freedom of movement as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, where every other law takes its cue from.

Historically, Turner (2008) opined that the phenomenon of kidnapping and hostage taking began in the Niger Delta region as a freedom fight by militants protesting the degradation of their environment by oil industrial activities. Demola (2011) argued that it soon turned into a money making avenue through kidnapping of expatriate oil workers for huge ransoms. Since then kidnapping has become a daily occurrence and it has spread throughout the South-South states of Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom and the South-East States of Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, Enugu and Anambra. The South-West has not been left out. Kidnapping is also common in Lagos and other Western States. Many Youths have taken to the business of kidnapping with some godfathers working behind the scene. Currently, the targets are no longer oil workers or foreigners alone; every Nigerian is now a target. In fact, the safety of persons in Nigeria and their property cannot be guaranteed owing to the near daily incidents of kidnapping.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Kidnapping and hostage taking has plagued the socio-economic development of southern Nigeria and has had spill-over effect on some jobless youths and graduates who see kidnapping and hostage taking as a lucrative alternative means of making money, acquiring economic power and getting social recognition. This has had adverse effect on the socioeconomic development of the southern Nigeria. The social life of people has been affected and there is mistrust among people due to incidence of kidnapping and also the image of the country in the global scene has been shattered as a result of this.

Inyang and Ubong (2013) classified the socio--economic effects of kidnapping as direct and indirect costs. Direct Cost of Kidnapping involves the economic value that individuals and government may lose to kidnappers, much money has been paid as ransom. The large sum of money spent as ransom payment could affect the state economy drastically. Many people kidnapped paid a lot of money as ransom. This situation affects both state and household economy. Some people usually go as far as borrowing to bail their relatives out from the hands of hoodlums. Inyang and Ubong (2013) pointed out that  when an indivual is kidnapped, mthe implication is always felt particularly within the family, whereby members of such families will have to feed themselves and adjust to their normal daily activities, until they secure the release of the victim. If the victim is a businessman or woman the business will suffer, if he is a civil servant or an artisan, his place of work will be affected adversely. In both cases there is going to be some setback. More, so, victims of kidnapping also suffer indirect cost from the incidents. Some of the victims are killed in the process of kidnapping, some sustain various levels of injuries like bullet wounds which may deform them forever. while many victims suffer various degrees of assault, abuse and torture in the hands of the kidnappers. Rape and severe traumatic pains from their experiences in the hands of the kidnappers. Although several studies has been condcuted on the effect of kidnapping on national security only few has been directed towards socioeconomic impact of this heinous act. Therefore it is against this backdrop that this study seeks to examine the implication of kidnapping on socioeconomic development of Nigeria.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The broad goal  of this study is to examine  the implication of kidnapping on socioeconomic development of Nigeria using Northern Nigeria as case study. Specifically, the study seeks to achieve the following precise goals:

i. To determine the prevalence rate of kidnapping in  Nothern Nigeria.

ii. To investigate determining factors propagating kidnapping activities in Norther Nigeria.

iii. To ascertain  the social and economic impact of Kidnapping in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

i. To what extent is  kidnapping prevalent in  Northern Nigeria.?

ii. What are the  factors propagating kidnapping activities in Norther Nigeria?

iii. What are the social  impact of Kidnapping in Nigeria?

iv. What are the economic implication of kidnapping in Nigeria

1.5 Significance of the study

The result of this study will be relevant to government, oilicy makrs and security operatives. It will raise the government's awareness of security flaws and the necessity to develop credible and implementable measures to stem the onslaught of attacks on the ordinary man and strengthen national security. More so, this research will educate security personnel in Nigeria on the need of being exposed (through periodic training) to internationally tenable best practices and know-how of counter-abduction methods in order to improve their operational efficiency in countering violent crimes, terrorism, armed robbery, and kidnapping. Furthermore, the study will add to the body of knowledge and as well serve a reference material for scholars and student who wishes to conduct future research on this topic.  

1.6 Scope of the study

The scope of this study borders on  the implication of kidnapping on socioeconomic development of Nigeria. The study will further discuss the prevalence of Kidnapping and as well reveal the determining factors propagating kidnapping. The study is however delimited to Northern Nigeria with preference to Kaduna State.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scantiness of literature on  the implication of kidnapping on socioeconomic development of Nigeria. Thus much time and organization was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection. Also the study is limited in period as the study covered only Northern Nigeria precisely Kaduna State l. Therefore findings of this study cannot be used for generalization for other regions or State  which  creates a  gap for further studies.

1.8 Definition of terms

Abduction: Abduction is an act of taking somebody away illegally, especially using force.

Kidnapping: Kidnapping is a  criminal offense consisting of the unlawful taking and carrying away of a person by force or fraud or the unlawful seizure and detention of a person against his will. 


Asuquo, M. E. (2009). The Upsurge of Kidnapping and Its Influence on Public Order in Akwa Ibom State. Unpublished Term Paper, Department of Sociology/Anthropology, University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom StateNigeria.

 Benjamin A, Bonaventure N.  and Okpan, Samuel O. (2018)  Socio-Economic Implication of Kidnapping and Hostage Taking in Southern Nigeria. Journal of Law and Judicial System Volume 1, Issue 1, 2018, PP 51-59

Demola, A. (2011, November 28). Confessions of Undergraduate Kidnappers. Newswatch News magazine. P. 12 – 21.

Inyang, J. D., & Ubong, E. A. (2013). The Social Problem of Kidnapping and Its Implications on the Socio-Economic Development of Nigeria: A Study of Uyo Metropolis. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences. Vol. 4 No. 6, 531-544. Published by MCSER-CEMAS-Sapienza University of Rome. E-ISSN 2039-2117 ISSN 2039-9340

Oyemwinmin, C., & Osazuwa, A. J. (2016). The Social-Economic Impediments to Kidnapping Eradication in Southern Nigeria . International Journal of Arts and Humanities (IJAH) Bahir Dar- Ethiopia Vol. 5(4), S/No 19, 202-213. ISSN: 2225-8590 (Print) ISSN 2227- 5452 (Online) DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/ ijah.v5i4.15

Uzorma, P.N., & Nwanegbo, B. J. (2014). Challenges of hostage-taking and kidnapping in the South eastern Nigeria. International Journal of Research in Humanities, Arts and Literature (IMPACT: IJRHAL) ISSN (E): 2321-8878; ISSN(P): 2347-4564 Vol. 2, 131-142.

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