Kidnapping And Insecurity In Nigeria (analysis And The Way Forward)

This essay clarifies and analyzes the issue of Kidnapping and Insecurity in Nigeria and the possible way out.

Kidnapping and insecurity are some major problems Nigeria is battling with. Kidnapping is the crime of taking a person against their will, sometimes for ransom. Kidnapping and insecurity in the country are so paramount that on every blessed day, there must be cases accounted for these issues. There have been numerous cases of kidnapping in the country; notable cases are; the Chibok girl’s abduction of 2013, Dapchi school abduction, kankara government college abduction, Greenfield student abduction, and so many others. The first act of kidnapping in Nigeria started in 2006 when the militant of the Niger Delta took total hostage to protest the inequality in the region. According to the militant, Nigeria is built at the expense of the region, which serves as a ‘’cash cow’’ for the whole country, but the government neglected the region in terms of socio-infrastructural development. Therefore, they started kidnapping government officials as a form of protest, but in an anomic way.

These problems are becoming worrisome and alarming. People can no longer walk a 2 km road without being kidnapped, and these kidnappers demand a huge ransom that the victim and his/her family can’t afford unless government intervention. Kidnapping and insecurity must be dealt with, with impelling alacrity because people are dying every day, which the government is aware of, but doesn’t really care about, which contradicts the section 14 subsection 2(b) of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria, which state that, ‘’the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’’.

It can be deduced that many factors contributed to the emergence of kidnapping and insecurity but not limited to; unemployment, abject poverty, political influence, terrorism, low adherence to the constitution concerning capital punishment, low level of education, and so many factors that contributed to the emergence of these problems. A concrete analysis will be done on these causes and how they can be curbed.

We all believe that Nigeria is a developing country. More schools, colleges, polytechnics, and universities were established to make the country self-sufficient in manpower, but this has led to graduates' unemployment because the vacancies are limited to the number of manpower. It’s this unemployment that makes youth venture into the kidnapping business causing insecurity in Nigeria due to frustration and overthinking. That’s why today, many of those caught in this business are kidnappers.

Furthermore, there is a saying that, ‘’all fingers are not equal’’; another main reason why some people ventured into the kidnapping business, which makes the country unsecure, is abject poverty. Many people ventured into kidnapping because of poverty; imagine a family that doesn’t have any means of survival. Although the Federal government has tried to alleviate people from abject poverty in one way or another, this target has not been met. These programs include; the N-Power Scheme by the incumbent President of the Nigeria –Muhammadu Buhari; Babangida military administration introduced; the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), the Better Life Program for Rural women, also the Abacha administration introduced the Poverty Alleviation Program, more so, the Obasanjo civilian administration introduced the National Poverty Eradication Program (NAPEP), all these are social benefits techniques introduced to curtail anti-social behavior.

In line with what is stated above, there is a saying that, ‘’power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely’’; this is in line with the situation that there are some government officials who embezzled the fund allocated to these poverty alleviation programs, which makes the manifest and intended function of each poverty eradication program not to be met. So because of this, people ventured into the kidnapping business, causing insecurity in the country.

A low level of adherence to the constitution concerning capital punishment is also one of the causes of kidnapping and insecurity. There is a saying that ‘’the more corrupt the state, the more numerous law enacted’’, and this numerous laws won’t operate in such a state. For instance, if there is a law enacted that if any kidnapper is caught, such an individual would be killed or capital punishment will be given to such individual, and if such legislation is strictly adhered to, it has a long way in curbing kidnapping and insecurity in the form of deterrence. But the reverse is the case in Nigeria, laws are made, but the law enforcement agencies will don’t follow them strictly, which is against the idea of constitutionalism.

To buttress the above point, the president's veto power is also one of the causes of kidnapping and insecurity, i.e., the power of the president to overrule any decision, one of which is ‘’pardoning of convicts’’. There are many situations in Nigeria where kidnappers are caught, and they are pardoned because of their repentance. This shouldn’t be heard because these people are criminals and are supposed to face criminal proceedings protocols. An example of this situation is when some bandits in Katsina state surrendered themselves in the name of repentance and were pardoned. This supposes not to happen; why? Because ‘’ignorantia Lex Excuse’’-ignorant of the law is not an excuse. Since people who repented are pardoned, this serves to encourage and motivate people to venture into the kidnapping business since they can quickly make money through this business and surrender and be pardoned and acquitted in the sole name of ‘’repentance’’.

The low standard of education also contributed to the emergence of these problems in Nigeria; this is because people don’t have adequate education, which makes them ignorant, and they don’t have means of survival. So there is no way they won’t venture into kidnapping to eat, drink, and be satisfied. If the analysis is taken about people caught in kidnapping, it can be deduced that most of them are ignorant people who have low or no education.

There must be a stop to all these kidnappings and insecurities in Nigeria; the government has a role to play, the society has a role to play, and also individuals as members of the society have a role to play. Without these bodies playing their own part, the country will eventually be in chaos and anarchy, where law and order cease.

Government intervention is very important in curbing kidnapping and insecurity in Nigeria. The government should give a listening ear to the cases of kidnapping to avoid the death of victims. In doing this, the government should begin extracting strategies for curbing kidnapping in such areas, maybe by deploying soldiers, police, and all Nigerian Defense Corps. Doing this creates a kind of fear and threat to people who are into kidnapping, causing insecurity in the country. But the reverse is the case in Nigeria; because our government is such a dogman with dogmatic behavior, they do negotiate with kidnappers and bandits, paying huge ransoms rather than securing the social welfare of the people they control. What is the essence of establishing the Army, Air force, and Navy if that is the case? Isn’t it for the protection of the territorial integrity of the country? Nigerians need to wake up and think of helping Nigeria and not how Nigeria will help them but by doing so legally.

The government should also monitor and supervise the establishment of various empowering schemes because the aims and objectives of such programs are meant averagely, which makes non-beneficial be in abject poverty. Although the government has good intentions, there are bad eggs using such means for their enrichment. So government should supervise empowerment schemes after establishing them to question the questionable and the unquestionable. So, this goes a long way in curbing insecurity and kidnapping in Nigeria.

In addition, the constitution must be strictly adhered to concerning capital punishment. There must be a severe capital punishment for people caught in kidnapping; likewise, there must not be an unnecessary pardon of the convict by the state. This will go a long way in curbing these problems because it serves as a form of deterrence to the public and to those who have the intention of venturing into the illegal business, i.e., when punishment is imposed on the accused or the offender, it will deter such individual from committing the same act. On the other hand, it may serve as a deterring factor to the public from doing the same act.

Aforementioned the above, the president shouldn’t exercise veto power over capital offenses because the kidnapping act is treason and felony, which is against the law of the country- because it’s leading the country to a state of chaos and anarchy, which should be charged according to section 37 and 38 of the criminal code and section 412 of the penal code since the act is a breach to the country peace. Following these legislations, it has a long way toward curbing insecurity in Nigeria.

The society also can curb these problems by enlightening youth toward hardworking. Society can achieve this through the family as an agent of socialization. There is a saying that; ‘’charity begins at home’’; if the parent, as the head of the family, teaches their children morally, there is no way such a child can become a vagabond in society.

Individuals are not left behind in curbing kidnapping and insecurity in Nigeria. As individuals, we should be vigilant and conscious of what’s going on in our society. We should contact the law enforcement agency through their toll-free number; for example, the Federal Road Safety Corp toll-free number is 121. This will curb insecurity in our area and country in general.

In conclusion, the issue of kidnapping and insecurity in Nigeria is spreading like wide fire, so alarming and worrisome that it can be curbed and curtailed by the above-suggested ways.

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