Banditry and kidnapping; A Major Concern in Nigeria.

Photo by Ayanfe Olarinde on Unsplash

Nigeria, the so-called giant of Africa, has turned into a lawless country where miscreant, hooligans, theft, kidnapping, terrorism, and banditry has become a norm of the day. Nigerians wake up with the fear of the unknown due to security forces' incompetence and top government officials representing the ordinary Nigerian at the top helm.

Our primary focus in this article is banditry and kidnapping in Nigeria.

The word bandit means a robber or outlaw belonging to a gang and typically operating in an isolated or lawless area while Banditry is a type of organized crime committed by outlaws typically involving the threat or use of violence. A person who engages in banditry is known as a bandit and primarily commits crimes such as kidnapping, extortion, robbery, and murder, either as an individual or in groups.

Banditry has been existing as far back 2010s in the northern part of Nigeria like Plateau, Niger, Zamfara, Kebbi, Kwara, Sokoto, but the sudden rise and increase again in the last two years not only in the Northern part but also in some south-western states has been a significant concern. About 21 million people living in these states have been exposed to insecurity from the activities of bandits. In fact, in the last decade, more than 8,000 people have been killed in the states of Kebbi, Sokoto, Niger, and Zamfara, according to the International Crisis Group. Their activities range from the sexual assault of women and girls to attacks on villages, robbery, kidnapping, and even murder of farmers on their farms and towns.

Kidnapping is the action of abducting someone against their will and holding them captive. It’s also a criminal offense consisting of the unlawful taking and carrying away of a person by force or the unlawful seizure and detention of a person against his will. The principal motive behind kidnapping is extortion and ransom.

Kidnapping for ransom is widespread in Nigeria, with victims forced to pay between $20 and $200,000 for their freedom. It has also been a major source of serious extortion from the government.

  • The Nigerian government paid eight hundred million naira to the bandits to free the 42 kagara students abducted in Niger State. Nigerian federal and state authorities always deny paying a ransom. Yet, they often do so.
  • Schoolboys and bandits involved in the Kankara abduction contradicted the official report that ransom was paid. Reports suggest the Katsina State government paid N30 million (about $76,000) to recover the schoolboys.

In December 2020, "bandits" kidnapped some three hundred schoolboys from a school in kankara, located in Katsina State.

This begs the question of what the security forces in Nigeria are doing and whether the government appears to have a strategy to stop these incidents.

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