25th May 2024
Crime & Investigation News

Nigeria Witnessed 735 Mass Kidnappings Since 2019 — Report

Nigeria Witnessed 735 Mass Kidnappings Since 2019 — Report

Nigeria has witnessed at least 735 mass abductions which can be defined as kidnappings of five or more people since the year 2019, according to a report released by SBM Intelligence.

These kidnappings have involved more than 15,398 victims with the year 2024 which is less than three months old alone having seen at least 68 mass abductions, averaging over one per day.

The report revealed that the victim count in 2024 alone exceeded the entirety of 2019 and 2020 combined.

“Kaduna State leads the pack with the most incidents (132) and victims (3,969), followed closely by Zamfara, then Katsina. These states share geographic proximity and a rise in banditry,” the report said.

It added that the motivations behind kidnappings vary by region and while Boko Haram splinter groups like ISWAP still operate, their focus has shifted.

The report said ISWAP’s territorial control allows for taxation, reducing reliance on mass abductions with the Abubakar Shekau faction, however, resorting to mass abductions for survival.

“In the Northwest, bandit gangs are said to be the primary culprits, targeting villages for unpaid levies and forced labour on bandit-controlled farms.”

According to the report, roadside abductions are also common, aiming for high ransoms from wealthier victims.

It further pointed out that although, large-scale kidnappings are less frequent in the South, they also occur in the region with highway kidnappings and occasional school bus abductions.

The report said youth gangs sometimes blur the line between cultism and kidnapping to complicate the kidnapping crisis.

“First is economic hardship. High inflation and a struggling economy push individuals towards desperate measures like kidnapping,” the report read.

“Second, Nigeria’s security architecture is weak as a result of which the country’s security apparatus suffers from internal sabotage and a lack of resources, making it difficult to combat kidnappings effectively.

“Third, there is the breakdown of trust which sees some state officials collaborating with kidnappers, further eroding public faith in institutions.”

According to the report, the persistence of the kidnap epidemic underscores the failure of the state to fulfil its primary obligation of ensuring the safety and security of its citizens.

Until meaningful action is taken to address the root causes of the problem, such as economic instability and institutional corruption, the report suggests that kidnapping will continue to plague Nigeria as a nation. (The Guardian)

•Families of abducted pupils gathering during the visit of Kaduna State Governor Uba Sani on March 7, 2024, after gunmen kidnapped more than 280 pupils from a school in Kuriga, Kaduna, northern Nigeria.

AFPTV/AFP VIA GETTY

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