Ransom of 650 million naira to the kidnappers

A new report has revealed that Nigerians paid 653.7 million naira ($1.2 million) in ransom to bandits and kidnappers between July 2021 and June 2022, a period of one year, for the release of their loved ones held in captivity. The report also revealed that 6.531 billion naira ($9.9 million) was demanded as ransom during the year under review.

He noted that the kidnappings, which are also distributed almost evenly across the country, are impacting the Nigerian economy as they have restricted business and investment in the worst affected areas.

SBM Intelligence, an Africa-focused geopolitical research and strategic communications consultancy, recently made the revelation. He also said that the ransom amounts and the number of kidnappings and victims were determined using media reports detailing the amount paid to armed groups in a year. The company claimed that at least 500 kidnappings had been recorded and that 3,420 people had been abducted across Nigeria, and another 564 had been killed in violence associated with kidnappings in one year.

According to another report by SBM, more than $18.3 million in ransom was paid to Nigerian kidnappers between 2011 and 2020. Indeed, few Nigerians were surprised by the report due to the spike in kidnappings across the country. country over the past year. It is safe to assume that non-state actors are holding the country by the jugular and this must stop.

In our opinion, the money paid for the ransom could be higher because there are many cases of kidnapping and paid ransom which were not reported to the authorities by the relatives of the victims. In some cases, security officials deliberately suppressed information about the circumstances surrounding the release of captives. Often they rightly deny that a ransom has been paid. But that’s not the main concern.

This newspaper is more troubled by the trend that terrorists and bandits unfortunately use kidnappings and abductions to raise funds to equip their arsenal and carry out their nefarious activities. As insecurity gradually shifts from the northeast to the northwest, kidnappings have also increased in the region.

Experts blame a combination of seemingly uncontrolled population growth, rampant unemployment, underfunded and ill-motivated security forces and easy access to small arms for the rise in banditry in the country.

In our view, the government has a duty to society not to allow senseless kidnappings and murders to continue unabated. While we admit that much is being done to deal with the situation which is becoming unsolvable by the day, it is also pertinent to remind the authorities that discouragement as an approach to the matter is the last thing the nation needs now.

As we have always advocated on this page, crime continues to escalate in the country because there is no punishment for bad behavior. Laws are not enforced and the justice system is not only weak but also inefficient as cases take years to follow.

To successfully tame the scourge of kidnappings in the country, security officials must improve and act quickly on intelligence. There must be synergy between communities and security agencies. If there is mutual trust between the two parties, citizens will willingly provide information to security agencies.

Unfortunately, kidnappings continued to escalate due to perceived collusion between security agents and non-state actors. Needless to say, weeding out bad eggs from the ranks of security agencies is key to ending this threat.

It is gratifying to note that on September 28, 2017, the Senate passed the Kidnapping and Kidnapping Act, which included a 30-year prison sentence for anyone caught colluding with a kidnapper to receive a ransom for any wrongfully kidnapped person.

The law also provided for a death penalty for anyone whose kidnapping activities resulted in the death of a person. Some states like Lagos, Zamfara and Edo have prescribed the death penalty for kidnappings.

In the considered opinion of these newspapers, we strongly advocate the death penalty or life imprisonment for the kidnappers, as we believe this will greatly contribute to deterrence. We also call on governors to have the courage to sign the death penalty for bandits and terrorists who kidnap and kill their victims even after taking a ransom.

Moreover, due to the demands of the times, we call for a speedy trial of bandits and terrorists. Court cases for bandits and terrorists should not exceed one year. We insist that with a severe and severe punishment, fewer kidnappings will happen.

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