Kidnapping for ransom and extortion by armed bandits on roads, in communities and in schools has become the most widespread, organised, monetised and fast-paced criminal activity in Nigeria.
For years, citizens of Nigeria have been exposed to the cruelty of banditry and terrorist operations with the epicentre in the northern region of the country. It has become so bad that our daily newspapers now bear traumatizing headlines of kidnappings, murders, hostile robberies and more, often. The region is getting weaker, the people are being displaced and traumatised as the future appears bleak and pallid.
From the abduction of 276 Chibok schoolgirls in 2014, by the Boko Haram terrorist group to the kidnapping of over 300 Kankara schoolboys in December 2020 by unknown gunmen, it is evident that the response of the Nigerian government towards kidnapping and banditry in various regions of the country is inept and nonchalant.
The goal of terrorist kidnappers in the past was to kill and maim their captives for benefiting from western education, but now kidnapping by the bandits is ransom-oriented and captives appear to be kept alive for the purpose of ransom negotiation.
Federal and State governments authorities constantly deny paying a ransom to secure the release of abductees, yet reports have shown that they often do so.
Government authorities have since resorted to paying ransoms to bandits and even promise rewards to repentant bandits when it is crystal clear that this will only promote the business of banditry. One begins to wonder just how rotten the nation’s security has become.
A governor in the north, Bello Matawale, was reportedly promised repentant bandits houses, money and cars in the past and recently hosted the mastermind of the kidnap of 300 Kankara school boys and members of his gang at the Zamfara state government house with promises to improve the quality of their living.
Families have testified to paying a ransom to kidnappers in exchange for their kidnapped relatives.
Kidnapping, insecurity and banditry are on the rise in the country and could be regarded as endemic to north-western Nigeria. Security has deteriorated badly and the value of life has equally depreciated in the country.
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