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KIDNAPPING IN NIGERIA: IMPLICATIONS FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
1.0 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
All over the world societies have had to deal with criminality in various forms. Some of these forms of criminality have proved a great challenge to the society and stretched the debate on what crime is. The concept of crime has a long history in the civilization of man. Some religious communities see crime in the perspective of sin (Wikipedia Encyclopedia 2010). Some highlighted the issue of crime as sin in a mythological or legendary account of the origin of man. One of such is the Quran and Biblical records of the fall of man which tells the story of Adam and Eve’s eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden (King James Bible). There are disparities on the concept of crime with regards to people and places (Hulsman, 2000: 2). Nevertheless, when it bears its effect upon individuals and national security, it often becomes an issue of national concern. Some of these crimes have evolved through societal and legal processes giving some form of societal idiosyncrasies to some criminal acts.
One of such criminal act is kidnapping. Defining kidnapping poses a number of definitional problems in relations to a country’s legal and moral viewpoints as well as the availability of variances such as hostage taking and hijacking. However, in the context of this paper, Kidnapping in criminal law is an offence involving taking and conveying away a person against his or her will, either by force, fraud or intimidation (Wikipedia Encyclopesia, 2010). The issue of kidnapping however gained its early prominence in England when kids were abducted (EtymologyOnline, “Kidnap”). The word kidnapping thereby culminated from the phrase “kid nabbing” and was first recorded in the year 1673 (EtymologyOnline, “Kidnap”). Over the years, it has taken different forms with regard to the reason for carrying out such action by perpetrators.
Kidnapping is a global phenomenon which has been of great challenge to every government of affected countries. Some areas of concern to most government and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are the relationship of kidnapping to the issue of human trafficking and prostitution (SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking of Women and Chilren for Prostitution). In recent times, the crime of kidnapping has been linked to political intents where victims are kidnapped to push forward a political statement (Cambodian Law of Kidnapping and Trafficking). It has also been related to the issue of terrorism which has threatened global security (Osaghae, 2007: 19-22). Another reason for kidnapping which has recently gained prominence in Nigeria is kidnapping for ransom. Each and every one of these reasons has in one way or the other threatened the national security of countries where such crime is perpetrated. Its resultant effects have been the proliferation of arms and the parting of large sums of money to kidnappers from victims. This has therefore been a major threat to national security of any nation.
As a matter of importance to the survival of any nation, the issue of national security becomes paramount in the policies of government. This is as a result of the fact that the survival of the political, economic, social and diplomatic sovereignty of any nation depends highly on the national security of that nation (Yun, Hostage Taking and Kidnapping in Terrorism). The concept of national security is wide with different definitions; as there is no universally accepted definition of national security. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo defined National Security as “the aggregation of the security interests of all individuals, communities, ethnic groups, political entities and institutions which inhabits the territory of our great country Nigeria” (A Priority for U.S National Security and African Development).
A more comprehensive and all-emcompassing world-view definition of national security was made by President Barack Obama in the context of the US which can also be adopted by other nations. He defined national security as the security of the US, its citizens, partners and allies, a strong innovative and growing economy and an open international economic system that promotes opportunity and prosperity. He added that national security also encompass the respect for universal values at home and around the world and an international order that promotes peace, security, and opportunity through stronger cooperation to meet global challenges (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Assembly Resolution, 1976 ). The crime of kidnapping however threatens the very elements of this definition which is encompassed in national development which should therefore be of serious national concern.
In Nigeria, the crime of kidnapping gained prominence lately with the political strives of militants of the Niger Delta region of the South-South Nigeria (Barack, 2010). The kidnapping of expatriates in Nigeria threatens the very economic base of the nation which is oil exploration. To further push forward their political statement, the militants stepped up their criminal acts by kidnapping Nigerians of high political status or political figures. This eventually led to the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) taking decisive steps in checking the activities of militants which eventually resulted in the amnesty programme of the Late President Umar Yar Adua (Akpan, 2010). Unfortunately, the business of kidnapping spread to other areas of the country especially in the Eastern part of Nigeria and metamorphosed into a business mostly perpetrated by youths to make money.
Presently, the rate of kidnapping in Nigeria, in spite of the effort of police and other security agencies has been quite worrisome and poses a great challenge to the national security of the country. It has stalled business activities in some areas as well created fear in the minds of Nigerians. On the other hand, the perpetrators, who are mostly youths, are lost to such criminal activities instead of being gainfully employed as productive citizens for Nigeria’s development. The kidnapping of some journalists around Abia state was regarded as the height of the insensitivity of kidnappers (Egwemi, 2010). This has prompted the government of Nigeria to initiate strategies to check kidnapping in the country. The various states in Nigeria are initiating steps at establishing stringent laws to dissuade would-be kidnappers (Nigeria’s Latest Booming Business, AFP). There is however the need for government to initiate more strategies to curb the menace of kidnapping which threatens the national security of Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Kidnapping took a rather dramatic dimension in Nigeria recently with its spread to other areas of the country from the Niger Delta region. This has therefore posed a serious challenge to Nigeria’s national security. Its impact on the nation has been quite enormous as it affects the socio-economic cum political lives of average Nigerians. This study in the quest of finding solution to the menace of kidnapping in Nigeria, seeks to answer the following question.
1.3 Research Questions
(1) What is the relationship between kidnapping and national security?
(2) What are the factors that are responsible for the increase of kidnapping in Nigeria?
(3) What are the effects of Kidnapping on Nigeria’s national security?
(4) What are the challenges faced in dealing with the problem of kidnapping in Nigeria?
(5) What are the roles of government in curbing the menace of kidnapping?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The specific objectives of this study therefore are:
(1) To determine the relationship between kidnapping and national security.
(2) To examine the various factors responsible for kidnapping in Nigeria.
(3) To determine the implications of kidnapping to Nigeria’s national security.
(4) To highlight the challenges in eradicating the problem of kidnapping.
(5) To propose in Nigeria measures that could be adopted to effectively check the growth of kidnapping in Nigeria.
1.5 Research Assumption
At the inception of democracy in Nigeria kidnapping cases were perpetuated by militants of the Niger Delta who were fighting for a common course of resource control. The capabilities of the militants to carry out attack especially in engagement with the military shows the level of security deterioration in the Niger Delta region. Likewise, the kidnapping of people which has bedevilled the society recently is also perpetuated by youths of the society.
This study therefore seeks to establish that if opportunities of good education, employment and an environment for self sustenance are provided for these youths, the problem of kidnapping will be easily curbed. It also seeks to establish that a proper training and equipping of the security agencies will go a long way in reducing crimes especially kidnapping incidences.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The issue of kidnapping could be relatively new to Nigeria compared to other countries. This therefore poses a great challenge to the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in its combating of crime and maintaining national security. This paper therefore will be beneficial to the government of Nigeria in putting in place machineries to fight against this menace. It will also be beneficial to security agencies who are directly or indirectly involved in curbing the problem of kidnapping in the country.
This study will also add to the existing literature and body of knowledge on the topical issue of kidnapping as it relates to the issue of national security especially in Nigeria. It will also be a reference material for subsequent research work.
1.6 Theoretical Frame Work
What this research will achieve in the theoretical concept of the iron law of responsibility. This law states that in a long run, those who do not use power in ways that society considers responsible will tend to lose it.
The implication of this theoretical constant is that those multinationals organization that are blind towards the provision of infrastructure and social amenities to the host communities will eventually have opposition at a long run.
A typical example is the agitation of the Niger – Delta situation which has affected the production of crude oil by multinational companies operating the region, which SHELL is a Victim.
There are so many social threats in the region like kidnapping, pipe lines destruction, militant killing among others.
The Niger Delta Situation
Education is not the cause of unemployment per se but the skill required in the relevant areas. The reason for this is that individuals in the past make the opinions and attitudes to the world of work and the vocation they intend to take up in the future. This dictates the discipline they intend to pursue to be skilled. The right of choice of vocations by individuals is now violated by parents most especially by mothers without measuring the ability of their choice with capability of those for whom they decide for. Individuals come out and get dissatisfied with the jobs available because they do not have the skills in the relevant areas; hence there is lack of job satisfaction.
Oladiti (1990) describes job satisfaction as the extent to which a person is satisfied by the content and the environment of work. Job dissatisfaction is the extent to which a person is displeased or frustrated by inadequate working conditions and tedious job content. What exists in the Niger Delta is job dissatisfaction because the youths want to work in the areas for which they have no skill. There is therefore lack of basic skill for employment and the youths are not ready to take challenging jobs.
In the area, three classes can be identified, the political elite who use their affluent life style to cause terrorism and kidnapping. There are those in absolute poverty who are unemployed and have no income or resource to maintain minimum healthy living. There are also those in primary poverty whose minimum income or resources in enough for physical maintenance or health. These last two groups of classes see the affluence of the political class who may not be better than them educationally but use state resource to their satisfaction.
At the context of national development, the core-periphery model can be applied to the region. The golden egg which makes the area a core is the oil exploration and exploitation. The oil and gas found in the region are propulsive forms capable of generating large scale employment. The hinterland of the Niger Delta or the rest of Nigeria is the periphery to the core. The model refers to the spatial division of Nigeria into an economic relationship. The core is oil-gas rich area of Nigeria and the periphery are the areas articulated to the need of the core area.
No special criteria have been used to define poverty nor is there data to buttress the level of poverty. However, the paper adopts the inadequate supply of money, inadequate educational opportunities and inequality as measures of poverty. Equally budget standards can be applied to the definition. The adoption of budget standards presumes that the adoption of N 10,000.00 minimum national monthly wage would be applicable. The use of these budget standards assumes that those who are employed would earn this amount. For those unemployed this minimum wage is a mirage and makes the absolute poverty applicable.
The inability of indigenes to be appointed is because of lack of relevant skills due to inadequate educational opportunities. For example if vacancy exists for a petroleum engineer and an electrical engineer surfaces, he stands unappointable because his skills is not in the relevant area. Similarly youths may be unwilling to take up jobs whose income cannot commensurate with the political class. Most people now look for easy means of making money, just as they perceive of the political class.
Acts of terrorism, insurrections and kidnapping have become synonymous with the Niger Delta youths because of connivance with some political groups which they see as alternative to means of livelihood and a route out of the poverty syndrome. By August 2007 relatives of politicians had fallen victims of kidnapping. For example the mother of Celestine Omehia, River State Governor was kidnapped. Madam Hansel a.k.a. Mama Yenogoa, mother of Speaker, Bayelsa State was kidnapped and a N50million ransom was demanded, Margaret Hill was also kidnapped (Odume, 2007). Mr. Odili’s nephew to former Governor of River State, Peter Odili was kidnapped and a ransom of N50 million demanded (Guardian, 2008) etc. recently, N 4 million was demanded for a kidnapped victim but was later found dead a day after N 2 million was paid for his release. A relative of a member of River State House of Assembly was kidnapped in River State and a ransom of N 440 million demanded was not fully met, it was partially met but not publicized. To the youths involved in this act of terrorism, it is a profitable “employment”.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study covered the period between 2005 and 2010. This is the period when there was a significant increase in kidnapping cases in Nigeria. This period witnessed the increase of the active militant struggle in the Niger Delta region of South-South Nigeria. The period also covers the recent spate of kidnapping in several parts of which included the kidnapping of journalists and some children in Abia state amongst other states. Some Kidnapping cases in Nigeria from 2005-2010 is at Appendix I.
This study will therefore be restricted to reference materials on the issue of kidnapping as it relates to the concept of national security from 1999 to 2010. Referrals on the issue of national security will also be based upon materials within this period.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
This study is impaired by the challenge of few materials available for reference on the topic of kidnapping in Nigeria. This has only been a new topic of discuss in the academic setting. Some information which would have been relevant for this research work was not disclosed by security agents who were interviewed.
1.9 Research Methodology
The data for the study were derived from both primary and secondary sources. Primary data were collected through the use of questionnaires and oral interview with people considered relevant to the subject matter. Secondary data on the other hand were collected from newspapers, journals, other unpublished materials and the internet.
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