Socio-Economic and Demographic Features of Kidnapping in Nigeria: an Analytical Study

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  • Topic: Niger Delta, Nigeria, Crime
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SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND DEMOGRAPHIC FEATURES OF KIDNAPPING IN NIGERIA: AN ANALYTICAL STUDY

Abstract
This study analyzed and reviewed the Nigerian print media coverage of kidnapping cases between 2005 and 2011. The focus of the study was to determine socio-economic and demographic features of kidnapping in Nigeria. Content analysis was adopted for the study as well as use of frequency tables for analysis of data. Anomie theory of crime based on Robert K. Merton’s analysis of Durkheim’s theory provided our theoretical frame work in this analysis. The study argued that a plethora of factors have been implicated as the causes of kidnapping in Nigeria. This paper recommends that some drastic measures be taken to nip in the bud the menace of kidnapping. One of such measures, the paper suggests, is to address the issue of unemployment in the country.

Keywords: Social problem, Kidnapping, Ransom, Niger Delta, Anomie theory

INTRODUCTION
Kidnapping is becoming a global phenomenon. Most countries of Asia, Europe, America and Africa have witnessed unprecedented wave and spate of violence and crime. Indeed Nigeria has witnessed various forms of militancy, violence and crime including kidnapping. Kidnapping, as a concept, poses a number of definitional problems in relations to a country’s legal and moral viewpoints as well as the availability of other variances such as hijacking and hostage taking. From different definitions, kidnapping could be tagged as a very serious contemporary crime which is relatively unheard of in contemporary Nigeria compared to robbery, burglary and other forms of social crimes. Yang et al (2007) attributes such relative obscurity to three reasons namely, rarity of the event itself, access to known kidnappers and data problem. As a rare even, researchers tend to see kidnapping as an insignificant criminal act which accounts for low research interest directed to it. In the second instance, getting access to known kidnappers is difficult in most instances.

Kidnapping has grown over the years as an industry involving every level of the society and motivated by many reasons. However, studies on it show that it has been a relatively recent phenomenon with much of the literature coming from Asia, America and European continents. Throughout the review, no single literature comes from the African continent, yet there are series of media reports of daily incidences of kidnapping in most African states. One country where kidnapping has become a daily occurrence is Nigeria and particularly in the Niger Delta region. Nigeria’s Niger Delta is rich in petroleum oil and has been explored by multi-national corporations and the Federal Government of Nigeria. It should be noted that what should have accrued to this region in terms of social infrastructure and development is completely neglected by the Multinational corporations as well as the Nigerian successive governments. This has, on its own, resulted in underdevelopment, high incidence of poverty, alienation of the local oil communities and various forms of crime including kidnapping. In this paper, attempt is made to analyze the current waves of crime in Nigeria, which is, kidnapping.

Statement of Problem
The Niger Delta of Nigeria has attracted global attention over the years both in positive and negative ways. The Niger Delta has remained the treasure bane of the Nigerian state in the past three decades. The area harbours over 95 percent of Nigeria’s crude oil and gas resources, which account for 90 percent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. The Niger Delta region is therefore a place of intense exploration and exploitation of crude oil and gas. This has bred them a feeling of utter neglect, relegation and discrimination (Ogbogbo 2005). The frustration of the people and the threat to their survival and collective existence led to eruptions of violence. The region has witnessed various forms of militancy violence and crime including kidnapping. It...
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