The rate of kidnapping in Nigeria has risen considerably in the last ten years. Not less than 1,500 people are kidnapped on an annual basis in the country thus making kidnapping more or less a new “cottage industry”. With the statistical belief that one out of every 5 Africans is a Nigerian, it may not be wrong to say with her population and the increase in the wave of kidnapping, Nigeria has more potential kidnap victims than most of her West African neighbours.
- The Street Journal, 9th April, 2013, www.thestreetjournal.org
According to the Black’s Law Dictionary, 10th Edition, to kidnap is to seize and take away (a person) by force or fraud, often with a demand for ransom.
A recent statistic released by NYA International, specialist crisis prevention and response consultancy, indicates that Nigeria accounted for 26 per cent of kidnap and ransom incidents globally in the first half of 2013. Kidnapping is big business in Nigeria at this time, hardly does any month go by without news or reports that someone has been kidnapped.
Moreso, as kidnappers seem to be no respecter of persons, for they kidnap the poor, the rich or family members of the rich. This is why states like Edo and Delta States have passed the Anti - Kidnapping laws and imposed the death penalty for convicted kidnappers. I remember my friend’s mum was kidnapped in Edo State years ago and I observed firsthand how the family suffered during that period. Thankfully, she was returned unharmed.
The Criminal Code Act, CAP C38, LFN 2004, also provides a penalty for kidnapping. The law provides in Section 364 that –
“Any person who –
1. Unlawfully imprisons any person, and takes him out of Nigeria without his consent; or
2. Unlawfully imprisons any person within Nigeria in such a manner as to prevent him from applying to a court for his release or from discovering to any other person the place where he is imprisoned, or in such a manner as to prevent any person entitled to have access to him from discovering the place where he is imprisoned,
Is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for ten years. “
The rise in kidnappings has been attributed largely to the poor standard of living and unemployment. However, no reason is ever good enough to commit a crime especially when it involves putting the lives of others in jeopardy.
Adedunmade Onibokun, Esq.
- The Independent Newspaper
- The Street Journal
- Photo Credit: www.africanspotlight.com