Kidnapping And Hostage Taking: Implications And Challenges For National Security

Project and Seminar Material Under International Law and Diplomacy

Kidnapping And Hostage Taking: Implications And Challenges For National Security


This study is a descriptive survey which examine kidnapping and hostage taking: implications and challenges for national security. Three research questions were answered and one null hypothesis was tested. The researcher designed an instrument which consisted of 21 items. Data collected were analyzed using mean, standard deviation and t-test. The findings revealed forms of insecurity in Enugu East Senatorial District to include among others robbery; bag snatching, burglary and kidnapping. Also, the findings indicated unemployment, drug abuse, poverty, and quest for fast money among others as the major causes of insecurity and kidnapping. The counselling strategies that could help to remedy insecurity and kidnapping were identified to include cognitive restructuring, community and on-line counselling. The study recommended that jobs be created for youths to reduce unemployment and poverty that were identified as part of the causes of insecurity and kidnapping. Also, that tertiary institutions should organize group counselling within and outside the campuses, so as to alert youths of the consequences of engaging in acts leading to insecurity and kidnapping.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

There is no doubt that kidnapping in Nigeria is in part, a syndrome from many parts of the world- Iraq, the Philippines, Afghanistan, India, Russia, Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Nepal and American (Abati, 2009). Episodes of ransom kidnapping in the annals of American history include the case of four year old Charlie Ross in 1874 (Cyntrax, Wilson and Wilson as cited in Ugwuoke, 2010 :197) and Lindbergh case in 1932 ( Allison, 2000: 110). In the Lindbergh’s case, Lindbergh’s child was the centre of a plot, the suffering of the child’s parents, and the difficulties of the police enquiry, were exacerbated by widespread speculation, misinformation and serial random notes (Alexander and Klein 2009: 16). Alexander and Klein further noted that in the 17th century, children were stolen from their families and exported to North American colonies as servants and labourers, hence, ‘kid’ meaning ‘child’ and ‘nap’ or ‘nab’ meaning ‘to snatch’. Kidnapping was therefore connected to the staling of children but the word has come to be used interchangeably with both children and adults. Nevertheless, past account of kidnapping revealed that death penalty was ordered as a punishment for kidnapping in ancient Rome when the Emperor Constantine (AD 315) became so alarmed by the incidence of the crime (Akpan, 2010: 33).

However, the early African societies were marked with the incidence of slave trade. In this vein, Ugwu (2010 : 2)., asserted that the weak and the poor were captured and sold into slavery. Ugwulebo (2011: 26) noted that during the colonial era, the colonialists came to some parts of the world, such as Africa, took their able bodied men and women and sold them to far away nations who needed human labour for their plantation and other services. (Onimode as cited in Ugwulebo, 2011: 26-27) had noted that gun powder, gin, mm and other materials were offered by the Europeans to the Africans in exchange for slaves shipped annually from ports in Nigeria. Therefore, slavery and kidnapping were like two sides of a coin.

In the early traditional Nigeria society, human sacrifice perpetuated kidnapping. Ugwuoke (2010: 197) rightly asserts that individuals were kidnapped for ritual or social reasons. The African traditional worshipers solely believed in sacrificing to appease the gods. The sacrifice may transcend animal sacrifice, and the priest could be inspired by the gods to order for human beings; to accomplish this kind of sacrifice, the required person could be kidnapped and killed in a sacrificial procedure. Ugwuoke explained that kidnapping was mainly for the purpose of sacrifice either to appease the gods or for the burial of a prominent chief or warrior. Precisely, to carry out a successful burial of important citizen like chiefs and prominent warriors required human head. Hence, warriors engaged themselves in search of victims to be kidnapped. Besides Nwadiorah and Nkwocha (2011: 3) observed that the act of kidnapping increased in Nigeria after the Nigerian civil was in 1970 which exposed many youths with military experience to some criminality. The above account reveals that kidnapping is very old in the history of man as it is also recorded in section 364 of the Nigeria Criminal Code.

Though kidnapping is not new, and has been in Nigeria criminal statues, ransom kidnapping is a new trend and was not known in Nigeria until recently. Moreover it was obvious in 2006 when it was announced that foreign oil workers were kidnapped (Inyang, 2009). However, those expatriates were released after paying huge ransom in millions of naira. Since then, kidnapping for ransom has spread to most parts of Nigerian states and Enugu East Senatorial District is also affected by it. Many people have been kidnapped and only released after the payment of ransom while in some cases dead bodies were recovered. Igwe Uche Nwaechime, the proprietor of Mac Royale Hotels ltd, from Nkanu West Local Government , Enugu State was kidnapped and slaughtered by the kidnappers. His body was found by a search party at a refuse dump site on the Enugu Port Harcourt express way (Ugwulebo, 2011). Dr. Paul Edemobi, the proprietor Paul and Grace Foundation and brother to Prof. Dora Akuyili, was kidnapped in Enugu on Monday 1st December 2008 from his 10B Savage Cresent GRA Enugu (Ojukwu, 2011). The wife of Sam Ngene, the then Chairman of Enugu South Local Government Area was kidnapped on March 2009. Also, Nkem Owoh, the popular Nollywood actor was kidnapped along Enugu-Port Harcourt express way (Ugwulebo, 2011). Payment of ransom, tragic recovery of dead bodies and other facts and events as a result of kidnapping shapes peoples perception of the crime. Furthermore, Anosike (2009) stated that the incidence of kidnapping is a common occurrence in the eastern states. Anosike also noted that states ranging from Abia to Anambra and Enugu were greatly alarmed by the wave of kidnapping.

However, in 2009, rebranding project was frantically directed towards redeeming the image of Nigeria due to the fact that most countries of the world and Nigerians themselves perceive Nigerians negatively (Dieye and Iwele, 2011: 78). Incidentally, in that same 2009 there was rise in kidnapping as available statistics shows that there was 512 incidence of kidnapping in 2009 against 353 in 2008 (Ojukwu, 2011: 380). Ojukwu also noted that the ambassador of the rebranding Nigeria project, Pete Edochie was kidnapped in Onitsha on his way to his home town- Nteje. Since then, kidnapping has drastically affected the country’s image and major businesses in the country.
Furthermore, kidnapping for ransom posses serious threat to the well ordering and functioning of the society and many factors were perceived as its causes. In Nigeria, such factors include corruption among the Nigeria Police Force (Adibe, 2009), unemployment, poverty and leadership failure (Diara, 2010), failure of the government to provide basic amenities and the use of cult gangs and militants by politicians in electoral processes (Okengwu, 2011: 1), access to large quantities of small arms and light weapons (International Crisis Group, 2006 as cited in Iduh, 2011: 126). This study will lay emphasis on the perception of people in Enugu East Senatorial District concerning kidnapping in Nigeria.

1.2 Statement of the Problem:

Kidnapping in Nigeria is a very serious contemporary social problem which was noted by Iduh (2011: 125) as the outcome of decades of peaceful protests in the Niger – Delta region. Kidnapping first attracted national attention on 20th February 2006 when Niger – Delta militants kidnapped foreign oil workers to press their demand (Nwadiorah and Nkwocha, 2011). Since then, many Nigerians have been kidnapped and only released on huge ransom whose re-payment they may not be able to make for the rest of their lives (Oshio, 2009: 13). The statistics of kidnapping by the Distress Call Base (DBC, Anti-Kidnapping Squad Enugu, 2012) show that from January to December 2009, there were nine reported cases of kidnapping, eight victims of kidnapping, five victims of kidnapping rescued, one victim killed and twenty two arrested kidnappers. Furthermore in 2010, there were twenty six reported cases against nine cases in 2009, twelve kidnapped victims against eight in 2009, eleven rescued victims against five in 2009 and thirty eight arrested kidnappers against twenty-two in 2009. Also in 2011 the data reveal rise in kidnapping as there were forty six reported cases of kidnapping, fifty eight kidnap victims, fifty five rescued victims, one victim killed and one hundred and thirty six kidnappers arrested. In three months from January to March 2012, there were five reported cases of kidnapping, six kidnap victims, five rescued victims and six kidnappers arrested.

Kidnapping groups are often beyond the reach of the law enforcement agencies. This is evident in the time taken in conducting their violent bargains by requesting a second payment after reaching agreement and the release of a victim. On other occasions, kidnappers have portrayed inefficiency (whether deliberate or not) with regards to their “data base”, as they have abducted some persons over and over again. The government with little or no political will and a deteriorating moral authority has made several attempts utilising force in its approach to kidnapping diplomacy. Also, through negotiation and Amnesty Grants to youths as a means to its sustainable control, but to no avail. It, therefore, appears that the major issues at the root of the problem have not been addressed.

Having established the fact that the security situation in Enugu East Senatorial District leaves much to be desired. This study wants to find out the causes and counselling strategies for remedying the situation in Enugu East Senatorial District.

1.3 Objective of the Study

  1. To determine the types of insecurity problem are prevalent in Enugu East Senatorial District
  2. To evaluate the causes of insecurity and kidnapping and hostage taking in Enugu East Senatorial District
  3. To suggest the counselling strategies can be used to remedy insecurity and kidnapping in Enugu East Senatorial District

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were answered in the study:

  1. What types of insecurity problem are prevalent in Enugu East Senatorial District?
  2. What are the causes of insecurity and kidnapping in Enugu East Senatorial District?
  3. What counselling strategies can be used to remedy insecurity and kidnapping in Enugu East Senatorial District?

1.5 Hypothesis

One null hypothesis was tested at 0.05 level of significance thus:

  1. There is no statistically significant difference in the mean ratings of counselors and students on counselling strategies to be adopted in remedying insecurity and kidnapping in Enugu East Senatorial District.

1.6 Significance of the Study:

This study, being an exploration of a lingering and seemingly intractable and protracted social problem, will be of enormous significance to future researchers on kidnapping and similar violent crimes, especially since it is explored from a holistic perspective. It is hoped that this research would aid the various levels of government, policy experts and analysts in grasping the genuine causes and impacts of kidnapping. Ultimately, the study would contribute to closing the gap on the dearth of literature that exists on kidnapping, on the one hand, and other violent crimes, on the other hand.

This study will be of significant value relevant to individuals, families, groups, governmental and non-governmental agencies (especially faith-based organizations) involved in related criminal justice activity all over Nigeria. That is, the religious leaders, law enforcement agents (police and joint military task force) and other security and correctional agents interested in formulation, execution or reformation of the criminals among us.

1.7 Scope of the Study:

The researcher’s main task would be to examine kidnapping as an organized but violent crime in Enugu East Senatorial District; however, relevant instances and practical inferences would be drawn from other South-eastern states, and of course states in the core Niger-Delta. On the panacea or praxis from the church or religion as a social organisation to ameliorate this dysfunctional behaviour, kidnapping, we shall make recourse to successfully organized religious strategies on troubling human challenges.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

The researcher encountered problems during the course of carrying out this research; such problems were as a result of selected respondents who refused to accept and participate and also encountered difficulty in acquiring relevant materials and items. The attitude of selected subjects to fill the questionnaire to time so as not to delay the result of the research also posed a problem. However, the researcher appealed to the participants through persuasive means

1.9 Definition of Related Terms:

A brief explanatory remark on the key terms will be pertinent to aid a better understanding of the topic under study. The terms include the following: kidnapping, religion, crime, violent crime and deviance.


Kidnapping is the taking away of a person by force, threat or deceit, with intent to cause him to be detained against his will.


The complexity of crime requires a conscientious reflection noting its tie with sin and morality in general. Okezie (2007:12) views crime as a “violation of a norm that has been entered into law and is backed by power and authority of the state to impose formal sanction”. Also, Lippman (2010:2) simply defined crime as a “conduct that, if shown to have taken place, will result in a formal and solemn pronouncement of moral condemnation by the community”.

1.10 Organizations of the Study

The chapter one consist of the introductory part of the study which includes the study background, the statement of the research problem, the study objective and scope of the study.

The second chapter is a critical review of other literatures relevant to the study and its objectives including the theoretical framework for the study. While the third chapter is methods of data collection, sampling and data analysis used in conducting the study. The fourth chapter centres around the research findings including an analysis of how it relates to previous findings. The fifth chapter consists of the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations base on the study objectives.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

Consequent upon the findings of this study, the following conclusion was drawn: Forms of insecurity prevalent in Enugu East Senatorial District are harassing and dispossessing citizens of their personal properties, kidnapping people at random to extort money from them, snatching bags and gold trinkets from citizens both in the markets and on the streets and robbers breaking into citizens’ houses when they are out on business or work.

Unemployment, unequal distribution of resources, presence of thieves and pickpockets in market places, drug abuse and quest for fast money are the major causes of insecurity and kidnapping. No significant difference was revealed between the responses of professional counsellors and student counsellors on counselling strategies for remedying insecurity and kidnapping. In addition, cognitive restructuring, community and online counselling, individual and group counselling and orientation programmes were seen as the major counselling strategies that could be adopted in remedying insecurity and kidnapping in Enugu East Senatorial District.

These findings would increase awareness of forms and causes of insecurity in Enugu East Senatorial District and brine into focus the counselling strategies that could be used to salvage the situation by Guidance Counsellors.

5.2 Recommendations

Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations are hereby made:

  1. Since drug abuse is one of the factors causing insecurity and kidnapping, drug education and security education should as a matter of urgency be introduced in both primary and secondary schools in the state.
  2. Both the Federal and State governments should create jobs for the teeming graduates who are roaming the streets. Job creation at the grassroots will keep people gainfully employed and reduce migration to urban cities and criminal tendencies (Denga, 2009).
  3. Counsellors in tertiary institutions should organize group counselling in and outside the campuses and use the forum to dissuade youths from engaging in any form of criminal activities.
  4. Counsellors in the state should embark on community and online counselling so as to get communities to be security conscious and at the same time change their value orientation of get rich quick syndrome.
  5. Nigerians should be enlightened on the need to show love and affection to the needy and provide assistance to the indigents in order to reduce criminality in Nigeria.

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