Kidnapping In Nigeria; Implications For National Security

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Kidnapping In Nigeria; Implications For National Security


Abstract


The study was set out with four objective: to determine the relationship between kidnapping and national security, to examine the various factors responsible for kidnapping in Nigeria, to determine the implication of kidnapping on national security, examine the challenges of curbing kidnapping in Nigeria and proffer ways of curbing the spread of the menace of kidnapping in Nigeria. The methodology used included the questionnaire as well as descriptive analysis of data presented. The study revealed that kidnapping has not only become a criminal phenomenon or an academic issue of discuss but also a major threat to national security. Kidnapping has been related in some countries to the crime of terrorism which shares a major threat to national security. Kidnapping in Nigeria, however considered new to the security or crime challenges to Nigeria, has taken a rather dramatic and worrisome position. This has been due to the dimension it took in its widespread in almost all the region of Nigeria. The causes of kidnapping in Nigeria have been grouped under economic and political factors. Economic in the sense of the low per capital income, poverty, unemployment to mention a few has been a major factor that has propelled the adoption kidnapping especially by youths. The political factors have been related to the political struggle for self for attainment and development of the Niger Deltaregion, as well as its adoption by political miscreants. In To this end, there is the need to put in place some measures in order to achieve the essence of national security as well as well human development some of those measure as recommended in this study include the adoption of developmental project for the youth of the society including the full implication of MDG project. Another measure to this the creating of an enabling factor for self employment of the youths of the country as well equipping in capacity and sophistication security personnel in to combat the kidnapping menace head on


Chapter One


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 incurbing 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 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 casesin 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.


1.7 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.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This research work assess kidnapping in Nigeria implications for national security, a case study of Niger Delta. The study was set out with three objective and research questions: to examine the various factors responsible for kidnapping in Nigeria, to determine the effect of kidnapping on national security and examine the role of government in curbing the spread of the menace of kidnapping in Nigeria. The methodology used included the questionnaire as well as descriptive analysis of data presented. The study revealed that kidnapping has not only become a criminal phenomenon or an academic issue of discuss but also a major threat to national security. Kidnapping has been related in some countries to the crime of terrorism which shares a major threat to national security. Kidnapping in Nigeria, however considered new to the security or crime challenges to Nigeria, has taken a rather dramatic and worrisome position. This has been due to the dimension it took in its widespread in almost all the region of Nigeria. The causes of kidnapping in Nigeria have been grouped under economic and political factors. Economic in the sense of the low per capital income, poverty, unemployment to mention a few has been a major factor that has propelled the adoption kidnapping especially by youths. The political factors have been related to the political struggle for self for attainment and development of the Niger Deltaregion, as well as its adoption by political miscreants. In To this end, there is the need to put in place some measures in order to achieve the essence of national security as well as well human development some of those measure as recommended in this study include the adoption of developmental project for the youth of the society including the full implication of MDG project. Another measure to this the creating of an enabling factor for self-employment of the youths of the country as well equipping in capacity and sophistication security personnel in to combat the kidnapping menace head on.


5.2 Conclusion

As it has been observed in this study, terrorism, kidnapping and hostage-taking in the Niger Delta region is a consequence of the long years of negligence, real and perceived marginalization of the oil producing communities and the nonchalant attitude of the oil companies to environmental safety. It is directed at the Nigerian state and the multinational oil companies rather than against the national interest of any nation. Therefore, the Niger Delta question in Nigeria is peculiar and domestic though it may have international implications. From all sides of the divide, it calls for a careful understanding of the issues involved, and the strategies being applied. The problem is for the Federal government to solve. Repressive state policies or military solution cannot be the right panacea but a determined effort, devoid of rhetoric, to promote social justice and equity; to stem the tide of environmental devastation and ecological destruction going on in the Niger Delta.

Though the establishments of special commission like the defunct OMPADEC and the current NDDC is a welcome development, it is necessary for the government to monitor and constantly evaluate the activities of such agency in order to determine whether its stated achievement is commensurate with the fund released. This will further check financial recklessness, mismanagement and corruption that have bedeviled all government agencies in the country. Most of the redistributive policies failed because they were conceived and adopted at a level far too removed from the people. Hence, there is need for community involvement in policies designed to affect their lives.

Furthermore, the activities of the multinational oil companies must be closely monitored and under strict scrutiny in order to ensure that it conforms to the best practices around the world. Social and infrastructural development must be the priority of both the government and the oil companies. The multinational oil companies must be alive to their corporate responsibilities. The current levels of infrastructural decay in the region are sources of dissent and rebellion in the state. Fundamentally, Nigeria needs to redefine its national security goal. The national security aspiration of Nigeria has for a long time centered on expelling external aggression and containing internal upheavals. Therefore, economic deprivation or imbalances, poverty, health concerns, international migration, terrorism environmental issues like desertification, gully erosion and other ecological problems should form part of the security agenda. This is critical to the resolution of the Niger Delta crisis because the grievances of the people are rooted in the deplorable state of the environment; abject poverty and economic and social deprivation. David Palmer (Quoted in Crenshaw 1995) maintained that isolation and poverty breed terrorism. The fact that the hostages are being taken for ransom suggest that poverty is a major precipitating factor in the explanation of domestic terrorism in the Niger Delta and the attendant threat to human and national security. Therefore, concerted effort must be directed at implementing policies that engender social and economic development of the various communities.

There is need for a clear and coherent national policy on terrorism, kidnapping and hostage taking. Akin to this, a well trained antiterrorism squad must be created from the Nigerian Army, Air Force, Navy, Police and State Security Service. The role of these security organizations must be clearly stated in order to prevent duplicity and conflict of functions. This is necessary and critical to Nigeria’s preparedness to contain the development and spread of terror acts to other zones of the country.


5.3 Recommendations

While it is commendable the steps so far taken by the government to resolve the militancy in the Niger Delta region, notable of which is the amnesty programme and establishment of NDDC among other things, a lot still need to be done. Occasionally, soft measures are applied while at times hard measures are inevitable in order to maintain peace or protect the corporate existence of the country. Government should embark on the following policies to finally put to rest agitation in the Niger Delta region:

  1. Re-organizational policies which refer to state effort to restructure or reconfigure political or administrative institutions and relationship in order to accommodate group demands or strengthen the efficacy of centralized state power.
  2. Regulatory policies which on the other hand entail the mandatory imposition of sanctions or restrictions of individuals or groups that are perceived to pose a threat to state cohesion and order.
  3. Redistributive Policies: Revenue sharing or resource distribution has been at the centre of ethnic agitation in Nigeria. The exceptional political sensitivity of resource allocation is worsened by the lack of consensus on the criteria of distribution, the absence of reliable socioeconomic data, and political change, and the extent to which revenue distribution is tied to perceptions of regional ethnic dominance (Suberu 2001). Revision in Federal revenue sharing arrangements have been the most important redistributive policies designed to contain ethnic minority agitation in Nigeria. The irony however is that, the various review exercises have been done at the disadvantage of the oil producing communities. Before oil assumes a prime position in the Nigerian economy derivation principle occupied the centre stage of revenue sharing practices. The percentage allocated to derivation stood at 50% before the promulgation of the Distributable Pool Account (DPA Decree 13 of 1970) which slashed it down to 45%. The 1979 Constitution revised the petroleum act of 1969 by declaring Federal Government’s ownership of all mineral resources both onshore and offshore and the derivation share of oil revenue slashed to 5% by the Second Republic government of Shehu Shagari. Therefore government should revert back to 50% derivation formula before the promulgation of DPA Decree 13 of 1970, to enable the Niger Delta governments have more funds for developmental purposes.
  4. Participatory policies; Government should create a forum that will provide the oil communities opportunities to table their grievances in a legitimate manner. It should also provide the opportunity for the government and the multinational corporations to assess their activities on the one hand and ensure corporate social responsibilities on the other hand.
  5. Development plans; the Federal Government should charge the NDDC to implement the all-inclusive Niger Delta Development Master Plan. The Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan was launched by President Obasanjo on Tuesday, March 27; 2007. The broad goals of the master plan with mutually reinforcing components include poverty reduction, industrialization and socio-economic transformation to prosperity. Therefore the plan focuses on five major themes: Economic Development, Community needs the natural environment, Physical infrastructure, and Human and Institutional Resources (Agbo 2007: 30). The 15-year Plan clearly enunciates the role of all the stake holders- local Government, State Government, Federal Government, Multinational Oil Companies, etc. – in tackling the problem of development in the Niger Delta. Though, it is too early to evaluate the plan, it demonstrates the commitment of the Federal Government to end the crisis because the ‘security of the Niger Delta is the security of Nigeria’ (Yar’ Adua cited in Tell June 4, 2007: 31). The problem however, remains whether the new Plan will not suffer the same faith that befell the previous policies. As noted earlier, the persistence of the problem indicates the failure of some of these measures.
  6. Environmental reclamation/clean-up; There is the urgent need to restore the degraded environment or the region and observe an oil moratorium (stop oil activities for a period of at least 3 years), to ensure natural recovery of the dying ecosystem through well-planned integrated remediation measures.

Furthermore, there is the need to redress the fragrant violations of the rights of the people of the delta as experienced in the region over the years.

I wish to recommend the solutions proffered by Alfred F. (2006) in his forward to a report on Niger Delta Human Development published by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

  1. Government should promote peace as the foundation for development. There cannot be any meaningful development without peace. A peace agenda must include education, easy access to justice and a more equitable distribution of resources. Make local governance effective and responsive to the needs of the people. Government is very central to achieving meaningful development outcomes.
  2. Improve and diversify the economy – The Niger Delta region, with its stock of natural and human resources, offer immense opportunities for developing a diversified and growing economy. Over-dependence on oil is causing so much conflict.
  3. Promote social inclusion and improved access to social services – a major concern is the nation’s longstanding exclusion of some people from the mainstream of Nigeria’s socio-economic and political activities. The majority of the people in the Niger Delta live on the margins. Reducing exclusion and achieving more even handed development implies the empowerment of socially marginalized groups and individuals, stronger social institutions and infrastructure, and the development of the capacity of existing local groups.
  4. Promote environmental sustainability to preserve the means of people’s sustainable livelihoods – the mainstreaming of environment sustainability into all development activities must be complemented by proactive steps to conserve natural resources, to reduce pollution, especially from oil spills and gas flares; and to set and achieve adequate targets for clean air and water and soil fertility. These should be backed by rigorous enforcement of environment laws and standards
  5. Build sustainable partnerships for the advancement of human development – stakeholders must work together to achieve meaningful change. All levels of government and NDDC, the oil companies, the organized private sector, civil society organizations (CSOs) should form partnerships around plans for sustainable development and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
  6. Non-State actors (CSOs) should initiate and facilitate genuine process of development and protection of rights of the people.

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