Unending Uptick

News and Press Release
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Nigeria has a kidnapping crisis. Although the country's Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, in June 2019 downplayed this menace by asserting kidnapping cases are exaggerated. However, daily news reports are awash with incidents of ransom kidnap. Yesterday, a judge of the Court of Appeal was kidnapped in Edo state. There is also an ongoing kidnapping trend in Anambra state, with some missing children in other parts of the country are being found in Anambra. Yesterday in Onitsha, two children who went missing in Gombe state were rescued by members of the Nigerian police in Anambra state. Nine children abducted in Kano state two weeks ago were also recovered in the state.

In Kano state circumstantial accounts hold that an Igbo kidnapping syndicate are abducting young Muslims from the North, and are taking them to the southern parts of the country where they are converted to Christianity and sold into slavery. Parents of missing children in Kano have called on the government to facilitate the release of 47 children allegedly held by the syndicate. In a related trend, within the last two years, eight children have been abducted in Ogun state with police investigations signalling Anambra state. Currently, four out of the eight children have been rescued in the state.

Alongside ransom kidnap, there is a growing trend of human trafficking, particularly children. Almost all the cases of child theft so far have been about selling them off to, sometimes, unsuspecting couples looking to adopt children. Although cases of kidnapping are underreported as must kidnappers warn relatives of their victims against involving security agents, Council on Foreign Relations says Nigeria kidnapping crisis is expanding. The target population have shifted from the rich to virtually all Nigerians; as evidenced by indiscriminate kidnaps nationwide.

The unending uptick is a call for action. Understanding there is a kidnapping problem is one step towards solving its menace. Nigerian security operatives should rely on actionable intelligence to trace the activities of an apparent kidnapping syndicate specializing in abducting children who are being sold in some parts of Eastern Nigeria. A crisscrossing collaboration among police state commands in the country will improve the force's efficiency in tackling inter-state kidnapping gangs.