Socio-Economic Effects Of Kidnapping In Nigeria

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Socio-Economic Effects Of Kidnapping In Nigeria, A study of  Ekiti State

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

  • Background of the Study:

Kidnapping, abduction, hostage-taking, or by whatever name it  goes,  has had a long history dating back to time immemorial. This dysfunctional act has featured so conspicuously in recent times in Nigeria, as one of the social vices— perhaps it could only be second to drug trafficking in global catalogue of crimes (http://www.ambrosiatreatmenter.com/drug-report.php). Ekiti State seems to have experienced this social menace at a scale unrivalled in other states in South-western Nigeria. Popularly the state  would appear to have experienced a change of governmental control, with kidnappers dictating the pace of activities, as a wave of crime occasioned by their nefarious behaviour has thrived unabatedly, to an extent that one begins to wonder if God is still in charge. Relevant and interested organs of government have made several attempts to ameliorate this social malady but to no avail. This is so much the case that Ekiti State has earned the most unenviable designation of ‘the kidnapping capital of Nigeria’ (Ibekwe, 2010).

This criminal act violates one fundamental human right, enshrined in the UN Charter, and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria—the freedom of movement. The rate of recurrence of this violation places in the front burner the question of government’s apparent show of inability to place this criminal activity on the leash. The media, both print and electronic, continues to run stories of abduction of innocent citizens, highlighting further that Nigerian security bodies may have been overwhelmed. In fact one article in the Guardian of July 24, 2010 was very unequivocal in its caption: Kidnapping and the Falling State Status of Nigeria. Governance entails a social contract by which the governed submit certain aspect of their rights to government, in return for government’s provision of security and social welfare. That government agencies campaigns have so far not been able to curb this social menace is evident in the persistence of the crime. This has had Nigerians of all social classes so terrified, creating a sense of insecurity comparable only to terrorist threats and attacks. At the height of this spate of kidnapping in Ekiti State, individuals, families, groups, businesses, worship  centers,  educational  establishments,  governmental  institutions  and,  of  course, the entire society suffered gravely as properties, monetary wealth, and time (from  an economic waste perspective) were wasted.

Statement of the Problem:

Since crime is an abnormal human condition, unwanted and most undesired, it requires a paradigm shift on our popular conception of man in an organized society and the chances for a better and peaceful future. The violent crime of kidnapping, currently a global menace, has kept many residents in Ekiti without sleep, as every person (male and female, young and old) seem to command some kidnapping value within the state.

Kidnapping has taken an alarming dimension in  Ekiti State (Jamiu, 2009).  It is said to have sprung up in the Niger Delta when militants, calling for both national and international attention (Nyam, 2010) to the perceived injustices, deprivation and ecological degradation occasioned by oil exploration in the region, took to abduction of  expatriate oil workers.  Soon President Umar Yar’adua, as  part of his Seven Point Agenda, granted presidential pardon to Niger Delta militants. Not long after, Ekiti State turned to a hub of kidnappers. This has raised concerns as to whether this wave of abductions is a reaction to the state’s exclusion from, or rather non-inclusion in, the federal government’s Amnesty Grant; or just  an act of sheer criminality by seemingly jobless youths.

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. The researcher’s attempt would be to explore Socio-Economic Effects Of Kidnapping In Ekiti State

Purpose of the Study:

The general purpose of this study is to examine Socio-Economic Effects Of Kidnapping In Ekiti State.

Our specific aims are, therefore;

  1. To ascertain the causes of kidnapping, without losing sight of its
  2. To examine the types and resultant consequences of kidnapping in Ekiti State.
  3. To determine the relationship between religion and crime in
  4. To ascertain the role of the church as a religious organisation in tackling kidnapping as a social
  5. To make recommendations that could influence policies, utilizing bricks of religious resource and legitimacy in the amelioration of kidnapping in our society.

 Research Methodology:

The methodology used in this study is the historical research method. It utilised both primary and secondary sources of data  collections. Since  kidnapping is an on-going occurrence and contemporary social malady, the primary sources of data collection would be derived through oral interview from respondents, as a reliable medium for understanding individual perception of the subject matter. That the menace of kidnapping in Nigeria, especially in Ekiti State, has excited much media coverage and generated considerable body of literature. The study would therefore, explore relatively recent publications in newspapers and electronic  media, books, journals, articles and unpublished thesis relevant to the study as the secondary sources of data collection. These information or data would be collected, organised and critically analysed.

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.

 Scope of the Study:

The researcher’s main task would be to examine Socio-Economic Effects Of Kidnapping In Ekiti State

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, crime, violent crime and deviance.

*Kidnapping: Kidnapping is the taking away of a person by force, threat or deceit, with intent to cause him to be detained against his will. It may be done for ransom or for political purposes (http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/kidnapping.aspx). Also it can be seen as;

The abduction of another person with an intent to hold him for ransom or reward; or use him as a shield or hostage; or accomplish or aid the commission of any felony or flight there from or inflict physical injury upon him, or to violate him sexually (http://definitions.uslegal.com/k/kidnapping/).

Ugwu (2010:3) enthused that kidnapping has been viewed in many dimensions. He further observed the line between kidnapping and false imprisonment and  concludes that, kidnapping is “an aggravated form of false imprisonment that usually involves the transportation or concealment of kidnapped person”. In this work, we shall adopt Ugwu’s line of thought, that kidnapping is a false imprisonment that exercises a measure of control over another person’s freedom of movement with an intention to make gains, often financial, through a form of bargain for ransom.

*Crime: 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”. While Siegel defines crime as;

A violation of societal rules of behaviour as interpreted and expressed by a criminal legal code created by people holding social and political power. Individuals who violate these rules are subject to sanctions by state authority,  social stigma  and loss of status (2004:18).

*Violent crimes: A violent crime is any criminal offense, which involves the use  of, or even threat of force or violence (http://www.criminal-law-lawyer- source.com/term/violent.html). Also, violent can be said to  have occurred  “when an offender uses or threatens to use violent force upon a victim”

(http://www.justia.com/criminal/violent-crimes/). In addition, the term  violent crime can be defined as, “a behavior by persons, against persons or property that intentionally threatens, attempts, or actually inflicts physical harm”. (http://definitions.uslegal.com/v/violent-crimes/). These are crimes that require or utilize physical force or aggression on victims. It includes offences such as murder, assault, rape, kidnapping among others.

Deviance: McLaughlin and Muncie (2001:89) defines the term deviance as “the aggregate of social behaviours, practices, acts, demeanours, attitudes,  beliefs,  styles or statuses which are culturally believed to deviate significantly from the norms, ethics, standards and expectations of society”. Also, Gidden, Duneier and Appelbaum (1999:169) construed deviance as “nonconformity to a given set of norms that are accepted by a significant number of people in a community or society”. Haralambos and Holborn (2004) noted that, “deviance consists of those acts which do not follow the norms and expectations of a particular social group”. Therefore, deviances are behaviours and actions that do not conform to the norms and values that are highly cherished by members of a social group or society at large.