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BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigeria is a state under perpetual internal security threat from various ethno-religious militias or political insurgents. At a more general level the threat has social, economic, political and environmental dimensions. Each of these dimensions, singly and conjointly, greatly affects the nation’s stability and well-being. Threats to national security can be said to range from the menace of separatist demands, militancy, terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery and a host of other crimes which has negatively affected the security situation of the society. (Praeger; Newyork, 1990.)
Kidnapping has overtime become endemic in the Nigerian society especially in the Niger delta region. It is fast becoming a lucrative alternative to armed robbery and other related offence. The gravity of kidnapping is so intense that it has virtually affected most persons in our society and has grossly undermined the security of the country. The current dimension of kidnapping became noticeable in the Niger Delta region when militants in February 2006 abducted some oil workers, obviously to get global attention to the dire situation and need in the oil rich Niger Delta region of the country, the victims were mostly foreigners. Since then the social problem of kidnapping has increased geometrically in most parts of the country, especially in the south-eastern and south southern regions of the country. The targets are no longer foreigners alone; practically every Nigerian is now a target. On the hind sight, however, it is now on record that the former Governor of Anambra State was kidnapped in July 10, 2003 by his fellow political party members who were in opposition with him (Emewu & Anyanwu, 2009). Arguably, therefore, kidnapping is not actually new in the area; but the current lucrative ransom demanding strategy has become a serious social problem for the Government and people of Nigeria. For instance, in the year 2008 Nigeria was placed sixth on the global kidnap index by an online tourism site. This rating puts the country Nigeria among countries with serious kidnapping problems like Philippines, Venezuela, Columbia, Brazil, and Mexico (Ujumadu, 2008; Ekpe, 2009). Such report could serve as an assumption due to lack of accurate statistical data. Also Ekpe, (2009) reported that Nigeria recorded 512 cases of kidnapping and 30 dead persons in kidnappers’ den that year as against 353 cases recorded throughout 2008. Kidnapping cases in southern Nigeria and particularly the Niger delta region have been ravaging the country and greatly exposed the security shortcomings of the country. The safety of persons in Nigeria and their properties cannot be guaranteed. Kidnapping is a criminal offence punishable by the law in Nigeria. Anybody caught involved in the act is expected to face a penalty of 10years imprisonment. Nigerians and non Nigerians residing in the country are living in fear as regards who will be the next kidnap victim, since kidnappers spare no one as far as their motives are actualised. Over the last few years, the wealthy and the income earners have been picked up by kidnappers who only free their victims after payments of ransom. Old people as well as children between the ages of two and five years have been taken hostage. The incident of kidnapping has affected Nigeria’s image as a nation abroad. It has also affected Nigeria’s attempt to develop a viable tourism industry as visitors are regularly warned by their countries to be wary of coming to Nigeria. Many would-be investors have also stayed away for fears of being kidnapped (Ekpe, 2009). Apart from the above observable evidence, many more problems which are associated with the problem of kidnapping will be unraveled during the cause of this research. This study further intends to examine the origin and proliferation of kidnapping in Nigeria. This is necessary because despite measures meant to curb it, kidnapping still prevails and it is on the increase in recent times.
STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
The terrorism, kidnapping and hostage-taking witnessed in the Niger delta overtime is an offshoot of frustration and aggression due to unfriendly government policies, lack of sincerity on the part of government, exploitative tendencies and insensitivity of the multinational oil companies operating in the region.
The Niger Deltans were confident that oil discovery in their region would mean access to basic amenities, such as potable water, steady electricity supply, functional healthcare facilities, good roads, good schools and employment opportunities but the reverse has been the case. In their innocence, they believed that the Nigerian government and the multinational oil companies were interested in bringing development to their rural communities to fight against the negative consequences associated with the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas. After 50 year of operation, all of these dreams seem to be a nightmare.
Their demands are simple: “give us a fair share from the revenue accruing from our resources and care for our environment”. But a deaf hear was turned by both Government and the multinational operating companies and all they did was to pay lip services. These cumulated to the immediate past and present crisis in the Niger Delta Region and thus encouraged the emergence of armed groups and insurgents who terrorized the region for decades. Some armed group shifted the genuine fight for socio-economic justice for their communities to mere selfish desires through criminal activity such as piracy, kidnapping, hostage-taking and oil theft or bunkering.
These terrorist activities had grave implication for the economy stability and peace of the country. As fallout from the activities if the militants, the Federal government put the economic loss incurred by Nigeria while the Niger Delta crisis lasted at over N308.7 billion with a whopping N3 billion lost in 2008 alone to the conflict. This translates to the production loss of one million barrels of oil per day.
During this period, the nation’s exports were hampered as a result of the conflicts in which pipelines were vandalized and oil workers either kidnapped or maimed. The human impact during the crisis was unquantifiable given the magnitude of the criminality against human beings in the area.
Available record, he stated indicated that no fewer than 1000 lives were lost to the carnage in the region in addition to the spate of kidnappings during which local and expatriate workers were taken hostage including aged and young ones belonging to families of prominent individuals in the country.
It is against this backdrop that this study seeks to examine the situation and if possible proffer solutions to prevent the re-occurrence of the crisis.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the implications of kidnapping on national security in Nigeria. Other specific objectives of the study include;
- Identify and discusses the major factors responsible for kidnapping in Niger Delta region
- Discuss the effects of kidnapping on the security implications of Nigeria
- Examine the major actors involved in this nefarious activities and their mode of operations
- Review efforts of government and by security agencies aimed at curtailing the activities of Kidnappers.
- To examine the effect of kidnapping on national security
- Recommend effective options to the government and security agencies for addressing the issue.
- What are the major factors responsible for kidnapping in Niger Delta region?
- What are the effects of kidnapping on the security implications in Nigeria?
- Who are the major actors involved in this nefarious activities and their mode of operations?
- What are the efforts of government and by security agencies aimed at curtailing the activities of Kidnappers?
- What is the effect of kidnapping on national security?
- What are options available to the government and security agencies for addressing the issue?
H0: kidnapping does not have an effect on national security.
H1: kidnapping has an effect on national security.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research work represents a worthy and timely contribution to knowledge, information and developments in combating the Niger Delta Militants group in Nigeria particularly in the South-South part of the country. It focuses on history, causes, implication and suggests remedy. It also looks into the role of security agencies, policy makers, stakeholders and the enabling laws in tackling the violent activities, particularly the spate of killings, kidnappings, hostage taking, bunkering, bombings of oil facilities etc. It suggests a range of measures respective authorities, stakeholders (religious, community and political) and security agencies can adopt better to address the wanton destruction of life and properties which is due to grievances and repression by the government and the oil companies over the years.
The study would also benefit students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further study on the subject matter.
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to the implications of kidnapping on national security in Nigeria from 1999 to 2009 using the Niger delta region as a case study
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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