An average of 25 Nigerians are kidnapped every month, while 278 Nigerians have been abducted between May 2015 and April 2016. Also, amounts ranging from N250,000 to millions of naira have been demanded as ransom, bringing the total sum to N3.3bn.
The rising wave of the crime across the country has left many more afraid of kidnappers than armed robbers or even insurgents. Gone are the days when only expatriates, wealthy individuals and petroleum industry workers were the main targets. Today, anyone can fall victim.
The failure of security agencies at resolving many cases has made matters worse, with many families caving in and agreeing to pay ransom. While there are instances where the police rescue victims without payment of ransoms, there are also many where huge amounts were paid to kidnappers.
The 14 April 2014 abduction of about 276 Chibok school girls in Maiduguri by the Boko Haram insurgents remains indelible even as it drew world attention including reactions from US President Barack Obama and other world leaders.
Before the Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, signed into law a bill that prescribes death penalty for convicted kidnappers in the state, and before the Kogi State Executive Council under former Governor Idris Wada approved death penalty for kidnapping and other related criminal activities in the state, Governors Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa and Adams Oshiomhole of Edo states approved the death penalty for kidnappers in 2013. The Delta State House of Assembly also passed the Anti-Kidnapping Bill 2013, imposing a death sentence on any person convicted of kidnapping in the state, into law.