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The incessant incidences of kidnapping in Nigeria have grown into a severe National threat to its society and is ravaging the country’s socioeconomic wellbeing. The study aims to explore the political economy of kidnapping and its impact on national security. By way of qualitative analysis, predicated on secondary sources, the study posits that kidnapping has been motivated and sustained by criminal quest for material accumulation. The study adds that the situation has been compounded by the growing trend of criminal impunity in Nigeria wherefore the government’s capacity to sanction and deter crime is abysmal. The study observes that kidnapping portends dangerously for Nigeria’s national security in view of its untoward impacts and implications. The study submits that crimes like kidnapping would continue to prevail in Nigeria until pragmatic measures are taken to deter their occurrence as well as penalize their commission



  • Background of the study

The global phenomenon of kidnapping is as early as human history, perpetrated with certain scenarios and differences.  Kidnapping  is  the  illegal  abduction  of  an  individual  or  group  of people for a ransom or other criminal act. In the context of Nigeria, kidnapping was rare prior to the 1990s, which were not recorded on the Crime trends on Eighth United Nations Survey on  Criminal  Justice  System  Operation  conducted  in  2002  through  United  Nations  Office  on Crime  and  Drugs  (Obarisiagbon  &  Aderinto,  2018).  The  intensified  wave  of  kidnapping emanated in Nigeria in February of 2006 via abduction of foreign employees working for the multinational  oil  companies  in  the  region  of  Niger  Delta.  The kidnaps were portrayed as  a message to the  Nigerian government and the international community over the region's alleged exploitation and marginalization (Akpan, 2010). Ever since, the menacing impacts absorb the core  and  peripheral  of  the  Nigerian  criminal  system,  affecting  the  young,  aged,  locals,  and foreigners for a ransom or other unlawful activity. The catastrophe of the kidnapping phenomenon has devastated the nooks and crannies of the Nigerian  state.  Based  on  the  report  from  the  UN office  on  crimes  and  drugs,  the  trends  of incessant  abductions  revealed  that  the  menacing  kidnaps  in  Nigeria  in  the  fourth  quarter  of 2016 were rate at 29.00 value and changed at an average 14.37%, it intensified to 65.00 in the fourth quarter of 2017 and changed at 66.67%, it also escalated to 40.00 in the fourth quarter of 2018 and change at an average rate of 37.93% (Knoema, 2018). The menace's intensification has bedeviled the nation, recruiting idle-minded individuals venturing viciously into the act. The country has been perceived as the hotbed and volatile of catastrophic heinous crimes in West Africa, which has ruined its reputation abroad. Notably, in 2006 the country was ranked 11th among 12 high kidnapping  nations  worldwide (Christi,  2008).  Relatively, the nation evolved second in Africa, After South Africa (Adagbabiri& Okolie, 2018). Based on the recent report by crime index mid-year (2018), Nigeria was 14thin the world and 3rdin Africa. The study aims to elaborate on the impacts of  kidnapping  on  Nigerian  external  relations,  its  effects  on  the  country`s  image  in  the international  community,  impediment  of  tourism  investment,  and  its  deterrence  of  Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Provided some panaceas and measures to tackle security threat in the country  so  that  our  neighbouring  countries  and  the  international  community  can  view  our efforts in fighting vicious crimes such as kidnapping in the country, in order to create a safe and  transparent  environment  for  foreign  direct  investment,  promote  economic  growth, resuscitate   development   and   strengthen   a   bilateral   and   multilateral   relationship   with neighbouring nationand other countries of the world(Ibrahim et al.,2020). According to Okoli & Agada, (2014); Imhonopi & Urim, (2016); Ihe, (2018); Samuel, (2019); Ibrahim & Ahmad, (2020), the incessant incidences of kidnapping have incurred immense threat to the government, the security agencies, and all related stakeholders. Therefore, the present study focus on the socioeconomic impact of the phenomenon. The Nigerian senate president urges the need for reforming and restructuring Nigerian security architecture as a result of the deadly insecurity terrorizing the country (Umoru 2019). Imposed Nigeria into the United States visa ban countries (Olaniyi 2020). The Senate President warned that the current insecurity situation in the country was crippling the socioeconomic activities and scared away investors, which left the development of Nigeria in stagnation. Thus, he called for a concerted effort from all arms of government to tackle the problem (Umoru 2019). According to Asuquo, (2009), the term “kidnapping” is complex and transitional due to its state-to-state scenario as well as jurisdictional criteria. Ugwuoke, (2011) and Walsh & Poole, (2019) has described the phenomenon as ‘abducting or capturing away of a person intentionally to deprive them of personal freedom. Generally, kidnapping comprises capturing and detaining an individual against his or her will, usually in an extension of other criminal intentions. Abraham, (2010) has further illustrated that kidnapping is of two kinds: simple and aggravated. The latter is rampant in Nigeria and is more unsafe because it contains both physical and psychological suffering and deprivations, it really might be difficult for most Nigerians to utter which of aggravated kidnapping and armed robbery is the most dreaded and feared crime in the country.


The incident of kidnapping has affected Nigeria’s image as a nation abroad. The global system of mobile communication (GSM) provides the mechanism through which kidnappers use in communicating and negotiating with relations of the kidnapped victims to obtained ransom for freedom. Sometimes, the criminals collect the money and still kill their victims especially if the victim(s) recognized the kidnappers thereby impoverishing the economy by scaring away both local and foreign investors (Udoh, 2012). This has negatively affected socioeconomic development and also increased other social vices in Nigeria (Okorie-Ajah, Nwokeoma & Okpan, 2018). Kidnapping is an offence that is punishable by law in Nigeria. The legal provision is that anybody involved in this act is to face a penalty of 10 years imprisonment. Some states in Nigeria like Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo and Rivers have all passed into law in a bill term “Prohibition of Hostage Taking and Related Offences Law”, with death penalty as punishment for offenders (Ubong, 2013). Kidnapping in Nigeria s takes the forms of seizing, detaining, unlawful, force or fraud and remove a person to an undisclosed location against his or her will and usually for use as a hostage to collect ransom (Umoren, 2009; cited in Udoh, 2012). In Nigeria it has become a life threatening ailment, and a critical variable vitiating national development (Dodo, 2010). It is in view of this that the study examines the political economy of kidnapping and its impact of insecurity in Nigeria.


The study has one main objective which is sub-divided into general and specific objective, the general objective is to examine the political economy of kidnapping and its impact on insecurity in Nigeria. The specific objectives are;

  1. To examine the effect of kidnapping on Nigeria foreign direct investment
  2. To ascertain the relationship between kidnapping and political development of Nigeria democratic process
  • To examine the impact of kidnapping on Nigeria political economic development
  1. To proffer suggested solutions to the identified problem

The following research questions where formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study;

  1. Does kidnapping have any effect on Nigeria foreign direct investment?
  2. Is there any significant relationship between kidnapping and political economy development of Nigeria democratic process?
  • Is there any impact of kidnapping on Nigeria political economic development?

The following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study

H0: kidnapping does not have any effect on Nigeria foreign direct investment

H1: kidnapping does have an effect on Nigeria foreign direct investment

H0: there is no significant relationship between kidnapping and political economy development of Nigeria democratic process

H2: there is a significant relationship between kidnapping and political economy development of Nigeria democratic process


Kidnapping has now become a generic word both in public and private discuss going by its prevalence in the country. Literarily, the word, which has become notorious, putrid and nauseating in the ears of virtually everyone is derived from “kid” meaning; child and “nab” which means; to snatch. Adewale (2009) pointed out that kidnapping now appears to be an emerging concern in Nigeria though it is not a new phenomenon. It is as old as the word itself. But the motive may vary from country to country. The study will serve as a guide to a better and safe Nigeria which will eventually lead to positive fight against insecurity in Nigeria. As the study is focused on a particular region, It will help the government of the state to understand the impediments to the control of kidnapping activities in the state and as well as implementing possible solutions to be a better Nigeria where all and sundry will live safely. Finally, it will be an added research work and literature on political economy of kidnapping for ransom and the danger of top-bottom approach to security.


The scope of the study covers the political economy of kidnapping and its impact on insecurity in Nigeria. But in the course of the study, there are some factors that limit the scope of the study;

(a)Availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.

(b)Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

(c)Finance: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.


Political economy

Political economy is an interdisciplinary branch of the social sciences that focuses on the interrelationships among individuals, governments, and public policy. Political economists study how economic theories such as capitalism, socialism, and communism work in the real world.


Kidnapping is the unlawful transportation, exportation and confinement of a person against their will. It can include anything from tying someone up, gagging them, or stuffing them in a box.


Ransom is the practice of holding a prisoner or item to extort money or property to secure their release, or the sum of money involved in such a practice


Security is freedom from, or resilience against, potential harm caused by others.


Insecurity is the lack of confidence or assurance; self-doubt: He is plagued by insecurity. The quality or state of being insecure; instability: the insecurity of her financial position


This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion and also recommendations made of the study.