A Nigerian political risk analysis firm, SBM Intelligence, has estimated that about $18M has been paid as ransom money in less than 10 years across the country.
The firm claimed that the massive amount was paid to kidnappers mostly by families of the victims and the Nigerian government between June 2011 and May 2020.
Ikemesit Effiong, the head of research at the SBM, told Aljazeera and BBC that the motivation of the kidnappers appeared to be purely economic.
“They don’t seem political. The high rate of poverty in this country has led many to resort to such criminal activities for economic survival,” Effiong said.
The report, titled ‘Nigeria’s Kidnap Problem: The Economics of the Kidnap Industry in Nigeria’ also highlighted the breakdown according to states and regions in Nigeria.
“Between June 2011 and end of March 2020, What we have found shows that between June 2011 and the end of March 2020, at least $18.34 million has been paid to kidnappers as ransom,” the report read.
“Even more frightening is that the larger proportion of that figure ( just below $11 million), was paid out between January 2016 and March 2020, indicating that kidnapping is becoming more lucrative.”
According to the report, Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers, all states in the South-south Niger Delta region of the country were three of the top 10 states with the highest number of reported kidnap incidents in Nigeria.
Kaduna State was listed in the report as having the second-highest rate of kidnapping incidents in Nigeria while Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory occupied 11th position.
“Kaduna – the state with the second-highest number of incidents – also has a significant history of violence, especially along its connecting road to Abuja,” the report revealed.
Kidnapping for ransom has become a lucrative job for criminals and terrorist organisations across Nigeria, especially in the Northern part of the country.
The region has seen a number of school abductions. Individuals and groups were also kidnapped and released after payment of ransom.
The figures given by the SBM may not be accurate due to the number of unreported cases of kidnappings in the country.
Also, the government did not disclose the amount it paid to the kidnappers for the release of schoolchildren abducted in northern Nigeria.
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