Kidnapping has risen steeply in the last few years in several parts of the country. The unusual wave cuts across every socio-economic class, and most commuters now prefer to travel by air or train.

In the past, kidnapping was traced to militants in the South or Boko Haram in the North East.

At the moment, there is a dramatic drift, and the fear of kidnapping is far more pronounced among residents of Abuja, Kaduna, Edo, Imo, Niger, Katsina, Zamfara, Rivers and Cross River states.

Before now, the rich were the main victims of kidnapping, and perpetrators were interested in keeping their victims alive to extract the maximum ransom possible, but now, poor farmers, villagers, students and petty traders are among the list of many victims.

“Overall, Nigeria is becoming less safe each year. Kidnapping has increased in almost all states, but the sharpest rises have been in Kaduna, Rivers, Katsina, Zamfara and Taraba, while only Bayelsa in the entire country saw a fall in the number of incidents,” said a report from SB Morgen, a Nigerian consulting firm using data gathered from a variety of open sources.

The report said the pool of potential victims had greatly expanded. Now, even poor victims are sometimes kidnapped indiscriminately. Relations struggle to pay ransoms as victims are likely to be killed.

Between 2011 and 2020, it concludes that over $18 million had been paid in ransom. The amount of ransom accelerated in the latter part of that period-between 2016 and 2020, around $11 million was paid out. It shows that kidnapping has spread from the oil patch to the entire country.

SB Morgen expressed concern that kidnapping will increase as Nigeria falls into recession driven by the coronavirus pandemic and the fall in oil prices, putting more people out of work.

At the moment, most victims are so poor that ransoms are low. The report says ransoms can range from $1,000 to $150,000, depending on the financial status of the victim and their family.


In Kaduna State, Information gathered shows that kidnapping activities have become a worrisome phenomenon as it has forced many to flee their ancestral homes in search of safe areas. This is even as many are forced to sell their properties to raise funds to pay ransom to rescue their loved ones from  abductors.

Kidnapping activities particularly along the Kaduna-Abuja road is another worrisome issue calling for urgent and proactive measures. It has also led to an increase in transport fares at both motor parks and train stations as many now using rail transport.

Although relevant security agencies have given assurances to safeguard lives and property of citizens, much is yet to be seen of such assurances as activities of kidnappers, bandits and armed robbers have continued almost unabated. Residents and security agencies have however risen to the challenge. Only very recently, two residents were shot dead when kidnappers stormed Juji community in Chikun local government area of Kaduna State during a kidnap attempt. This occurred a few days after four (three girls and a boy) JSS 3 students of Prince Academy and a teacher were kidnapped in another axis of the same Chikun local government area of the state.

A source within the community who does not want his name mentioned told reporters that the kidnappers came at about 11:00 pm, shooting for hours.

The source said the two unlucky youths from Baban-Saura, a neighbouring community, were shot dead by the angry criminals while assisting to foil the kidnap.

“We had a terrible experience. The kidnappers came again but we resisted them despite the intimidation because they were shooting continuously for hours. We have been living in fear in Juji. They have been kidnapping people for ransom. We have made up our minds to resist them no matter the intimidation.

“I think they rely on the poor road network and vast forest behind KRPC. They failed this time as they were unable to kidnap, anyone,” the source said.

As part of measures to curb activities of kidnappers, the Nigerian Army last week deployed 300 female soldiers to boost security along the Abuja-Kaduna highway. The Kaduna State Police Command arrested and paraded 157 suspected kidnappers, armed bandits, rapists, robbers, cattle rustlers and looters of public and private warehouses.

The Commissioner of Police, Umar Muri, while parading them at the command’s headquarters, said 65 guns including 24 AK-47 rifles were among other weapons recovered from them.

Muri said aside from the arrests made between August and end of October, 116 kidnap victims were rescued while two armed bandits were killed.

“I am delighted to inform you that the command in the last few weeks, in its onerous task of securing lives and properties of law-abiding citizens of Kaduna State, has succeeded in arresting 157 suspects for various crimes which include armed banditry, armed robbery, kidnapping, cattle rustling, culpable homicide, rape, shop breaking, looting of govt’s/private warehouses, theft, to mention but a few.

“Let me inform you that some of the suspects arrested have confessed voluntarily to various roles they played in the commission of the respective crimes and will be arraigned in the court of competent jurisdiction on completion of investigations and legal advice from the ministry of justice where necessary.

“On drug peddling, I wish to inform you that the arrested suspects mentioned in my last press briefing on July 22, 2020 have been charged to court and are now awaiting trial. Meanwhile, more suspects have been arrested within the period under review and are currently undergoing investigation with the recovery of 75 bags of dry leaves equivalent to 1,500 kilogrammes suspected to be Indian hemp.

“In view of the above, I want to reassure the good people of Kaduna State that the command will continue to be alive to its responsibility in ensuring that crime is brought to the barest minimum,” he said.

Although there are still silent cases of kidnapping in the state, it is no longer as pronounced as it used to be, as security agencies are not leaving any stone unturned while the residents are also at alert.



Insecurity has become a worrisome issue in Katsina State, especially with the dimension it took recently, raising more tension among residents.

There is no doubt that kidnapping, cattle rustling, rape and other forms of crime  are increasing daily, posing great danger to the socio-economic and political well being of the state, especially in: Faskari, Batsari, Sabuwa, Safana, Dandume, Kankara and others.

Kidnapping for ransom has attained a serious dimension, hindering farming and business activities and discouraging domestic and foreign investors, thereby tending to retard the state’s development.

Governor Aminu Bello Masari took a series of measures to curtail insecurity. One of such steps was the peace deal signed with bandits in 2019, after which the bandits betrayed the accord and the government resolved to resort to military offensive as the best option.

This led to the deployment of security operatives, and indeed, the establishment of Operation Sahel Sanity security outfit at the Army Super Camp in Faskari was part of the decision to reduce crime in the state. Normal activities began to pick up until the sudden kidnap of 433 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara on December 11, 2020.

According to Governor Masari, the release of the students was as a result of a negotiation committee he set up, comprising his security adviser, Ahmed Ibrahim Katsina, the  commissioner of police, Sanusi Buba, and other heads of security agencies as well as the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN).

The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) which converged in Katsina to equally show their appreciation to the governor thanked him for recognizing the seriousness of the situation and keeping his promise of ensuring the safe return of the students.

The incident also made the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohamed Adamu Abubakar, to visit the state where he had an emergency meeting with stakeholders to strategize on the a way forward to make the state crime- free.

The IGP said, “For us to ensure Katsina is free, I felt to re-strategize with the officers and men, especially the tactical units, operational commanders, the DPOs and the commander of the Operation Puff Adder, so that what happened should never happen again in the state.”

A source in Batsari local government area of the state said bandits are now returning to the town even amidst the presence of security operatives camped in Wagimi, 2 kilometers from Batsari, adding that the bandits are still attacking them.

According to him, last week, some bandits invaded four communities in the area and went away with 30 persons from Garin Dodo in Kasai, adding that they also abducted 10 women from Biya-Ka-Kwana village.

He said, “In Tudun Modi village, three persons were abducted while five persons were  abducted at Watangadiya village. Bandits are running riot in the area because the people are left at the mercy of criminal elements, residents of villages close to big towns are now relocating and sleeping in the towns at night only to return to their villages in the morning.”

Also commenting on the present steps, state police spokesman, SP Gambo Isah, said the command was fully poised to chase out bandits and criminal elements from the state.


In recent months, bandits have taken over villages in Niger State, especially in Niger East and North. Stories of their mode of operation and how the villagers are being abducted and killed daily continue to be told daily.

The bandits mostly attack local farmers in Shiroro, Rafi, Munya, Mariga, Rijau and Mashegu.

A few weeks ago, the village head of Madaka in Rafi local government area, Zakari Ya’u Idris, was reported dead as a result of torture in the hands of bandits barely a week after he was kidnapped from his palace on December 20, 2020 by gunmen who invaded the community where they murdered three persons including the vigilante commander.

The chief of staff to the chairman of Rafi local government area, Mohammed Mohammed, said the bandits had earlier contacted the family of the deceased to pay a ransom of N800,000 which they could not afford immediately.

He said, “While the contact was on, five of those abducted along with him were released after they paid their own ransom, and when they came back, they told us that the village head of Madaka had already been killed by the bandits.”

He said the remains of the traditional ruler were buried in the bush by the bandits.

The sad story of the village head is more pathetic considering the fact that the last abduction that took his life was the second time the bandits kidnapped him within four months. He was first abducted and held for three months before he was released a month before the last abduction.

Findings revealed that he was their target because he was always against his domain being used as an enclave by bandits.

It was further gathered that the bandits had camps around his domain and were constantly in battles with the vigilante group whose commander they killed while abducting the village head.

In the Same Rafi local government area, another traditional ruler, the district head of Gunna, was abducted in Yakila and is yet to regain freedom.

According to Mohammed, the gunmen are yet to get in touch with relations of the district head after the earlier ransom demanded was paid without his release.

The bandits had earlier demanded a ransom on the district head which was given to some youths to deliver but the youth were beaten and their motorcycles were seized alongside the money without releasing him.

In Munya local government area, the bandits within the period under review abducted 17 persons including the parents of the local government council chairman.

The attack was said to have occurred in the Kuchi community during which two nursing mothers and their two-week old babies were also abducted.

A businessman popularly known as Albakala who earlier relocated from the community and now resides in Minna, told journalists that four of his family members were kidnapped during the attack.

Information from our correspondents shows that the chairman of the local government area, Garba Mohammed Daza, has relocated with his family to Minna, the state capital for safety.

The member representing the constituency in the state House of Assembly, Mr. Andrew Jagaba, confirmed the incident to newsmen but said security agents had been deployed to the area.

He said, “In fact, the entire community is devastated since the incident happened, the people are now living in fear. But as I speak to you now, security agents have been mobilized to the community and are working on how to rescue the victims because they have not gone far with the people.

“The bandits struck at Tassampa village about seven kilometres from Minna where one person was abducted and two others were wounded.’’

According to Alhaji Ahmodu Danladi, the village head, the attackers invaded the community around 6:30 pm when they were observing the Sunset prayers (Magrib). Some youths who were returning from their farms during the early hours saw them on the hills. So, arriving home, they informed the people and they kept their eyes on them. Around 9 pm, they saw them flashing torch lights on hills.”

He said the discomfort made them to send some youths to approach them to find out what they were doing there at that hour. Upon arrival, the bandits opened fire on them, wounding two and kidnapping one who is yet to be released. The village head said the bandits were demanding N5 million ransom from the poor farmers.

In Shiroro, especially around Gurmana, Kukoki and other surroundings adjoining the Allawa forest, kidnapping is now a daily occurrence, a villager told our reporters, adding that it had reached a level that even the village head is involved in the negotiation.

The secretary to the state government, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane who led a high powered government delegation to Kagara to condole with the Emir of Kagara, Alhaji Salihu Tanko, and the people of the emirate over the killing of the district head of Madaka, Malam Zakari Yau Idris and the kidnap of the district head of Gunna, Alhaji Abdulhameed Mohammed who is still at large, described the incident as sad and unfortunate.

He said the government was worried about developments in the area, and was leaving no stone unturned in tackling it.

He condemned the degree of carnage and mayhem bandits and kidnappers are causing to some parts of the state and reiterated the government’s continued determination to rid the state of security threats.



Edo State residents, like some states in the South-South geo-political zone, are currently living in perpetual fear over the daily activities of kidnappers and armed robbers.

The worsening spate of kidnapping in parts of the state, especially among transporters has remained a nightmare for travellers.

Penultimate week, an 18-seater bus belonging to a popular transport company travelling from Benin to Abuja with passengers was stopped shortly before Ekpoma and kidnappers abducted the entire passengers into a forest.

The passengers were forced to call their relations for ransom while those who could not pay up within a given time were tied to trees and shot.

The reported cases of kidnapping coupled with the ease with which ransom is being paid by without security operatives tracking and arresting the criminals leave residents at the mercy of kidnappers.

Recently, the Edo State Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa, was kidnapped alongside his driver who was killed. An undisclosed ransom was paid to secure the release of the head of service.

Some of the measures the state government and the state police command adopted in the past against kidnappers terrorising motorists especially along the Benin/Lagos road was the clearing of bushes on roadsides to check the activities of criminals.

A human rights activist and coordinator, Action for Socio-political and Economic Change (ASEC), Leftist Osazee Edigin, raised alarm over the spate of insecurity in the state.

He said if Governor Godwin Obaseki uses his monthly security votes for the purpose it was meant, the insecurity situation would be addressed.

Edigin said, “The monthly security vote is enough to secure Edo people from the marauding Fulani criminal elements in our forests”.

The state police command under the then commissioner of police, Dan Mallam Mohammed, had said intelligence reports indicated that the kidnappers took advantage of the deep forest close to the expressway to hide their victims, adding that the clearing of the bush gave a proper view of the forest.

But the current commissioner of police, Mr Babatunde Kokumo, said the police and other security agencies were ready to rid the state of kidnappers and other criminal elements.



Imo State which has been relatively peaceful, lately witnessed a spike in kidnapping cases thereby creating tension and fear among the people.

This ugly scenario has resulted in the citizens beefing up their personal security to protect themselves. Most top personalities and politicians are leaving in fear as kidnappers appear to have returned to the state. However, it must be noted that previous administrations in the state set in motion a security network that confronted the menace frontally.

Consequently, the state police command has revealed that the command is doing its best to arrest the situation.

The commissioner of police, Isaac Akinmoyede, said the command was working round the clock to arrest criminals, hoodlums and bring them to book.

He said, “The command is doing its best within the limit of logistics available and will stop at nothing in maintaining peace and orderliness”.

Against the backdrop of the recent kidnapping of a catholic bishop, Rt. Rev. Moses Chikwe, the criminals appear to have destabilized the security network put in place by the command and according to the commissioner of police, the command has swung into action to redeem its image.

He stated that the kidnap of the bishop presented a serious security challenge to the command and all instruments of office would be deployed to arrest the situation.



Despite the presence of different security formations to tackle security challenges in Benue State and environs, the crime level in the state is at its peak.

Our correspondent gathered that over 18 people in different locations across the state were killed within two weeks, and this has become a source of worry to citizens.

It was also gathered that most of the attacks and killings are in Màkurdi, the capital, sending fears among residents.  Residents of Agboughul community had during an attack that claimed the lives of Barrister Moses Udam and his wife, Nkechinyere, told our correspondent that suspected armed herders in the early hours of December 15, 2020 attacked the community, killing the couple and Nyikyor Mazugu, an 88-year-old blind man living close to their apartment.

The killings came four days after suspected armed herders attacked Tse- Angbande community, a suburb of Màkurdi, killing one Ermberga Akwa and his three children while seven other members of his family sustained injuries.

According to eye witness, a survivor, Amaa Ateh, said bandits raided the community at about 11:00 pm and started shooting and his wife, Anna, heard gunshots and woke him up but the bandits invaded his house after killing the three persons and shooting others.

He said, “At that time, I rushed to pick my children but all of them were asleep and it was not easy for me to carry them, my wife carried the last one and ran into the bush, so for me to leave my children and run I couldn’t, so I climbed the ceiling, about eight of them entered my room and woke my first daughter beat her to show them where I was and threatened to kill her if she didn’t, but she insisted that she didn’t know where I was, and they ransacked my house and took away N200,000 which my wife kept to travel to Abaji market.’’

Generally, armed herders have changed their strategy of attacking and killing their victims only, they now attack, kill and rob victims of their belonging, especially money.

Governor Samuel Ortom who visited the community alongside some top security personnel said the state under his watch would not succumb to attacks by terrorists whether they are jihadists or militia herders whose sole target is the destruction of lives and property.

“The pattern of attacks and killings barely four days after a similar incident at Tse-Angbande was unfortunate and bore the handwriting of mindless jihadists who had set out to overrun the state,” he said.

The governor noted that the series of attacks was a grand plan to whittle down operations of the Livestock Guards and Agro Rangers who are doing very well in containing attacks on communities and enforcing the ranching law of the state.

“Developed countries globally with a higher number of cattle compared to Nigeria have no cases of conflicts between herders and farmers due to ranching which is also being practiced in Benue,” he said.

He said he would continue to speak against impunity in the country. The killing of the legal luminary sparked a reaction from the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Benue State. The association threatened to sue the federal government for not living up to its responsibility of protecting the lives of Nigerians.

NBA chairman, Barrister Justin Gbagir who made the decision known during a visit to Governor Samuel Ortom to express their grievances over the killing, called on the federal government to declare a state of emergency on security in the country.

They also appealed for the establishment of a Victims Support Commission to cater for and compensate victims of various attacks in the country.


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