Monday 3 September 2012


Kidnapping has become an everyday occurrence in Nigeria particularly in the Southern part of the country. What started during the Niger-Delta struggle where oil workers, particularly the expatriates are frequently kidnapped by the militants to draw the attention of the international community to the plight of the oil producing region has become a new line of business for the criminals and team of the unemployed youth.

At the moment, kidnapping is prevalent in the South-East and South-South of Nigeria; it as an organized crime, targeting the rich people in the public for monetary gain. 

A Vice-Chancellor of one of the Universities in Nigeria was kidnapped on campus; the kidnappers received an undisclosed amount of money before his release. This is just to mention a few out of numerous high profile kidnapping for profit in Nigeria.

The Campaign for Democracy group states in its recent report that 938 people were kidnapped in the year 2011. The statement said the kidnappers collected substantial amounts from their victims ranging from $30,000 to $200,000 per individual.

The Nigerian government is working hard; fighting terrorism in the Northern part of Nigeria, and declaring war on organized and sophisticated crimes in the Southern region. There is no easy solution. The political office holders and top business executives from the region travel around with the minimum of four armed guards. Even, the men of God who are supposed to trust God for their security now rely on armed policemen for protection. The clergies and not taken things for granted. 

Over the time, the insecurity in Nigeria and the need for a personal protection has shifted additional burden on the over stretched Nigerian Police workforce. The police have the constitutional responsibility to maintain law and order, protect ordinary citizens and the VVIPS in the Nigerian society.

Hence, there is a need to educate the Nigerian public about the menace to gain the understanding on how to prevent or recover from the one that do occur.

KIDNAPPING is the illegal seizure and holding of a person for ransom.


•    It is an emergency occasioned by criminal action
•    It is traumatic and could result in loss of life if not carefully and rationally responded to.
•    It can have a serious destabilizing effect on the effected family or organization.
•    It could have serious international repercussions.


•    Business Executives and their families
•    Senior Government functionaries
•    Highly placed citizens and social elites
•    Any other person who has something that the kidnapper wants:
e.g Money, Information, Documents, Position and authority to influence political decisions.


        Immediate concerns of the plan should be:
•    Maintenance of the well-being of the affected family/organization.
•    Safety of the victim
•    Recovery of the victim
•    Quick return to normalcy


There are three categories of kidnappers, according to crime experts and behaviour scientists. The varieties do overlap; sometimes all three general types are incorporated in on case.

The political kidnapper or terrorist has publicity in mind. In order to achieve whatever political aim is desired, this person, or group, kidnaps to force governments or those with money and power to implement some change or act.

For instance, the Niger-Delta militants’ type of kidnapping was political in nature, because the kidnappers hoped to have prisoners released, and various propaganda acts performed to enhance their “image” as “liberators” of the poor. This category also includes religious, ethic or racial fanatics who act for the same motives.

a.    The insane person is the most dangerous. This person might kidnap in retaliation for having been fired from work;  for a real or imagined injury or insult from an employer; or for no real reason at all. Sometimes such sick people are motivated by a desire for fame or out of jealousy of the prominence of the person kidnapped. Their mental illness makes them extremely unpredictable; hence the danger.
b.    The criminal kidnapper usually has only quick money in mind. Though there are certainly professional criminals engaged in kidnapping, the majority of the kidnappings today are perpetrated by the amateur. Usually, amateur kidnappers are not as dangerous as the other two types, but because they are amateurs, they cannot be relied upon not to accidentally hurt or even kill the person kidnapped.
c.    The most dangerous and disturbing form of kidnapping in Nigeria are those who kidnap for ritual purposes. This act is very common in the South-West of Nigeria. Many children, women have been kidnapped without traces for several years. The mission of the kidnappers is to kill their victims and use or sell the human parts for money rituals. 


Follow the following steps immediately after a telephone kidnap alert:

a)    NOTIFY AUTHORITIES: Report the threat to:
i)    Your immediate superior or to a designated official if in an office setting.
ii)    Police
iii)    Other security agencies e.g SSS, Military Intelligence.

b)    TAKE ACTION: As directed by your superior or the police. If in doubt about the authenticity of the threat, conduct a telephone search to locate the supposed hostage. In the workplace, refer to the employee’s personal file to get information. Attempt to contact:
*    Relatives
*    Neighbours
*    Friends and Associates
*    Employers
*    School
*    Other

c)    RANSOM: Do not rush to pay ransom. Follow instructions by security agencies
d)    Nigerians are religious and believe in efficacy of prayer; encourage family to pray to build the faith.


Each of us must assume responsibility for our personal safely, as well as for the safety of our family and loved ones.

1.    Be aware of your vulnerabilities and do not be complacent or adopt an attitude of “it cannot happen to me”.
2.    Consider writing down all security guidelines for your home or office. By this you will have an excellent checklist to conduct periodic review.
3.    Review security measures at regular intervals and update/amend in line with prevailing situations.
4.    Maintain low profile always-ostentations living
5.    Prepare information sheet on each family member.
This serves as ready reference in case of emergency. The police will need photographs, biodata, fingerprints, and signature sample and voice tapes”.
6.    Vary your routes and times to and from work.
Avoid leaving signatures’.
7.    Avoid shady business deals.
8.    Instruct your family and business associates not to provide information concerning you or your family to strangers.
9.    Avoid giving unnecessary personal details in response to inquiries from information collectors that would be used in such publications as business directories, social registers, or community directories.
10.    Vary your daily routines to avoid habitual patters, which kidnappers look for. Fluctuate your travel, as to times and routes, to and from the home and office.
11.    Provide Emergency Biodata sheets for all family members
•    Complete name
•    Recent photograph
•    Addresses of primary and secondary residences, if applicable
•    Personal telephone numbers
•    Complete physical descriptions: distinguishing physical features, such as scars or other identifying and unique physical characteristics; necessary medication.
•    Banks where money may be deposited and where withdrawals may be made
•    Name of local physician, dentist, and optician.
•    Schools attended by children and teachers’ names
•    Names, addresses and telephone numbers of immediate family or other relatives who could be contacted regarding whereabouts of the family.
•    Credit card companies and card numbers
•    Profile of hobbies, clubs and other activities in which family members participate.


•    Information should be related only by the designated spokesperson.
•    Request politely but firmly that reporters protect the identities of witnesses.
•    Do not allow members of the press to enter home or office of the victim or to examine the scene of the crime.
•    Information that may be appropriate for release includes (police  must concur): name, age and relationship of the victim time of the kidnapping; method of the kidnapping; description of the kidnappers; valuables or other items stolen in conjunction with the kidnapping; and the victim’s illnesses and medication needs.
•    The year; the make; the color; and license number of family cars and the names of persons who usually drive each car.
•    Regular social activities of each family member.
•    Color photo of each family member.
•    Description of clothing usually worn.
•    Information considered essential for identification
•    Including a description of birthmarks, scars or other distinguishing features
•    Medication requirements.
•    The person’s pre-arranged code word to be used for identification purposes.
•    The names, addresses, phone numbers and work schedules of domestic employees.


Oludare Ogunlana is a security expert and president of the Global Agenda for Development


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