Beijing Law Review

Volume 11, Issue 1 (March 2020)

ISSN Print: 2159-4627   ISSN Online: 2159-4635

Google-based Impact Factor: 0.38  Citations  h5-index & Ranking

Back to the Past: Evolution of Kidnapping and Hostage Taking in the Niger Delta, Nigeria

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DOI: 10.4236/blr.2020.111015    648 Downloads   5,281 Views  Citations


Kidnapping is now a disturbing security problem in Nigeria. Using ideas pieced together from newspapers, magazines and interviews this paper traces the origin of the problem to the crisis in the oil-rich Niger Delta region in the 1990s. The paper discusses how the Niger Delta militants used it as a pressure tactic for getting the government to address the grievances of oil pollution in their communities. The victims, at the initial stage, were expatriate oil workers. They were taken and political demands made for their release. In the second stage of the problem’s evolution, the militants collected ransoms for releasing their captives and the money used it to finance their insurgency against the Nigerian state. The third stage of the evolution was when it was hijacked by some criminal elements that turned it to a form of extortionate terrorism now difficult to manage. At this stage, the oil workers, members of their families, rich community members and politicians were kidnapped and ransoms taken before releasing them. The problem soon extended to the other parts of the country from the Niger Delta because of the poor way this form of violent extremism was managed by the Nigerian state. Not even the amnesty granted the Niger Delta militants in 2009 and in several other parts of Nigeria (where kidnapping now takes place) has been good enough to stop what now appears to be career criminality.

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Albert, I. , Danjibo, N. and Albert, O. (2020) Back to the Past: Evolution of Kidnapping and Hostage Taking in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Beijing Law Review, 11, 211-226. doi: 10.4236/blr.2020.111015.

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