The abduction and captivity of a person, typically to obtain ransom, the crime of unlawfully seizing and carrying away a person by force or fraud, or seizing and detaining a person against his or her will with an intent to carry that person away at a later time, often caused by unemployment, poverty, illiteracy, greed, politics, and corruption, is referred to as kidnapping.
In recent months, mass kidnapping for ransom has become endemic causing heightening fear for the welfare of students, and low level of school enrolment. A lack of security has left many schools exposed to kidnapping.
Out of many damages caused by kidnapping, psychological trauma is a key damage on the victims. The negative psychological effects of being abducted are huge. Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) may last a lifetime, due to what the kidnappers make them pass through like brainwashing, hypnosis, physical abuse, torture or even rape. Also, aside psychological trauma, fear limits the people’s live and actions. They will always move with caution as they do not know who might be the next target.
Nigeria’s Terrorism Act 2011 prescribes 10 years imprisonment for hostage-taking, thereby classifying kidnapping as an act of terrorism. It is to that end that the Senate proposed the raising of the punishment for the offence of kidnapping from the current maximum 10 years imprisonment to life imprisonment.
But the law alone is not enough to tackle the issue. The Nigerian government should ensure the training of anti-kidnapping agents, monitor the activities of the police and ensure punishment of offenders, as well as create as many jobs as possible for the youths. Generating jobs for the youth can have a huge impact in the fight against kidnapping, because when people are gainfully employed, they will not be criminally minded.
Department of Mass Communication,
University of Maiduguri