BusinessDay

Nigeria: Over 3000 people abducted, N654m ransom paid in one year – Report

 

Between the period of July 2021 and June 2022, no fewer than 3,420 people were abducted across Nigeria, with 564 others killed in violence associated with abductions, according to a new report by SBM Intelligence.

The report titled ‘The Economic of Nigeria’s Kidnap Industry’ noted that in the same period, N6.5billion was demanded in exchange for the release of captives while a fraction of that sum (N653.7million) was paid as ransom.

“These figures are particularly important because of the rising poverty levels in the country. In 2020, Nigerians spent 62 percent of their income on food, leaving very little for disposable income and nondiscretionary spending,” the report stated.

The report added that over the past few years, Nigerians have become even poorer, following how much they have had to part with for their loved ones. The kidnappers are adapting, and now sometimes ask for ransom payments in forms other than money.

The Africa focused geopolitical research and strategic communications consulting firm also disclosed that they did not include the later ransom payments for the Abuja-Kaduna train incident that happened in May, as most of those victims were released in July 2022.

“It was reported on July 25, that eight Nigerian hostages parted with N100 million each, while a Pakistani hostage paid N200 million.

Read also: Abuja-Kaduna train: We met all terrorists demands they failed to release all victims – FG

For more than a decade, Nigeria’s numerous internal security crises such as mass abductions, kidnappings and violent crimes have intensified affecting economic growth in Nigeria particularly for agricultural sectors.

Analysts at SBM said these abductions, which are also almost evenly distributed across the country, have an impact on the Nigerian economy, as it has limited business and investment in the heaviest-hit areas.

“This ranges from travel to starting new businesses and attracting investments. On one hand, abductions in different regions can be linked to specific groups, either for ideological reasons, to extract concessions or for ransoms,” they stated in the report.

The report highlighted that the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram are most active in kidnappings in Borno State, where they often target travelers and aid workers.

“ISWAP has begun to establish its presence in the North-West, illustrated by its daring attack on the Kaduna-Abuja train line where it kidnapped 72 passengers.

“As of the end of July, 37 hostages had been released for various sums starting from ₦100 million per abductee.

“On another hand, it appears that the bulk of kidnappings are done by disparate criminal gangs solely for ransoms,” It concluded.

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