Nigeria’s Kidnappings Show Urgent Need for Reforms

By Emily Thompson

At least 137 school children who were kidnapped by armed gunmen in Nigeria earlier this month have been released. There is widespread reporting that nearly all the hostages have been released even though it was originally claimed that 300 were kidnapped. It is unclear why there is a discrepancy in these numbers.

The governor of Nigeria’s Kaduna state Uba Sani confirmed in a TV interview aired Sunday on Nigeria’s Channels Television said he had met with the children’s families.

“I am happy, the families are happy, we are all happy the children have been rescued,” he said.

On March 7, more than 300 students were abducted by armed bandits on motorcycles who stormed the LEA Primary and Secondary School in Kuriga village, in Kaduna’s Chikun district.

Now, nearly half of them have been rescued, while the other half remains in captivity. One of the teachers taken from Kuriga reportedly died in captivity.

“In the early hours of March 24, the military, working with local authorities and government agencies across the country in a coordinated search and rescue operation, rescued the hostages,” Maj Gen Edward Buba said in a statement.

A security source said the students had been freed in a forest and were being escorted to Kaduna’s capital for medical tests before being reunited with their families.

“There are here 131 students, six others are currently being hospitalized and will be eventually discharged when they get better,” said Major General MLD Saraso of the Nigerian army.

He said one of the 138 people abducted, a school staff member, had died in captivity. The army announced on Sunday it had rescued 137 hostages – 76 female and 61 male – in the neighbouring state of Zamfara, days before a deadline to pay a 1 billion naira ($690,000) ransom for their release.

At least 1,400 students have been kidnapped from Nigerian schools since 2014, when Boko Haram militants seized hundreds of schoolgirls from Borno state’s Chibok village. In recent years, abductions have been concentrated in the country’s northwestern and central regions, where dozens of armed groups often target villagers and travelers for ransom, according to an AP report.

In response to escalating calls to address the rampant issue of mass kidnappings, President Bola Tinubu has pledged that his government is actively formulating and implementing comprehensive strategies to safeguard our educational institutions. His aim is to transform these schools back into secure havens for learning, distancing them from becoming hotspots for arbitrary kidnappings.

While Tinubu has firmly declared his commitment to facilitating the release of kidnapped children without succumbing to the demands of paying ransoms, despite his stance, it is an open secret that ransoms are frequently paid in such incidents, typically negotiated by the victims’ families. This practice occurs against a backdrop where official acknowledgment of ransom payments is exceedingly uncommon in Nigeria – leading to even more kidnappings.

Furthermore, the pursuit of justice by families or victims in instances of mass kidnappings faces significant hurdles, and arrests are notably infrequent. Victims often find their release through the anguish and desperation of their families, who are left with no choice but to arrange ransom payments. If there are any negotiations involving government and security officials, they can include controversial agreements leading to the release of criminal gang members.

This complex and dangerous situation highlights the challenging landscape in which President Tinubu’s administration seeks to enforce its bold strategies for the cessation of kidnappings and the restoration of peace and security in the nation’s schools.

But in the last decade more than 8,000 people have been killed by vigilante motorcycle gangs in the states of Kebbi, Sokoto, Niger and Zamfara, according to the International Crisis Group. These gangs often cross Nigeria’s border with Niger, evading security and carrying out their atrocious attacks.

Tinubu’s plan is ambitious but unless he can stop the gangs from kidnapping and murdering Nigeria’s citizens, there will be no hope for security or progress.

Strengthening law enforcement capabilities is paramount. This involves not only increasing the number and training of police and security forces but also improving their operational effectiveness through better intelligence-gathering, analysis, and community policing strategies. Enhancing the judiciary system to ensure swift and fair trials would likely deter potential criminals through the assurance of accountability.

Tinubu must also address the root causes of crime in the country. Many kidnappings and murders stem from socio-economic inequalities, unemployment, and political instability. Initiatives aimed at economic development, poverty alleviation, and education may possibly reduce the incentives for criminal behavior. This includes creating job opportunities, improving educational facilities, and ensuring equitable access to resources and services.

Corruption is a major issue of course and unless Nigeria gets a grip on this crucial issue, the problem of kidnappings will continue as high-level government officials benefit and receive money in exchange for preventing any crackdown.

Implementing these strategies requires strong political will, the eradication of corruption, widespread policing, a stronger judiciary, coordination among various sectors of government and society, and sustained effort and resources. Only then can Nigeria hope for a society where the rule of law is respected, and citizens feel safe and empowered.

Become a Patron!
Or support us at SubscribeStar
Donate cryptocurrency HERE

Subscribe to Activist Post for truth, peace, and freedom news. Follow us on SoMee, Telegram, HIVE, Minds, MeWe, Twitter – X, Gab, and What Really Happened.

Provide, Protect and Profit from what’s coming! Get a free issue of Counter Markets today.

Activist Post Daily Newsletter

Subscription is FREE and CONFIDENTIAL
Free Report: How To Survive The Job Automation Apocalypse with subscription