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Nationwide Spread of Abductions Raises Alarms in Major Cities

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The menace of abductions, once confined to the North-Western region, has now infiltrated major cities across Nigeria, signaling a disturbing escalation in criminal activities. Formerly associated with operations on highways and rural communities, criminal elements, notably bandits, have shifted their focus to urban centers, including Lagos, Abuja, and others, disrupting both social and economic activity.

Reflecting on Notable Occurrences of 2023

The tragic killing of four abducted victims from Sagwari Estate Layout in Dutsen-Alhaji, Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, triggered widespread outrage. The bandits responsible for the abduction demanded an exorbitant N700 million for the release of seven family members. The situation worsened when a 400-level student, Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar, was brutally murdered for a perceived delay in ransom payment.

As of the latest update, five sisters, including Najeebah and Nadherah, are still in captivity, with the kidnappers increasing the ransom demand to N100 million for each captive. In desperate efforts to secure their release, the Al-Kadriyar family sought financial support from well-meaning Nigerians.

The wave of abductions extended beyond the Al-Kadriyar family, claiming the life of 13-year-old Folashade Ariyo, abducted along with her mother and siblings. Two other unidentified hostages were brutally killed, their bodies found near a former military checkpoint in Kaduna State.

 

Kidnappings Across Nigeria: A Grim Picture

The year 2023 witnessed a staggering toll on lives and security, with 9,754 reported deaths and 4,049 abduction cases nationwide, according to the 2023 Nigeria Security Report by Beacon Consulting. Specific instances highlighted the vulnerability of citizens, such as the abduction of 10 passengers along Enugu-Ezike Road in Enugu State and the kidnapping of 23 residents in Dei-Dei community, Abuja.

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The North-East topped the list in fatalities, recording 3,412 cases, followed by the North-West and North-Central with 2,290 and 2,002 fatalities, respectively. The alarming trend of abductions showed the North-West leading with 1,728 cases, followed by the North-Central with 1,006 and 795 cases in the North-East.

A report titled ‘The Economics of Nigeria’s Kidnap Industry: Follow the Money’ by SB Morgan revealed that between July 2022 and June 2023, over 3,620 people were abducted in 582 incidents. Ransom demands reached at least N5 billion, with an actual payment of over N302 million reported.

 

Kidnappings in Major Cities: A Disturbing Trend

The kidnapping epidemic has reached major cities like Lagos and Abuja, challenging the sense of security in these urban centers. Cases in Lagos include the abduction of 13-year-old Miracle Adereti, a schoolgirl kidnapped on her way home. Ejike Conversion, a car dealer in the Ladipo Spare Parts Market, and an unidentified businessman in Ago Palace were also victims of abduction.

In Abuja, the family of a 13-year-old schoolgirl, Folorunsho Ariyo, faced a tragic loss despite raising N7 million of the N60 million ransom demanded. The situation remains dire, with more lives at risk and families pleading for intervention.

 

Calls for Urgent Action: Leaders and Citizens Speak Out

First Lady Oluremi Tinubu called upon security agencies to intensify efforts in rescuing hostages, emphasizing the paramount concern for the safety and swift return of victims. Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar expressed distress over the unchecked reign of bandits and kidnappers, linking the rise in poverty and hunger to the escalating insecurity.

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While citizens and leaders appeal for urgent intervention, security agencies and the government face mounting pressure to address the rising tide of abductions that has gripped the nation. The need for collaborative efforts, intelligence deployment, and dynamic security measures becomes increasingly apparent as Nigeria grapples with a growing security crisis.


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