A research carried out in August by a geopolitical research consultancy, SBM Intelligence has revealed that about N653.7 million was paid as ransom in Nigeria between July 2021 and June 2022, for the release of kidnapped victims.
According to Premium Times, the report explains Nigeria’s security issues, including incidents of banditry and the costs associated with kidnapping for ransom.
The report titled ‘The Economics of Nigeria’s Kidnap Industry’, says, at least 500 episodes of kidnapping were recorded and 3,420 people were kidnaped across Nigeria, with 564 others killed in violence associated with abductions in the one-year period.
The report documented that N6.531 billion ($9.9 million) was demanded in ransom in the year but N653.7 million ($1.2 million) was paid as ransom for the release of captives.
”Based on what we could verify, between July 2021 and June 2022, no fewer than 3,420 people were abducted across Nigeria, with 564 others killed in violence associated with abductions. In the ensuing period, N6.531 billion was demanded in exchange for the release of captives while a fraction of that sum (N653.7 million) was paid as ransom
”As of the exchange rates between the naira and the U.S. dollar on 1 August 2022, these figures translate to $9,806,306.31 and $1,126,126.13, respectively.
”We have taken care not to include the later ransom payments for the Abuja-Kaduna train incident as most of those victims were released in July 2022.
“It was reported on 25 July, 2022 that eight Nigerian hostages parted with ₦100 million each, while a Pakistani hostage paid ₦200 million,” the report partly read.
SBM security analyst, Confidence Isaiah, said as a result of the Nigeria’s surging rate of poverty, the high incidence of kidnapping-for-ransom is significant as Nigerians, over the past few years, have continued to overstretch themselves, scouring resources to pay huge amounts of money as ransom to kidnappers.
”Nigerians spent 62% of their salary on food in 2020, leaving relatively little for discretionary and disposable income Nigerians have become increasingly poorer over the past few years as a result of the sacrifices they have made for their loved ones, and kidnappers are adjusting by occasionally demanding ransom payments in forms other than cash,” he said.
The SBM’s report in a regional breakdown, recorded that out of the 500 episodes of abduction reported between July 2021 and June 2022, a total of 177 cases were recorded in six of the seven states in the North-west. This denotes the region as the most impacted by banditry and kidnapping-for-ransom in the nation.
However, north-western Kebbi State did not document any reported incident during the period under review. Kaduna State recorded 84 cases, the highest number of incidents recorded in any state in the region.
Furthermore, 29 incidents — or 5.8 per cent of the 500 total kidnapping incidents — were reported in the North-east. Only Gombe State had no reported incident during the period.
The number of kidnapping-for-ransom cases that were reported was 108, or 21.6 per cent, in the North-central region.
The South-west had 54 total incidents of abduction or 10.8 per cent.
In a nutshell, there were 67 kidnapping incidents during the one-year period, or 13.4 percent of all reported cases, in the oil-rich south-south region.
The South-east region, which has also withstood security problems over the years, registered a total of 62 kidnapping cases between July 2021 and June 2022, or 12.4 percent of all reported cases in the country.
SBM further clarified that the figures were compiled from media reports detailing the sum paid to abductors. It added that the numbers were most probably higher than what was reported, but stuck to what ”we could verify”.