A STUDY OF KIDNAPPING IN NIGERIA
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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
All over the world societies have had to deal with criminality in various forms. Some of these forms of criminality have proved a great challenge to the society and stretched the debate on what crime is. The concept of crime has a long history in the civilization of man. Some religious communities see crime in the perspective of sin (Wikipedia Encyclopedia 2010).Some highlighted the issue of crime as sin in a mythological or legendary account of the origin of man. One of such is the Quran and Biblical records of the fall of man which tells the story of Adam and Eve’s eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden (King James Bible). There are disparities on the concept of crime with regards to people and places (Hulsman, 2000: 2).Nevertheless,when it bears its effect upon individuals and national security, it often becomes an issue of national concern. Some of these crimes have evolved through societal and legal processes giving some form of societal idiosyncrasies to some criminal acts.
One of such criminal act is kidnapping. Defining kidnapping poses a number of definitional problems in relations to a country’s legal and moral viewpoints as well as the availability of variances such as hostage taking and hijacking. However, in the context of this paper, Kidnapping in criminal law is an offence involving taking and conveying away a person against his or her will, either by force, fraud or intimidation (Wikipedia Encyclopesia, 2010). The issue of kidnapping however gained its early prominence in England when kids were abducted (EtymologyOnline, “Kidnap”). The word kidnapping thereby culminated from the phrase “kid nabbing” and was first recorded in the year 1673 (EtymologyOnline, “Kidnap”). Over the years, it has taken different forms with regard to the reason for carrying out such action by perpetrators.
Kidnapping is a global phenomenon which has been of great challenge to every government of affected countries. Some areas of concern to most government and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are the relationship of kidnapping to the issue of human trafficking and prostitution (SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking of Women and Chilren for Prostitution). In recent times, the crime of kidnapping has been linked to political intents where victims are kidnapped to push forward a political statement (Cambodian Law of Kidnapping and Trafficking).It has also been related to the issue of terrorism which has threatened global security (Osaghae, 2007: 19-22). Another reason for kidnapping which has recently gained prominence in Nigeria is kidnapping for ransom. Each and every one of these reasons has in one way or the other threatened the national security of countries where such crime is perpetrated. Its resultant effects have been the proliferation of arms and the parting of large sums of money to kidnappers from victims. This has therefore been a major threat to national security of any nation.
As a matter of importance to the survival of any nation, the issue of national security becomes paramount in the policies of government. This is as a result of the fact that the survival of the political, economic, social and diplomatic sovereignty of any nation depends highly on the national security of that nation (Yun, Hostage Taking and Kidnapping in Terrorism). The concept of national security is wide with different definitions; as there is no universally accepted definition of national security. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo defined National Security as “the aggregation of the security interests of all individuals, communities, ethnic groups, political entities and institutions which inhabits the territory of our great country Nigeria” (A Priority for U.S National Security and African Development).
A more comprehensive and all-emcompassing world-view definition of national security was made by President Barack Obama in the context of the US which can also be adopted by other nations. He defined national security as the security of the US, its citizens, partners and allies, a strong innovative and growing economy and an open international economic system that promotes opportunity and prosperity. He added that national security also encompass the respect for universal values at home and around the world and an international order that promotes peace, security, and opportunity through stronger cooperation
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