Frank Mba, spokesperson of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), says kidnapping is an enterprising venture for terrorist organisations.
Speaking in an interview with Daily Trust published on Saturday, Mba said kidnapping is an opportunistic crime used as fund-raising for clandestine groups.
He said: “There are several strands of kidnapping in Nigeria. There is kidnapping as an opportunistic crime, as a fall-out of militancy in the Niger Delta, as a fall-out of the terrorist insurgency in the North, kidnapping that is a tactical fund-raising tool for terrorist organizations and kidnapping as purely an economic crime. Several criminogenic factors are driving kidnapping in Nigeria.
“Some of them include unemployment, socio-political and economic exclusion, drug abuse, the proliferation of light weapons, poor funding of the police and other law enforcement agencies, radicalization and violent extremism, the culture of political violence/thuggery, the collapse of family values, among others.”
According to Mba, addressing youth unemployment and investing in social infrastructure would significantly solve the issue of kidnapping in the country.
“A multi-dimensional policy trust aimed at addressing the massive youth unemployment in the country. For example, investment in sports development, strengthening of local government administration, job creation, investment in agriculture and entrepreneurial skills, etc.
“Also, implementing pragmatic and sustainable counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation programmes, political and economic inclusion of the youth are points. Again, deliberate expansion of security infrastructure across the country like building more police stations in local communities and proper funding of the police and other law enforcement agencies would help.
“Provision of modern crime fighting tools and technology, synergy among law enforcement agencies, building regional multi-dimensional platforms for tackling crimes, for example, the use of the instrumentality of the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) to tackle the trans-national challenges usually associated with the illicit transactions connected to kidnapping like prostitution, human trafficking and money laundering.
“Tackling the challenge of drug abuse and strengthening security at our borders to tackle the proliferation of illicit weapons. Also, 261 kidnapping suspects have been arrested in Nigeria with 131 of them arrested within the first three months of the introduction of ‘Operation Puff Adder’.”