About N653.7 million was said to have been paid as ransom for the release of kidnap victims in Nigeria between July 2021 and June 2022, according to a report by a Lagos-based security and political risk research firm.
The report, ‘The Economics of Nigeria’s Kidnap Industry”, was conducted by SBM Intelligence and published in August. It detailed Nigeria’s security issues, including incidents of banditry and the costs associated with kidnapping for ransom.
The report said at least 500 incidents of kidnapping were recorded within the period, and 3,420 people were abducted across the country, with 564 others killed in violence associated with abductions in the one-year period.
The security report also recorded 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 stated.
In 2020, SMB reported that between June 2011 and the end of March 2020, at least $18.34 million was paid to kidnappers as ransom in Nigeria and the larger proportion of that figure (just below $11 million) was paid out between January 2016 and March 2020.
The intelligence and security analysis firm further explained that the figure was arrived based on media reports detailing the sum paid to armed groups.
It added that the numbers were almost definitely higher than what was reported, but stuck to what ”we could verify”.
When contacted, SBM security analyst, Confidence Isaiah, explained that the amount paid as ransom to kidnappers within a year is pretty huge for a population living on less than two dollars a day.
According to him, due to the country’s rising rate of poverty, the high incidence of kidnapping-for-ransom is significant as Nigerians, over the past few years, have continued to overstretch themselves scraping resources to pay huge amounts of money as ransom to kidnappers.
”Nigerians spent 62 percent 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.
Source: PREMIUM TIMES