Nigerians paid N302 million as ransom for kidnapping in one year

SB Morgan (SBM), known as SBM Intelligence, has revealed that between July 2022 and June 2023, $387,179, translating to N302 million, was paid as ransom to kidnappers in the country.

According to the SBM, the amount represents six per cent of the total N5 billion ($6,410,256 as of 30 June 2023) the kidnappers requested within the period. 

Nigeria has faced insecurity challenges in the last decade, from insurgent attacks, banditry, inter-ethnic or communal crises, and separatist agitations.

The ICIR reported how non-state actors killed 31,821 people between May 2015 and April 2023. Also, within the first 45 days of President Bola Tinubu, over 600 people were reportedly killed from the insecurity crisis. 

However, kidnapping in Nigeria has become an economic industry where abductors demand money from families and guardians before releasing abductees. This is most prominent in the Northern region of the country, which has recorded a plethora of cases of school children and other kidnappings like Chibok, Jangebe and Dapchi in the last decade.

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According to the SBM report, between June 2022 and July 2023, 3,620 people were abducted in 582 kidnap-related incidents in Nigeria. 

SBM said, “The north west and north-central regions exhibit higher numbers of in-kind ransom demands. This aligns with Nigeria’s poverty and its correlation with areas where food is commonly demanded. Additionally, these regions have seen a surge in motorcycle demands due to economic opportunities and possibly because of their potential use in terror activities.”

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Analysis of the data

According to the report, at least 3,620 people were kidnapped, while 570 people were killed during kidnapping incidents. The North-West region had the highest number of people kidnapped and killed during kidnapping incidents.

However, the North-East region had the lowest number of people kidnapped, and the South-East region had the least people killed during the kidnapping incidents.

North East12563
North Central977153
North West1,921217
South East15927
South South27081
South West16829

The report said it was more likely to get kidnapped and killed in states like Zamfara, Niger and Kaduna than elsewhere. Meanwhile, three states recorded no deaths from kidnap: Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Borno.

“Civilians comprised the most casualties for persons killed in kidnap cases, with 430 dead. In the same period, 121 kidnappers were killed, mostly by security agents, with some of them meeting their end at the hands of irate mobs or in friendly fire. 19 security operatives—including state security agencies and vigilantes—lost their lives”, SBM stated.

Additionally, within the period in review, 21 Catholic priests were kidnapped.

Kehinde Ogunyale tells data stories to hold the government into account. Shoot him a mail at or Twitter: Prof_KennyJames

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