Early Cases of Kidnapping in Nigeria were abductions mainly for ritual killing, slavery and forced marriage. There were also cases where individuals were abducted during communal wars and held as bait for strategic trade-offs. These types of kidnapping have been ongoing in various places in the country for years.



The rise of mercantilist kidnapping – or kidnap for ransom in Nigeria – is a recent development. It began in the 1990s with the activities of Niger Delta militants who engaged in hostage taking to press their demands for fiscal federalism, resource control and environmental rights for their communities polluted by decades of oil exploration.


FG resumes cash payments to Niger Delta ex-militants - Daily Trust



In this interview with Webteam@ipledge2nigeria, Dickson Osajie talks about the increasing rate of kidnapping, how the police can tackle insecurity, and what the government can do to address the situation.



Osajie, Dickson Omodiale  is the CEO of DBreeze Protection Services Ltd. A Security guru and a philanthropist. Dickson started his career as a young soldier at the age of 20 in 1998 and was enlisted as a member of the 47th regular course of the Nigeria Army and was posted to serve in 245 Reconnaissance Armoured Battalion in Ikom LGA of Cross River State. He was among the brave soldiers who fought in the Bakassi Peninsula war and he has also attended various military missions.



Dickson voluntarily disengaged some years back from services and opted for corporate security services. He has the following educational qualifications: A diploma in Security Management from School of Management and Security SMS Lagos, a National Diploma in Public and International Relations from Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago Iwoye, Ogun State Nigeria, advanced diploma in Security Operations and Management from the University of Lagos, and BSc in Criminology & Security Studies from National Open University Lagos Nigeria.



The fall of a kidnap kingpin?


The media and law enforcement agencies in Nigeria refer to Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike (a.k.a Evans) as the kidnap kingpin.


His capture has some critical implications. First, it has exposed the level of sophistication that kidnapping has reached in the country. Second, it has revealed that kidnapping syndicates, no matter how sophisticated, are not invincible. Third, it has buttressed the argument that, armed with an effective strategy, the police can control the incidence of kidnapping in the country.


And lastly, it’s shown that a lot needs to be done to control crime in Nigeria.


The arrest of Evans doesn’t signify the end of the crime. Far from it. Rather it marks the dawn of a new era in Nigeria’s anti-kidnapping crusade. This is an opportunity – which if properly exploited – can reduce the attraction of kidnapping, and help the country move towards making the crime history.



What do you think about the current insecurity in the country, especially kidnapping?


Insecurity in the country is disturbing, very disturbing. Presently kidnapping is taking the boom, it is on a high rise. A lot of criminal elements are looking into the area because that’s one of the fastest ways to make good money without much threat.


In recent times especially in FCT Abuja, most of the kidnapped victims were killed by their abductors, what do you think is the reason?


They have changed the dynamics initially once you are being kidnapped the wait for your family to bring any amount of money or some certain amount of money are thereby releasing or killing the victim but this time around some cases whereby these criminal elements demanded funds and the family could meet up, they killed them, because they want to pass a message that they are serious. It’s a very big mess now, And we just pray it does not get out of control. That is why most kidnapped victims are vulnerable in the hands of these criminal elements.


Do you think the current hardship in the country is an excuse to go into crime?


Sometimes people say because of unemployment, joblessness and illiteracy are why crime is growing. But I don’t think that is correct. Those are the motivating factors that could lead to the increasing spate of insecurity.


However, the current hardship in the land should not be used as an excuse to go into criminal activities.


Why do you think there is an increase in kidnapping?


Kidnapping has been happening in Nigeria for decades but is under-reported. The first major outbreak of kidnapping in Nigeria was Evans the billionaire kidnapper. That was when people got to know that they could make billions from kidnapping.


The publicity given to Evans led to the rise of kidnapping in Nigeria. So criminals realised that you can capture a human being, stake a certain amount of money and generate funds from it. If not the person could be killed.


Unfortunately, to date, nothing has been heard from Evans the billionaire kidnapper. This also is a demoralising factor to the security agency as most people think they can commit crimes and go scot-free or experience delays in judgment.


What do you think the government and security agencies can do to address this situation ?


Now when we talk about kidnapping, it is becoming a multifaceted business. We need to make it on the board. The IGP has established a Special Intervention Squad (SIS) which is a very good development. How far would they go? What will be the rules of engagement? What is expected of them to do? Are they specifically for hostage-taking rescue missions? Are they specially trained to go into the enemy’s den and pick out any victim from the criminal’s den and eliminate all the criminals? That is one of the special training these people should undergo even if it’s outside of this great nation Nigeria.


Kidnapping for ransom In other countries most countries don’t pay ransom, the reason why they don’t pay ransom is to eliminate the business. A lot of people make the sacrifices, especially in the advanced world. The reason why they don’t pay ransom is because their security capabilities are effective. They have effective security capability to pursue criminals.


Immediately they get the news that one or two people have been kidnapped, and they go man-hunting.


You see a helicopter going on vaerial surveillance chasing these criminals, on the road, you see the lead and chase of these criminals by their security agent. But here we allowed these criminals to come into your space fetch Nigerians take them to their criminal location relax and beat them up, rape some of them, subject them to all sorts of nonsense. These kidnappers are daredevils, they are demons and they should be wiped out from this territorial space without delay.


Don’t give them time to regroup themselves, mobilize themselves. They must be taken out. In the area of a ransom payment, one of two issues has happened, the Chief himself claimed he paid the ransom the police were saying they carried out the rescue mission. Whom do we believe? But what we need to understand very clearly is that a life is a stake. Having a vulnerable state of the security situation, no member of the family wants to lose their sons or daughters to this criminal element, they want to pay the money. So if we want to talk about no random payment it won’t work because we don’t have the security capacity


We have the capability but the capacity, do we have the strength, do we have the numbers, do we have the equipment, do we have gadgets, the technological approach to go after these kidnappers we have those effective and security capabilities because if we have those effective and security capability our security agency will go after this criminal immediately chase them out.


If they don’t do that we’ll keep on paying ransom to this criminal element. As it is now we don’t hear about terrorists, what we hear about is kidnap kidnap kidnap. That is where the previous administration got it wrong because I believe that is where the previous administration got it wrong because I believe that the previous administration messed up the security situation of this great nation by establishing the Operation Safe Corridor. What corridor is that?


A knife will always be a knife why would you establish a safe corridor for people to come and claim they have repented after killing your brothers your sisters killing our soldiers King officers Generals, senior officers, and police officers messing up the name of Nigeria and at the end of the day you grant them amnesty. Who does that? In what state? In what capacity do you have that power? In which constitution granted you that power to pardon criminals who killed our officers and Men? It is not done anywhere. What were the motivation factors? Now look at what we are experiencing because of those of them that were granted amnesty, I believe some of them are now into the business of banditry and kidnapping.


That is where we need to be very careful about appeasement, and where you looking to appeasement that means your enemy is stronger than you or you are giving up because you can’t engage your enemy so what did you just admission have done with the operation safe corridor is appeasing and look at where we are today.


What is their motivation?


Initially Boko haram was an ideologically driven war that Western education is a sin, they want things to be in their perspective.


Now we are talking about banditry, they kidnap your brothers and sisters. What religion is that? Which religion permits you to kidnap someone, rape, kill them inside the forest


We don’t do that in this territorial space you don’t allow that and it’s the right time for us to end it the police must come with plain hands and tell us the truth if paid for ransom let the world know that they paid run some they didn’t pay let the world know but I think believe that the reason why they don’t want to come out and say they paid for ransom is for it not be for it not to be publicized and for people not to think that this ransom is a big deal.


Because if the police come and say we paid it is going to be a very big problem and the whole world will know that the Nigerian government officially pays ransom I think that is the reason they don’t want to say that and she should excuse them for that.


But they must not keep lying to the Nigerian people. They must activate their response team that will go after this criminal element and decimate day by night and bring Nigeria to a positive state of peace


It is enough this nonsense must stop, and this administration must understand that we have a terrible security situation at hand they must nip it in the bud.


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