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BACK TO THE PAST: EVOLUTION OF KIDNAPPING AND HOSTAGE TAKING IN THE NIGER DELTA, NIGERIA
the origin of the problem to the crisis in the oil-rich Niger Delta region in the 1990s. The paper discusses how the Niger Delta militants used it as a pressure tactic for getting the government to address the grievances of oil pollution in their communities. The victims, at the initial stage, were expatriate oil workers. They were taken and political demands made for their release. In the second stage of the problem’s evolution, the militants collected ransoms for releasing their captives and the money used it to finance their insurgency against the Nigerian state. The third stage of the evolution was when it was hijacked by some criminal elements that turned it to a form of extortionate terrorism now difficult to manage. At this stage, the oil workers, members of their families, rich community members and politicians were kidnapped and ransoms taken before releasing them. The problem soon extended to the other parts of the country from the Niger Delta because of the poor way this form of violent extremism was managed by the Nigerian state. Not even the amnesty granted the Niger Delta militants in 2009 and in several other parts of Nigeria (where kidnapping now takes place) has been good enough to stop what now appears to be career criminality.
Kidnapping, Niger Delta, Niger Delta Militants, Oil, Nigeria