Understanding the Role of Families in Paying Ransom for Kidnapped Persons in Nigeria

Understanding the Role of Families in Paying Ransom for Kidnapped Persons in Nigeria

...By Lola Smith for TDPel Media.

Kidnapping for ransom is a significant security concern in Nigeria, with different modes of kidnapping.


There is a lack of understanding of how families mobilize resources and deliver ransom to kidnappers.

Focus of Study

The study focused on the Adamawa State in northeast Nigeria, where at least 300 people were kidnapped in 2019.

Twelve individuals were interviewed, including ransom negotiators, a pastor of a church of a victim, police officers, and released kidnapped persons.

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Role of Ransom Negotiators and Kidnappers

Ransom negotiators were either nominated by families or the person kidnapped.

Kidnappers used threats and violence against captives to pressure families to raise ransoms.

Raising of Ransoms

Family members raised ransoms through donations from family, church, and the community, as well as loans.

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Importance of Study

The study highlighted the need to appreciate the experiences, challenges, and coping strategies of family members with loved ones who have been kidnapped.

It can assist in designing post-traumatic therapy for victims and those close to them, who may have been traumatised by the incident.


The study concluded that the Nigerian government’s decision to criminalize ransom payments missed the point because it fails to address the protection of potential victims.

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Instead, policies should support families and victims of kidnapping, and the government must discharge its responsibility to protect Nigerians.

The ban on payment of ransoms should be revisited.


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