The Socio-Economic Implications of Kidnapping in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 10:45 AM
Room: Booth 58
Oral Presentation
John Emmanuel GYONG , Sociological Association of Nigeria, Zaria, Nigeria

Gyong, John Emmanuel

Asaka, Danjuma Sheidu

Department of Sociology

Ahmadu Bello University

Zaria, Nigeria



Kidnapping seems to be growing as an industry involving every level of the society. However, studies on it have been relatively a recent phenomenon, with much of the literature coming from Asian, American and European continents. There is very little empirical research carried out on kidnapping in Nigeria and yet there are series of media reports of daily incidence of kidnapping in the country. In port Harcourt, the commercial and oil Hub of Nigeria’s Niger Delta, kidnapping was/is generally said to be a fearful and threatening crime. While in other places, the problem is more or less an occasional thing, that of Port Harcourt is generally observed to be habitual, sporadic and spontaneous that happens almost every day. It is against this backdrop, this study examines the nature of kidnapping and the socio-economic implications of kidnapping in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Using the multistage cluster sampling method, a sample survey of 350 household adults was administered questionnaire. In addition, official crime statistics on kidnapping from the police was collected and 15 in-depth interviews (IDI) including victims, police officers, traditional rulers among others were conducted. The findings show that one, kidnapping takes a violent dimension and it has been established, operated and executed in form of business empire; two, there is the development of independent negotiator between the victims and the perpetrator of kidnapping; three, there exist paucity  of official reported cases; fourth, there is general behavioural modification of residents on socio-economic activities and relationships. In conclusion, the study confirms that kidnapping has negatively influenced people’s behaviors and that cases are grossly underreported to the police as government does little or nothing to stamp out the menace.