Disclosure News

Factual Reportage

As the federal government continues to lure foreigners to partner with Nigerians to invest in the country, the spiraling insecurity in the country, particularly kidnapping activities which targets both Nigerians and foreign nationals have continued to pose a major threat to the actualization of government efforts 

This is as some  foreign investors have given certain conditions to their Nigerian business partners who would want them to invest in the country 

It was gathered that the rising insecurity and the harsh economic policies have forced potential foreign investors to demand for ransom payment bond from Nigerian business owners that seek their partnerships.

Investigations revealed that some Nigerian businessmen and women seeking to partner with potential foreign investors from Asia, Europe and America are given a major condition in the execution of partnership agreement  which requires them to sign a guarantee that in the event any of the expatriate workers is kidnapped in Nigeria, the local partners would pay the ransom which often runs to millions of Naira.

Kidnapping has become a daily occurrence in Nigeria as bandits and terrorists have resorted to the act through which they collect huge ransom from their victims

In 2014, this scourge took a whole new dimension, when over 300 female students were kidnapped from the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State by the dreaded Islamic sect Boko Haram. Fast forward to 2021, kidnapping for ransom has not only risen but has also spread to all regions of the country. 

Narrating his experience to our correspondent, an Abeokuta, Ogun state based entrepreneur who did not want his name in print said some investors from China he invited to invest in his massive agricultural projects in the state gave him a condition to sign a bond that if any of their expatriates are kidnapped he would pay the ransom.

He said that accepting such condition is akin to signing a blank cheque, as the terms of agreement may be leaked to the public which could spell doom for his business and financial plan. He specifically mentioned the recent ugly incident in Nnewi, Anambra state where four Chinese expatriates were kidnapped at a project site in the city and the local investor was asked by the foreign partners to pay the ransom and rescue their workers.

“If I sign such bond and by omission or commission these guys are kidnapped it is expected that whatever amount of money the kidnappers demand I would pay to guarantee their freedom and safety. It is a difficult condition to meet and I don’t think any sane businessman would want to venture into it,” he noted

He regretted the negative impact of such retrogressive condition as massive employment which such projects would have created is lost, including foreign exchange earnings through export of the produce.

Another Nigerian, an operator of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) whose Conference is scheduled to hold in August, 2024, in one of the South East States, with some foreigners being invited to train and build the capacities of the participants, have been given a condition of ransom payment guarantee in the event of the expatriates  being kidnapped. 

He told our reporter: “How can I accept to sign such guarantee? It is an event that no one knows how and when it will happen. Imagine, how these foreigner suddenly came up with this condition after handbills have been printed and participants assured of their presence. Anyway, I will find another way round it.”, he stated

He went on to inform our reporter that he was currently sourcing for some expatriates within Nigeria who would execute the deal for him.

In a related development, another successful businessman who has sought the partnership of some investors from Europe shared the same experience. He runs an equipment leasing company and wished to get some foreigners invest in his business but was hampered by kidnapping for ransom payment syndrome.

“The investors are willing and ready. They can weather other harsh economic conditions but they were particular about the safety of their staff with kidnapping ravaging the nooks and crannies of the country! It is so difficult to pull such transaction through under this state of affairs. It is unfortunate,” he told our reporter. 

The spate of insecurity in Nigeria has reached such a crescendo where genuine businesses and businessmen are starved of foreign patronage and alliance, with kidnapping  on the prowl.

Since 2006, militant groups in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, especially the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), have resorted to taking foreign employees of oil companies hostage as part of the conflict situation in the region. At the last count, more than 200 foreigners have been kidnapped and huge amount of money paid to secure their release.

Also, since the start of the Islamist insurgency in the northern part of the country, kidnapping of expatriates has been on the increase by different militant groups; Ansari, Boko Haram, ISWAP and the rest.

On May 3, 2024, three Indian Nationals were kidnapped on the Lagos/Ibadan expressway with huge sum of money paid before they were released after being held hostage for three days.

Kidnapping of expatriates for ransom has forced some foreign companies in Nigeria to shut down, particularly in the north, with it’s attendant loss of jobs and impoverishment of teeming citizens.

A public opinion poll conducted by NOIPolls in February, 2024, has revealed a higher proportion of adult Nigerians nationwide (56 percent) lamenting that authorities are not doing enough to curb the menace of kidnapping in the country. 

The poll further revealed that more respondents (53 percent), about 74,201,877 of the country’s population according to the population and housing census figures of 2006, considered kidnapping to be prevalent in Nigeria adding that the North-Central Zone accounted for the highest number of respondents who decried the prevalence of the menace. 

These findings, according to the report, further corroborate the publication of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), that in recent years, Nigeria has seen a sharp increase in kidnapping incidence. 

Kidnapping for ransom thrives in Nigeria because the material incentive and opportunity are there, and victims find it expedient to pay a ransom. Bandits, armed groups of Fulani herders and jihadists use forests in different parts of Nigeria as strongholds from which to raid and as safe havens to hold hostages who are released for ransom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *