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NIGERIA: A Kidnapping Business

Kidnapping has become commonplace in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Last year, Front-Line Workers in the area tracked 3,348 kidnappings as well as 1,192 murders.

Based on first-hand accounts, a Front-Line Worker estimated that about 200 have been killed and 100 kidnapped in the first few months of this year. In addition, about 100 homes had been burned and hundreds of people displaced.

“Kaduna … has now become a dangerous state,” a Front-Line Worker said. “Islamic terrorists have been kidnapping and killing people on the roads, on trains and even at the Kaduna airport.”

In a desperate effort to quell the criminal activity, the Nigerian government outlawed ransom payments for kidnapping in April 2022. (VOM does not pay ransoms and holds that no one should, as it perpetuates the kidnapping business.)

The Rev Dauda Bature, from Hayin Narayi, was killed in January after his family paid a ransom, and others have been killed during rescue attempts. After Pastor Lawan Andimi was kidnapped in 2020, his captors forced him to record a video asking his denomination leaders to secure his release. If they could not, he conceded, “maybe it is the will of God.”

“Don’t cry, don’t worry,” Pastor Andimi said, “but thank God for everything.” His kidnappers killed him days later.

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