Nigerian Kidnap Victims Oppose Govt's Move to Ban Ransom Payments

Nigerian lawmakers are set to vote on a bill criminalising ransom payments after reports that payoffs were made to resolve a series of mass kidnappings. The Bill, which would impose stiff sentences of up to 15 years imprisonment, is being criticised by relatives of kidnap victims. Heavily armed criminal gangs have long targeted central and northwestern states, raiding villages, stealing cattle, and kidnapping. They have increasingly targeted schoolchildren who have been kept at their forest hideouts, while negotiating payment for their release.

Kidnapping for ransom has become rampant in many parts of Nigeria. More than 700 children and students have already been kidnapped by gunmen for ransom since December 2020. Some have been freed, while others remain missing.



Freed Nigerian schoolboys (file photo).

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