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Nigeria’s Abduction Crisis: The Hard Knock for Mission and Mercy

Religious Abductions in Nigeria: Questioning Complicity in the Banking Sector

An Alarming Phenomenon

The recent news of the kidnapping of two Claretian missionaries in Plateau State, Nigeria, has rekindled international attention on the growing phenomenon of kidnappings in the country. Fr Ken Kanwa C.M.F. and his assistant Fr Jude Nwachukwu C.M.F. were abducted on the night of 1 February by armed men, in a series of incidents that are becoming sadly common in Nigeria.

The Plague of Abductions: A Threat to the Peace Mission

Kidnappings, often for the purpose of extortion, have become an epidemic in Nigeria, affecting not only religious but also ordinary citizens. These acts of violence pose a serious threat to the mission of peace and mercy carried out by religious communities in the country. The fear and insecurity generated by such criminal acts undermine the efforts of those working for peace and reconciliation in a region already troubled by conflict and social tensions.

Worrying Statistics

According to Nigerian press reports, between July 2022 and June last year, 3,620 people were kidnapped in 582 kidnapping incidents. It was estimated that ransoms of at least 5 billion naira were demanded, of which at least 302 million naira were actually paid. However, these figures may be underestimated as not all cases are reported to the authorities.

The Role of Banks in the Kidnapping Crisis

One of the most worrying aspects of this criminal scourge is the involvement of banking institutions. According to an article in The Nation in Nigeria, the country’s banks have as many as 133 million bank account holders, of which five million are fake. Banks, unfortunately, appear to be a key tool used by kidnappers to receive ransom payments. Bank accounts have been found to be opened using stolen identity cards of deceased persons, raising serious concerns about the integrity of the Nigerian banking system.

The need for urgent action

The kidnapping epidemic in Nigeria requires an immediate and decisive response from the relevant authorities. In addition to the need to strengthen security measures and actively combat the criminal networks responsible for such acts, targeted action in the banking sector is also essential. Financial institutions must be subject to strict supervision and take effective measures to prevent the abuse of their services by criminals.


The case of the two kidnapped clerics in Plateau State is only the latest in a long line of tragedies plaguing Nigeria. As the international community watches with growing concern, it is imperative that the Nigerian authorities act decisively to put an end to this scourge. Unity of purpose and concerted action are essential to ensure the security and stability of the country, thereby protecting its citizens and restoring confidence in the integrity of its institutions.



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