Arising from several social deprivations, neglect, unemployment and environmental distortions, the Niger Delta area in the South-South region of Nigeria had witnessed an awful dislocation of man and materials, to which the inflected pains and hardship upon the people had resulted in adopting differing survival instincts to overcome the long years of failed governance, to which hostage taking or kidnapping had become part of the outburst. The study in view of this intends to evaluate the cause and the possible panacea. This is important as the findings of the study will help to dissuade youth restiveness, economic sabotage and political instability amongst others.

The study adopts primary and secondary data. The primary data focus on the utilization of oral face to face interview of key informants like: 3 local government Chairmen, 3 traditional rulers, 6 youth leaders, 4 political scientists, 3 historians and 2 Town Union leaders. The secondary data uses library archival method, CD – ROM, materials from textbooks, journals, articles, magazines and newspapers. The work also uses descriptive, documentary and historical approaches. Analytical approach was utilized to arriving at the expected goals.

The work revealed that hostage taking is due partly to unemployment and social deprivation. It noted that failed system, particularly governance in Niger Delta arouse the growing incidence of hostage taking or kidnapping in Delta state. The study observed that long years of neglect and abandonment by successive government in Nigeria polity helped in encouraging youths in adopting survival instincts leading to hostage taking. The study find out that Niger Delta (especially Delta State) might have been one of state where hostage taking had begun in Nigeria.

Conclusively, the study is of the opinion that hostage taking and petty crimes in the Creek of the Delta State might be curtailed if the governments in its obligation are able to meet up its mandates and vows to the people by doing for the people what they cannot do for themselves. The issue of hostage taking might be a thing of past if the youths are duly engaged. The government should create enabling environment with adequate human capital development projects that could enhance self-reliance amongst youths and the unemployment.


















Title Page                                                                                                                               i

Certification                                                                                                                          ii

Dedication                                                                                                                             iii

Acknowledgements                                                                                                 iv

Abstract                                                                                                                                 v

Table of Contents                                                                                                                 vi



1.0       Background of the Study                                                                1

1.2       Statements of the Problems                                                                        4

1.3       The Objectives of the Study                                                           5

1.4       Significance of the Study                                                               5

1.5      Research Methodology                                                                    6

1.6      Scope of the study                                                                            6   

1.7       Limitation of the Study                                                                   7

1.8       Definitions of Terms                                                                       7

1.9      Organization of the study                                                                8                      Reference                                                                                            8



2.1       Records of Hostage Taking In Global Perspective                    10

2.2       The Rise Of Hostage Taking In Niger Delta                                 14

2.3      Land and People Of Niger Delta                                                    16

           Reference                                                                                           26



3.1       The History of Delta State                                                          30

3.2       Causes of Hostage Taking In Nigeria                                            32

           References                                                                                         39                                                                                                                                                   


4.1             Impact of Hostage Taking In Delta                                              41

4.2     Socio-Political Implications                                                         43           Reference                                                                                                45                                                                               


5.1             Findings                                                                                             43

5.2             Summary                                                                                           54

5.3       Conclusion                                                                                        56

5.4     Recommendation                                                                         60                                                               










Hostage taking is today considered a crime or a terrorist act; the use of the word in the sense of abduction became current only in the 1970s1. The criminal activity is known as kidnapping. An acute situation where hostages are kept in a building or a vehicle that has been taken over by armed terrorists or common criminals is often called a hostage crisis.

Hostage taking either politically motivated; inte2nded to raise a ransom or to enforce an exchange against other hostages or even condemned convicts. However, in some countries hostage taking for profit has become an "industry", ransom often being the only demand3.

Moreover, the menace of hostage taking is not a problem that is peculiar to Nigeria; rather it is a global problem. The enigmatic monster has ravaged several advanced countries of the world, some Middle Eastern countries, as well as the third world countries. References would be made of the activities of hostage takers in some selected countries on the global scene, before it is narrowed down to the local level at the Delta State in Nigeria.

During the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, the Germans took as hostages the prominent people or officials from towns or districts when making requisitions and also when foraging and it was a general practice for the major and adjoin of a town which failed to pay a fine imposed upon it to be seized as hostage and retained till the money was paid4.

The Iran hostage crisis began in November 4, 19795, when a mob of Iranians seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking a large group of employees hostage. Eleven months earlier, a revolution led by the Islamic fundamentalist Ruholla Khomeini had overthrown Mohammed Reza Pahlaui, The Shah of Iran. Nineteen hostages were released within a few weeks, the remaining fifty-two were held for 444 days6. When it became clear that the Iranian government was not going to resolve the problem, President Jimmy Carter moved to freeze Iranian assets, both in the United States and beyond.

Diplomatic efforts were launched through the United Nations and various private intermediaries, but by March 1980 it had became clear that none of the rival political groups in Iran was willing to risk the unpopularity of letting the hostages go. This impasse led President Carter to order a rescue effort by helicopter, but three of the eight helicopters failed before reaching Tehran, and the mission had to be aborted eight men died in the operation7.

In the meantime, the present trend of hostage taking in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria is not a phenomenon that is just happening in the country, the menace had dated back to 1984, when Alhaji Umar Dikko, former Minister for Transport and Chairman of the lucrative Presidential task force on the importation of rice under Shagari regime between 1979 and 1983 was held hostage by some officials of the Nigeria Ministry of External Affairs in Britain.8

Reports in the British mass media indicated that Alhaji Umar Dikko was abducted on July 5, 1984 in the garden of his London home by armed men who bundled him into a yellow van alter a desperate and violent struggle between Alhaji Umar and his abductors.9 The British police was alerted of the abduction of Alhaji Umaru by his private secretary, Miss Elizabeth Hayes (who witnessed the struggle).10

Customs officials already alerted by the British police of Alhaji Umaru's abduction, became suspicious of two wooden creates reportedly being loaded into a Nigeria airways Cargo plane at Stansted Airport and declared as diplomatic baggage. Emanating from one of the creates was a powerful medical smell which assuaged the sensitive nostrils of a customs official. More significant were two Mercedes-Benz cars with Nigeria High Commission diplomatic plates (2220270 and 2220274)11 parked at Stansted Airport. Suspicious aroused, customs official stopped the loading of the Cargo while they made discrete phone calls to the Home Office and Prime Minister's office for directives. There upon, the departure of the Cargo plane (which had been scheduled for the evening) was delayed on the orders of the Scotland Yard.

British anti-terrorist squad rushed to Stansted Airport and found that the two wooden creates (each measuring 4 ½ x 5½ feet) addressed to the ministry of External Affairs, Lagos and declared as diplomatic baggage, had no diplomatic markings on them as required by Article 27 (4) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic intercourse and immunities of 196112. The creates were inspected, as required by Article 36 (2) of the Vienna convention, in the presence of Mr. Okon Edet, an attaché at the Nigerian High Commission who was at Stansted Airport on the day of the alleged abduction attempt Inspection became inevitable when one recalls the recent shooting incident at the Libyan Embassy in London confirming that guns had been smuggled into the United Kingdom under the guise of diplomatic immunities and privileges13.

Inside the two creates were each found two men; one Isreali and a Nigerian diplomat (who, according to United Kingdom authorities, was not accredited to the United kingdom) position with a tube pushed into his throat apparently to assist him breath during the long flight to Lagos, and an Isreali, a leading anesthetist, in possession of drugs and a syringe14.



Against the level of dislocations and devastations in the Niger Delta region, coupled with the air of the oil, gas, fertilizer, brewing and fishing companies in the region who had conducted their activities with impunity; then the effects of sulphur dioxide distortions and all other impediments that did not only render the region unproductive, non-viable, a waste land and a contaminated land but that, to which its shortfall had created a high degree of unemployment amongst the citizens, hopelessness, joblessness and homelessness amongst others, the followings stand out as the research possible questions:

i.                   What are the major factors mitigating violence and restiveness in the Niger Delta region?

ii.                 Has the federal government of Nigeria being responsive to the mirage of Problem confronting the People of the region?

iii.              Can hostage/kidnapping be the solution to the level of restiveness in the region?

iv.               Could on unemployment, environmental dislocation, pollution and general neglect be central to all struggles in the Niger Delta?

v.                 What is the relationship between the host communities and the government/multinational corporation?



Premised on studying historical evaluation of hostage taking in Delta State, the followings are the specific objectives:

i.                   To discuss the factors and causes of hostage taking in Delta State.

ii.                 To examine the activities of the Delta State leaders and the government in relations to environmental distortion and dislocation.

iii.              To explain the level of neglect and abandonment of the youths in term of job availability and restiveness.

iv.              To evaluate the role of Federal Government in combating this menace.

v.                 To re-examine whether hostage /kidnapping is the possible panacea to restiveness.


1.4. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY                                        

This study is significance in several ways:

First, the issue of hostage taking which is a new phenomenon after the long years of military suppression and marginalization of the people of the region seemed to be the only way that the level of denial and neglect of the region could be remembered, however, sent a wrong signal to the nation-Nigeria in term of stability.

Secondly, the work is of great importance because apart from exposing the ills of hostage taking will also dissuade many class of people within and outside Nigeria to know the negative impact of not benefitting immensely from the level of opening up in the region (most especially the investors that will be afraid of coming to Nigeria because of the fear of been kidnap).

Thirdly, this research would serve as an eye opener to foresee, anticipate, prepare and thereby be able to understand the hazard called hostage taking.

Fourth, this study also lies on the overriding fact that the findings and subsequent suggestions and recommendations will be of immense benefit to further research.

Finally, the study will help to open the frontier of knowledge and contributes to serve as reference point to other researchers on the same topic.  



The research methodology employed in this project is the content analysis of secondary data which comprises of library archival methods, the use of CD-ROM, internet browsing and the use of published text like:  journal, articles, magazine, newspapers and information technology and conference proceeding.

The study adopted historical, documentary, analytical concepts to arriving at its findings and goal actualization.



This study covers the period 1999 to 2010.This study is also meant to focus on Delta State and the level of youths restiveness. Also the scope of this study   covered both the Indigene and the non-indigenes.



The study is limited in many ways as the work face with hard and harsh environmental terrain was made to face several hiccups in accessing the creek and area covered by Delta state.

The study also encounters a great logistic problem ranging from lack of fund, poor published materials on the topic.

The study was also faced with poor library attendant and shallow reading culture in the area-Niger Delta.

The work despite all odd was able to meet up by accessing materials adequate to form good value judgment of the study.



Impact: The powerful effect that something has on somebody or something.

Community: A group of people living together in a geographical area in common interest. It is also described as a group of people living in a specific area of land.

Fall out: The outcome of something or the outcome of a situation.

Double standard: Not coming out in one real self. Pretending to be what one is not.

Environment: Natural phenomenal and manmade object of use. This includes water land, mountain, valley, rocks, river etc.

Hostage Taking:

Plight: to make a promise to a person.

Social political upheaval: Problems that deal with the economy and politics.



The project will be divided into five chapters as required by the institution standard.

Chapter one will be the introductory parts that comprises: background of the study; statement of problem, the aims and objectives of study, Scope of study, significant of the study, methodology as well as the definition of terms.

Chapter two reviewed the literature on the area of study and research, Origin and Implication of Hostage Taking in the Delta State, a number of very useful and informative books and internet materials would be imperative sequel to the their great importance to the research work.

Chapter three discussed the causes of hostage taking in the Delta State.

Chapter four discussed the impact of hostage taking in Delta State.

Chapter five will necessitate to conclusion and recommendation for the study.


1.   Lindbergh 1927, Dust jacket note, First Edition July 1927

2.   "The Spirit Soars." Retrieved: January 19, 2011.

3.   Lindbergh 1977, pp. 345–350.

4.   "Lindbergh-Carrel Prize." Retrieved: April 5, 2010.

5.   Sky Kings. "Wedron, Illinois." Retrieved: February 17,       2010.

6.   Sky Kings. "Covell, Illinois." Retrieved: February 17, 2010.

7.   McBratney, James. Social Security Death Index SSN 115-32-4147.

8.   May, Allan. "Jimmy McBratney: A Footnote to Mob History". Crime Magazine.

9.   Rudolf Austin "Scars on the face (Translated from original German)". Der      Spiegel. Retrieved 2011-12-17.

10. Shola Oshunkeye; Segun Fatuase. "Icon - Tony Momoh". THE SPECTATOR. Retrieved 2011-12-17. 11.

12. Digital Nigeria. "Trials and tribulations at The Guardian". Digital Nigeria.      Retrieved 2011-12-17.

13. Olu Ojewale."GiveMeMyMoney".Newswatch Volume 33 No 4. http:// Retrieved 2011-12-17.

15. Clement Nwankwo. "Nwankwo: Alex Ibru and Nigeria's human rights struggle". Retrieved 2011-12-17.


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