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03.07.2019 Special Report

BBC Africa Eye: Inside Nigeria’s kidnap crisis #BBCAfricaeye

By BBC World Service International Publicity
BBC Africa Eye
LISTEN JUL 3, 2019
BBC Africa Eye

Nigeria is in the grip of a kidnapping epidemic. Thousands of people have been taken, millions of dollars in ransoms paid.

What began as a protest against the unequal distribution of oil wealth has now become a major security threat to Nigerians at all levels of society.

The Intelligence Response Team, or IRT, were set up specifically to tackle kidnapping and armed robbery.

Led by Commander Abba Kyari, known by many as “Nigeria’s Super Cop”, the unit have tracked down a who’s who of notorious kidnappers since 2015, including Boko Haram terror group members alleged to be behind the kidnapping of over two hundred school girls from the town of Chibok in 2014.

But the IRT is not without its critics. Human rights groups have accused some of the unit’s officers of brutality and torture, claims the unit’s commander rejects.

Is this unit the answer to Nigeria’s kidnap crisis or just more of the same corruption and violence that has plagued policing in the country for decades?