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Nabeeha was happy to graduate at 20 — Nigeria's kidnap industry ended her life at 21

Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar had a whole lot to look forward to in life until kidnappers interrupted it.

Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar had her whole life ahead of her until kidnappers unnecessarily cut it short [Twitter/@Amir_The_Savage]

She wrote, "Graduating has been such a feel good experience. It has contributed so significantly to how happy and content I feel outside of the writing and reading realm of my existence."

Only a month later on January 2, 2024, gunmen attacked her family home in the Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to kidnap her alongside her father, four sisters and her cousin.

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The kidnappers later released her father, Mansoor, to gather a ransom of ₦60 million for the captive girls, a demand so huge the family resorted to raising funds from the public.

When the family communicated to the kidnappers that only half of the ransom had been raised by the January 12 deadline, the angry terrorists directed them to a location to receive a message: Nabeeha's dead body.

Nabeeha was a self-confessed poetry addict and loved spending time with her currently captive sisters: Najeebah, Nadheerah, Aneesah and Adeebah. She also regularly tweeted about her devotion to Allah, and tweeted about getting married in 2024.

She had her whole life ahead of her and it ended instantly at the hands of terrorists with no consideration for their actions.

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The Al-Kadriyar family now faces a January 17 deadline to pay ₦65 million so the remaining five captives don’t suffer the same fate.

Abductions have become commonplace in Nigeria, particularly in the Northern region where the kidnap industry has boomed over the past decade.

At least 3,620 people were abducted in over 582 incidents across the country between July 2022 and June 2023, according to SBM Intelligence's The Economics of Nigeria's Kidnap Industry report published in August 2023.

570 people were killed in these abduction-related incidents, with 430 of them civilians like Nabeeha, 121 kidnappers, and 19 security operatives. Notably, kidnappers demanded over ₦5 billion in ransom and received around ₦302 million.

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SBM's report was based on data from a variety of sources including newspapers and government agencies, but there's sufficient room to believe the figures are worse in reality as many go unreported.

Nabeeha's gruesome end is reminiscent of the fate of 29-year-old Dr Chinelo Megafu who was killed during a sickening attack on a train travelling from Abuja to Kaduna in March 2022. At least eight people died in the attack and over 100 passengers were abducted — many weren't released until months later after millions of naira lined the pockets of the kidnappers.

Other headline incidents that linger in the memory include mass abductions of students in Kankara, Jangebe, Kagara, Afaka, Greenfield, Birnin Yauri, and Dapchi, an incident which ended with five schoolgirls dead and Leah Sharibu still in custody six years after 107 of her mates returned home.

As recently as last August, gunmen in Zamfara attacked a bus transporting prospective corps members to Sokoto to serve the country as part of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). Six of those abducted, and their bus driver, are still in captivity over four months later. Even though the kidnappers already received over ₦30 million in ransom, they have demanded the payment of an additional ₦70 million.

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One of the many unfortunate gifts President Muhammadu Buhari handed over to President Bola Tinubu last May was the mess of insecurity that grew ever worse under the former in eight years.

The incumbent hasn't appeared to fare any better in his reactions to these worrying security incidents as he's failed to impose himself enough in the thick of things, notably the massacre of over 150 villagers in Plateau State last December.

Like his predecessor, he's preferred to stay in the background, barking orders through tame press releases and surrogate officials who don't command his level of authority.

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Nigeria's kidnap industry has grown to become such a regular feature of daily life that incidents in certain areas are no longer newsworthy unless they have peculiar details.

The more successful the industry gets in brutalising and exploiting Nigerians without adequate government intervention, the bolder kidnappers will get, and more regular Nigerians will suffer.

The impact of the kidnap industry in Nigeria is devastating on the lives of citizens who deserve the basic constitutional right to live in a secure environment. At some point, someone needs to step up with strong resolve and a plan to save Nigerians who, like Nabeeha, don't deserve to die like their lives don't matter.

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