Problem In Nigeria there is rising reported incidents of kidnapping of road users. Vehicles conveying road users are stopped and commuters are taken hostage. Recent studies on these unfortunate incidents indicate that over 50% of kidnapping happen on the roads. Victims are usually taken into the bush where negotiations for ransom are conducted with their family members, friends and employers. Kidnapping on the roads have led to preventable deaths, rape, injuries, economic loss and psychological torture of road users.
Approach 10 bad road sections were identified on major highway between Auchi, Edo State and Okene in Kogi state, a distance of about 60 kms. Questionnaires were distributed to 200 road side residents, road safety officials, community vigilante members and security officials on monitoring duties. Interviews were conducted with 10 major newspaper reporters that had covered related incidents on this particular highway.
Findings On the 60 km section of the road investigated, 5 spots were identified where at least 3 incidents of kidnapping had taken place in the past 6 months. 80% of the spots investigated are failed road sections. 98% of respondents agreed that kidnapping has become a major road danger to commuters. 88% of respondents acknowledged that existence of bad roads is largely associated to incidents of kidnapping. 80% of journalists interviewed agreed that bad road sections are major attraction for criminality. 60% of journalists interviewed attributed the cause of these criminal incidents to growing unemployment of youths, state of the nation’s economy and weak security situation.
Recommendation Prompt remediation of bad road sections is necessary and there should be enhanced collaboration between road users, security agencies, road safety agencies, the media, local authorities and road maintenance agencies for improved roads.