In 2014, 276 schoolgirls were forcibly removed from campus in the Nigerian town of Chibok by Boko Haram, an Islamic militant group based in Nigeria. In December 2020, 344 students were taken from a school in the state of Katsina. Two weeks ago, in the state of Zamfara, 42 people were kidnapped from a private boarding academy. Recently, they were released. Last week, 317 schoolgirls were taken from their school by one of several armed groups that operate in the state of Zamfara. Politicians are calling these acts totally “unacceptable” and calling for immediate release of the girls. Police forces have mobilized with the goal of identifying and apprehending those responsible and freeing the girls to return to their families. Community members are angered and saddened at the fact that many children must forego their education in an effort to remain safe with their family. In this week’s Lecture Spark, we explore the mass abduction of schoolgirls in Nigeria through the lens of sociology. Specifically, we are using critical perspective to examine the role of politics, economy and social forces that drive persistence of a vicious cycle of kidnapping-ransom-release in Nigeria.
Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for Kidnappings in Nigeria
LO1: Explain how social, political and economic factors intersect and contribute to the proliferation of kidnappings in Nigeria.
LO2: Discuss the role of gender in determining what social groups to kidnap.
LO3: Identify an appropriate response by authority figures to mass abductions.
Nigeria: More than 300 schoolgirls abducted in Northwest
Kidnapping is currently Nigeria’s biggest and fastest enterprise with dozens abducted daily.
Gunmen abduct over 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria. Hear this mother’s reaction
Gunmen abducted hundreds of schoolgirls and killed one police officer during a raid on a state-run school in Zamfara State, north-west Nigeria, a government official told CNN. About 500 students are normally at the boarding school, of whom around 315 were taken by the gunmen.
Nigeria boys freed, police search for 317 missing girls
Gunmen released 27 teenage boys who were kidnapped from their school last week in Nigeria’s north-central state of Niger, while security forces continued to search for 317 schoolgirls abducted on Friday in the state of Zamfara.
What are your thoughts on the response of the Nigerian government to these mass abductions? How do you think the kidnapping of over 300 American girls from a school in the United States would be responded to? In what ways would it be similar to that of what is happening in Nigeria now, and how do you think it might be different? Compare and contrast the normalization of kidnapping in Nigeria with the normalization of school shootings in the United States.
Why do you think these militants targeted school-aged girls? Why might they have deliberately chosen a school where no boys attended school? How does the social construction of an abducted group of boys vary from the social construction of an abducted group of girls? How might young girls be more valuable to a group of armed militants as compared to boys?
How is the trend of kidnappings tied to economic circumstances in Nigeria? What is the relationship between lack of investment in educational opportunities for boys and men and an industry of kidnapping? What social institutions are responsible for these abductions vis-à-vis existing social problems like illiteracy and unemployment in Nigeria? What needs to change?
What do you imagine the experience of being kidnapped is like? How might the experience be potentially damaging to the victim? What benefits exists for those who are a victim of a kidnapping and escaping alive? How might escaping captivity after being kidnapped interrupt current and future social interactions and relationships?
How do stories like this support the American norm of being wary of strangers? How might this information stoke existing racism and ethnocentrism in groups that are more cautious than confident in their interactions with “othered” populations? What group benefit the most from our instilled fear of others? What group experiences the most negative consequences of this trend?
- Dozens Of Kidnapped Nigerian Students Freed; Hundreds Of Others Still Missing
- In Nigeria, an agonising wait for parents of 300 abducted girls
- Schoolchildren freed after abduction in northern Nigeria, governor says
- Viewpoint: Self-defence not the answer to Nigeria’s kidnap crisis
- 3 Years After, Parents of Nigerian Girl Abducted by Boko Haram Still Plead for Her Release
- Nigeria Is Responding to Yet Another Mass Kidnapping of Schoolchildren by Gunmen
A sociologist using the _______ perspective would focus their attention on the individual experiences of survivors of kidnapping to learn more about the nuanced ways an individual could be transformed through this experience.
d. Rationale Choice
A sociologist using the _______ perspective would focus on how dysfunctional qualities of create instability in society and how social institutions contribute to the trend of kidnappings in Nigeria.
d. Rationale Choice
A sociologist using the _______ perspective would focus on the individual decision making process done by carefully weighing pros and cons of participating in this activity by people who decided to go through with a kidnapping.
d. Rationale Choice
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