1.1 to identify kidnapping events which may

1.1 Background of the Study

is currently facing incidents of terrorism by Boko Haram whereby their attacks
come from diverse methods to get the needs met. In recent times kidnapping has
been a method employed.

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kidnapping is not only peculiar to terrorists, it is now a method employed by
different people and groups in Nigeria for diverse reasons, especially in the
southern part of the country which includes; South-East, South-South and

are series of media reports on kidnapping incidents on a daily basis and some
of them make the headline news such as the kidnap of Canon Otto, the winner of
the 2014 Gulder Ultimate Search Viewers’ Choice Awards on August 2017, the
kidnap of Mrs Margaret Emefiele, the wife to the governor of the Central Bank
of Nigeria on September 2016 and the kidnap of the father of Chimamanda Ngozi
Adiche on May 2, 2015.

to the increasing rate of kidnapping in Nigeria, people are reacting to this
huge security threat, from citizens, people in the government, foreign
countries and the international community at large. The governor of Ondo state,
Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, said that, ‘the kidnap of people is causing panic across
the country.’ He emphasised that the military can assist in curbing this menace
from the society. The executive
secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Professor Ben Angwe in 2016
said, kidnapping of persons was a gross violation of people’s rights.

Among the interactive participatory features of online
newspapers, commentary is of particular interest because of the amount of
information it carries. Comments can simultaneously tell viewers how good or
bad other people feel about something and why they feel this way. (Shi,
Messaris &Cappella, 2014). This study explores one form of the interactive
participatory features of online newspapers, i.e. commentary which provide the
readers’ responses to the core message of the report. Asides the opinion section,
letters to editor and columns on digital newspapers, the comment section is
another way people can share their thoughts, opinions and express their
feelings about news reports. While the opinion section and letters to editor
section may be filtered so as for them to align with the in-house policy, the
comments section cannot be filtered or ‘gate kept’.

(2014) suggested that if a further research should be carried out on kidnapping
in Nigeria it should study on a manual collection of media reports and other
data sources to identify kidnapping events which may yield a more robust
analysis. To build on Larsen’s point, this study intends to analyse readers’
comments on selected online newspaper reports on kidnapping which will possibly
point out the views of the citizens of the country. By analysing these
comments, it will provide a means of assessing the audience understanding,
attitude and reaction to media messages on kidnapping.

many studies on kidnapping in Nigeria analyse the causes, reasons, motivating
factors and consequences (Thom-Otuya,
2010; Ottuh & Aitufe, 2014; Ngawama, 2014; Uchenna & Sorochi, 2015;
Abdulkabir, 2017), only a few discuss on the public’s view or opinion of
kidnapping in Nigeria (Akhigbe
& Koleso, 2013; Larsen, 2014; Nweke, 2014). This study is the first
comprehensive study to analyse readers’ comments in selected online newspaper
reports on kidnapping.

Nowhere is safe for Nigerians as people are kidnapped on the road while
travelling, such as the Kaduna-Abuja highway and Kaduna-Kano highway, on the
sea, such as the high rate of kidnapping and abductions in the Gulf of Guinea,
while at work, such as the kidnap of two Indian workers in Gboko village, Benue
state  while they were driving to work at a cement factory owned by Nigerian
billionaire Aliko Dangote on June 2016, and the kidnap of students from schools
such as the kidnap of six students from Igbo-Nla Model College in Epe, Lagos
State in June 2017. Therefore, to view what the public are saying about the
issue of kidnapping in the country, this study will analyse readers’
comments on selected online newspapers of kidnapping in Nigeria.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

is a common crime in the global community not exempting Africa especially
Nigeria and South Africa. Although, there are little statistics to show the
rate of increased kidnapping rate in Nigeria, it  is estimated 
that  there  are 
approximately  10,000  Kidnappings 
each  year  worldwide, (Thom-Otuya, 2010). Kidnapping in
Nigeria which was a regional affair and oil sector problem in the Niger Delta
region, is now a nightmare to the entire nation. Boko Haram kidnap of Chibok
girls in 2014, kidnap of pupils and students in Lagos state and axis of Ogun
state, kidnap of foreign workers in different parts of the countries, and so

impact of kidnapping has become disturbing and perplexing in the international
community including Nigeria. Kidnapping has led to serious threat to lives as
societies and communities are scared to fear of being kidnapped, it has also
hindered business activities which has discouraged both local and foreign
investors such as in the Boko Haram infested areas in Northern Nigeria which is
important to the socio-economic development of the country.

spate of kidnapping today in Nigeria is an unprecedented dimension  that 
many  people  are 
visibly  worried  about 
of the state to combat the social menace that was hitherto unheard  of 
before  the  1990s 
(Okengwu,  2011). In the light of
the above, this study will be analysing people or readers reaction on the
feedback mechanism of online newspaper reports on kidnapping in Nigeria.

focus of this analysis is to show the different ways people react to
government’s actions and inactions subsequent to kidnapping using the feedback
mechanism on online newspaper reports. The study analyses the thematic contents
and functional values of readers’ reactions in order to extract audience
actions, and possible recommendations that could be employed by the government
and the public for possible solutions to kidnapping in Nigeria.

this paper would analyse the rate of kidnapping through feedback comments by
online newspaper reports in Nigeria between 2014 and 2017.

1.3 Objectives of
the Study

To examine the
comments of online newspaper reports on kidnapping.

To assess the
issues and ongoing discussions regarding kidnapping in Nigeria.

To assess the
position of the readers’ comments on the reports published by the online
newspaper reports on kidnapping.

To analyse the
slant of the comments on the reports published by the online newspapers on

1.4 Research Questions

1.      What are the comments of online newspaper reports on

2.      What are the issues and ongoing discussions regarding
kidnapping in Nigeria?

3.      What is the position of readers’ comments on the
reports published by the online newspaper reports on kidnapping?

4.      What is the slant of the comments on the reports
published by the online newspapers on kidnapping?

1.5 Significance of the Study

is currently facing a lot of social problems among which is kidnapping. Kidnapping
has posed a threat to Nigeria’s security, economy, peace, and harmony n

study will be helpful for statistical reports and indexes to show people’s
opinion, their anguish and anxieties on the issue of kidnapping in Nigeria. It
will be of help to further researchers to use same method in examining and
analysing people’s perception over kidnapping in other countries that they will
be using as a case study.

study is significant as it will be beneficial to the government and security agencies
in the area of policy formulation and control strategies that is, in regards to
formation of laws against kidnapping as well as how to control these great
threat in the Nigeria. Also, this study would equally serve as a reference
material to future researchers.

study will be vital for academic reasons in terms of researching on another
platform of kidnapping in the world because kidnapping has gone far beyond what
we think, it is a global issue.  Also,
due to the effects that victims of kidnapping face, this study will be
important for clinical reasons. These effects includes psychological,
emotional, physical, trauma and so on.

The research findings will be useful for further
research. Researchers who wish to do more studies about feedback comments on
online newspaper reports on kidnapping will use the information to do a
literature review for future studies. In addition, the government  as well 
as nongovernmental agencies can 
also  draw lessons from the studies  and also, it will be helpful to online
newspapers and other online discussion forums media with ideas on how best to
regulate debates.

The  need  for  an 
assessment  of  newspapers 
public  opinions  on 
the  kidnapping threat in the
country is as twice important as it is topical. As such, the research brings to
fore the importance of newspapers feedback comments as a guide to government
and the general public, (Adekunle, 2012).

1.6 Scope of the Study

extent of this study is limited to focusing on feedback comments on kidnapping
in selected online newspapers. Although, kidnapping in Nigeria had started for
long in the nineties in Nigeria, the span of this research timeframe is between
2014 and 2017.

This work analyses readers’ comments about kidnapping
in seven online newspapers from 2014 to 2017, that is, The Guardian, Vanguard, Premium
Times, This Day, Nigerian Observer, The Neighbourhood and Urhobo Today.

1.7 Limitations of the Study

paper focuses only on seven online Nigerian newspapers out of the huge number
of traditional newspapers that have developed to the online version, therefore
I will not be able to cover every readers comment on kidnapping.

readers’ comments gotten from these online newspaper articles do not pertain to
the opinions of other Nigerians on kidnapping.

study is also limited to the fact that there is not much previous research
available in the area of online newspapers in Nigeria. Most research has
concentrated on hard copy newspapers. 

study thus identifies these as weaknesses of the results that will be found
after the investigation.

1.8 Operational
Definition of Terms

Audience Participation: This is the active involvement of the audience in a
particular media such as film, television, newspaper, discussion forums, and

It is an observation or reaction to express opinions, beliefs and attitudes.

This is the abduction or the act of holding people hostage to take ransom from
the victim’s family or as a sacrifice for ritual money or as an extenuative
appeasement to win political appointment. Kidnapping is also viewed as the
taking of a person from one place to another against his or her will.

This is defined as a weekly or daily publication consisting of folded sheets
and containing articles of news, features, reviews, letters to editor, reviews
and advertisements, etc.

Online Newspaper:
This is defined as a digital version of a print newspaper. It contains online
publication such as news, columns, opinions, features, and so on.

Public Opinion:
This is the collection of views of many different people on a particular
topical issue that could stand as a reflection of general feeling in a society.

This are the audience who are reached by written communications (books or
magazines or newspapers etc.)


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Akeredolu laments on the rising cases of kidnapping. The Guardian Newspaper, July 26, 2017.

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