A Comparative Survey of the Print Media in the Coverage of Kidnapping in Nigeria (a Case Study of Vanguard and Daily Trust Newspaper)




1.1 Background Of The Study

Violent crimes, such as armed robbery, drug trafficking, kidnappings and abductions, assassinations, bank raiding, militancy, and terrorism has been a major challenge in most countries of Africa. And Nigeria is no exception.  kidnapping as a form of violent crime has the potential to emerge into other felonies such as physical abuse, financial extortion, and murder etc. Nigerian kidnapping activities can be traced back to the early nineties (Hazen & Horner 2007). Dating from the early 2000s, kidnappings contributed extensively to a climate of terrorism in Nigeria’s South East, Niger Delta, and South-western regions, and subsequently became a routine occurrence. The Nigeria Police Force documented 887 incidents of kidnapping across the country between 2008 and 2010 (Action on Armed Violence, 2013). Kidnapping according to Ngwama, (2014) is a security concern which is not new in Nigeria, and its ubiquity has been exacerbated by the strain on security. Furthermore, the severity of kidnapping in Nigeria is so tremendous that it has impacted almost everyone in the country. According to Ezemenaka (2018), kidnapping instances became frightening when militants seized oil personnel, ostensibly to attract global attention to the country’s catastrophic situation in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. Since then, the social problem of kidnapping has spread far and wide like a wildfire. Another high-profile kidnapping occurred in Chibok, Borno State. During this time, a terrorist group known as BokoHaram kidnapped approximately 230 female secondary school girls who were in the process of writing their O’Level exams (Shuaibu, 2015). Nonetheless, numerous examples of kidnapping of government leaders, business owners, the rich, the poor, and even students have occurred.

Notably, the constant prevalence of human abductions in Nigeria led to a global uproar as the mass media and communities joined in raising the alarm and keeping the public informed regarding this societal menace.

The media exists as an information source and broadcast, instructional promotion, espionage, societal education, and mobilization. These functions distinguish the media as a vital link or factor in the relationship between the government and the governed. In light of the aforementioned functions, Ngwama (2014) proposed that the media should be active in broadcasting and publishing kidnapping cases so that the government can take appropriate action.

Specifically, the print media (newspapers), according to Zenn (2014), played a major role in keeping the public abreast of the state of the Chibok girls’ abduction, as well as other similar cases of kidnapping in Nigeria. In disagreement with this, Eze (2011) posited that in the coverage of issues of conflict such as kidnapping, the print media function of surveillance and news publishing has been unpalatably ineffective as they do not report most vital cases of kidnapping, especially in rural communities. In light of this, Nwabueze, Ugochukwu, and Gebra (2014) asserted that there is a need for the print media sector to brace-up and carry out wider surveillance so as to bring to public notice issues that require urgent attention with a view to mobilizing development efforts in that area. Importantly, print media is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach out to the public, and as a result, audiences can easily comprehend and keep up with current events.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

One of the challenges that draws the attention of both the populace and the government of a particular society is the security of lives and property. As such, a breach of security, either in the nature of kidnapping, abduction, bomb explosion, or other means, arouses public interest and anxiety. To that end, the public is seek for accurate and dependable information about the WHY, WHEN, and WHERE of the unpalatale scenario (Inyang, 2009). With the increasing incidence of kidnapping in Nigeria, it is crucial to keep the public informed about the situation of internal insecurity, precautions, and governmental efforts. To accomplish this, the mass media must be accurate, dependable, and effective in delivering such essential information to the general public (Kyrian, 2017). O on the other hand, Muobike (2018), found that in the reporting of kidnapping instances in Nigeria, journalists provide contradictory information on issues regarding crisis situations. He further claimed  that coverage varies from newspaper to newspaper. To this end,  p rint media businesses have failed to harmonize their information.

Furthermore, empirical researches have shown that kidnapping is deserving of media coverage. However, the degree of prominence, regularity, and direction given to such occurrences or issues by the press is of lower level (Okoro & Odoemelam, 2013). One would argue that the traditional media, which has a social responsibility of providing the public with proper knowledge about specific happenings in society, would have paid more attention to kidnapping issues and informed the public accordingly, but the opposite is the case.

This study is therefore set to comparatively examine print media coverage of kidnapping in Nigeria. The study will be focused on vanguard and daily trust newspapers with the intention of ascertaining the effectiveness of print media in kidnapping news reporting.

1.3 Objective Of The Study

The basic aim of this study is to comparatively examine print media coverage of kidnapping in Nigeria. Specifically, the study will;

  1. Determine print media firms are accurate and timely in reporting of kidnapping news in Nigeria.
  2. Determine the extent of the print media’s effectiveness in reporting kidnapping news.
  3. Ascertain if there is any significant difference between the level of frequency, prominence, and direction given to kidnapping cases in the Daily Trust and Vanguard newspapers.

1.4 Hypotheses for Research

The validity of the statements below will be tested in this study;

H01: Print media firms are not accurate and timely in reporting kidnapping news in Nigeria.

H02: The extent of the print media’s effectiveness in reporting kidnapping news is low.

H03: There is no significant difference between the level of frequency, prominence, and direction given to kidnapping cases in the Daily Trust and Vanguard newspapers.

1.5 Significance Of The Study

Banditry operations in Nigeria are on the increase, hence there is a need to keep the public apprised through quick dissemination of news relating to banditry operations such as kidnapping. From this note, this study will meticulously assess the effectiveness of the print media in reporting kidnapping news in Nigeria. Therefore, the outcome of this study will inform print media firms that they need to step up their news reporting speed and communicate the news in simple languages for the understanding of a layman. Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regards to the print media coverage of kidnapping in Nigeria.

1.6 Scope Of The Study

The study is focused on print media coverage of kidnapping in Nigeria. Hence, the study will further determine whether print media firms are accurate and timely in their reporting of kidnapping news in Nigeria. Also, the study will delve into determining the extent of the print media’s effectiveness in reporting kidnapping news and ascertaining if there is any significant difference between the level of frequency, prominence, and direction given to kidnapping cases in the Daily Trust and Vanguard newspapers. Thus, the Daily Trust and Vanguard newspapers will serve as case studies for this research.

1.7 Limitation Of The Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.

1.8 Definition Of Terms

Media: This is the main means of mass communication (broadcasting, publishing, and the internet) regarded collectively.

Print Media: This is the means of mass communication in the form of printed publications, such as newspapers and magazines.

Newspaper: a printed publication (usually issued daily or weekly) consisting of folded unstapled sheets and containing news, articles, advertisements, and correspondence.


Eze C. (2011). Terrorism, National Security and the Challenge for National Development: Role of the Nigerian Press.

Ezemenaka, S. E. (2018). Kidnapping: A security challenge in Nigeria. Journal of Security and Sustainability Issue.

Inyang,(2009). Kidnapping: Who Can Deliver Nigeria? News D’ OR Magazine.

Kyrian, I. (2017). Intelligence reports and kidnapping.

Muobike, O. I. (2018). The Guardian and the Nation newspapers framing of the abduction of Chibok girls.

Ngwama, J.C. (2014). Kidnapping in Nigeria: An Emerging Social Crime and the Implications.

Nwabueze, C., Ugochukwu C. and Gebra, O (2014). Newspaper Coverage of Nigeria Police Activities.

Okoro, N., & Odoemelam, C. C. (2013). Print media framing of Boko haram insurgency in Nigeria.

Shuaibu, (2015). The impact of Boko Haram insurgency on Nigerian national security.

Zenn, J. (2014). Boko Haram and the Kidnapping of the Chibok Schoolgirls




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