Better Dead than Missing: Child Kidnapping (gbomogbomo) in Lagos, 1945 to 1999


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




Kidnapping for ransom has become a major growth area in criminal activity in Nigeria. As disturbing as this trend is, it is a temporary fad when compared to the deeper problem of child kidnapping for rituals and trafficking investigated in this study. During the colonial period, especially after World War II, child kidnappers caused panic in Lagos as they seized children for various ends. This continued in the post-independence era at an even more alarming pace. This study examines the nature of this phenomenon in Lagos, drawing out patterns and trends by analyzing official and popular responses to the crime.