Criminality is a progressive act. Those who perpetrate it are either tools in someone’s hand or they determine to carry it out for personal reasons. Hoodlum’s activities in the country metamorphosed from house break-in to armed robbery, then the trend escalated and even students got involved and the country has been roundly enveloped by armed robbers operating at different levels in an advanced way. Security fences around houses, which hitherto were very low, were erected very high, some with barbedwire or security gadgets mounted on them. The same development was noticed around doors and gates that used to be wooden but were replaced with metal doors and gates.
The security agency at the time, around the early 1970s, seemed overwhelmed. Even as the robbery raged and innocent citizens were cut down by robbers, government did not back down on its constitutional mandate as the police leader was publicly questioned by the then head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida. Soon after, the police woke up from slumber as state commissioners exhibited extraordinary strategies and notorious armed robbers were either gunned down or were rounded up for prosecution. Robbers like, Abraham Idoko, Eric Ndukuaba, Kalu Emetu, Emma Ogundipe, Valentine Onuoha, DSP George Iyamu, Lawrence Anini, Patrick Irebhyde, Donald Udie, Lukman Tiamiyu and Shina Rambo, among many others operating across the country.
These notorious criminals robbed on the high-ways, forcefully broke into banks, like Bank in Oyingbo, wher N35 million Naira was carted away and several bullion vans were viciously attacked.
The police were then on top of the situation. Banks keyed into the idea to instal security gates as proffered by Mike Okiro, who was then the police commissioner in Lagos State. Every nook and cranny of the country became calm. Robbery was to be a thing of history in Nigeria. There was no highway robbery nor bank robbery.
However, just when the country was heaving a sigh of relief, government at all levels became nonchalant in their responsibilities and unemployment soared high, coupled with various negative drugs that flooded the market illegally thereby creating social problems in society. As more youths were unemployed, another wave of criminality ensued as able-bodied young men sought for firearms and delved into a new era of kidnapping for ransom. They figured out that what five robbery operations could not provide, one kidnapping operation would fetch such huge amounts. Police press reports giving graphic description of how kidnappers operate plus Nollywood dramatization of kidnapping helped to attract more unemployed youths to the vicious criminal act of kidnapping. Not too long ago, as the country evolved and governments left undone most of their constitutional roles, many core areas of the country began to decay at an unfortunate speed. The love for money became evident as corruption became the cankerworm eating deep into the conscience of many who found themselves in very sensitive key positions at the federal and state levels. Even politicians did not help matters. They ‘empowered’ jobless youths with easy money, plus guns, and turned them into political thugs. They were used and dispensed like tissue paper and abandoned to fend for themselves after their nefarious assignment. These youths later turned the gun against innocent members of the society just to make fast money, which they were already baptized in by mindless politicians.
Then, in 2002, sequel to the lackluster attitude of the Nigeria Police in handling the case of Muhammed Yusuf, the founder of the Boko Haram sect, an uncontrollable fracas ensued between members of the sect and ill-equipped police in Maiduguri. The police seemed overwhelmed and the military was immediately called in to restore normalcy, but it has escalated and degenerated into a war that is facing the country in the north-eastern fringes of the country. As they swell in rank, so were they adopting several evil strategies as terrorists. They upgraded the vicious act of kidnapping by abducting over 200 female students from Chibok.
From then onwards, large-scale abductions were witnessed and ransom paying became the order of the day. Most often, institutions would pay the demanded ransom and seal their mouth like a child who stole a piece of meat from his mother’s pot and on hearing the voice or footstep approaching the kitchen would quickly wipe his mouth and lips of any trace of oil. Nigerians never believed most government’s holier-than-thou attitude when it concerned paying ransom. In fact, most government ransom were shrouded in complete secrecy. Many distrust government but believe individuals who confess paying ransom to free their beloved.
The recent trend by northern governors who secretly pay ransom and clean their mouth like the small thief in the kitchen does not augur well for the country, if normalcy is to be restored. It is assumed that more than N2 billion may have so far been paid to kidnappers of various shades. The recent addition to the kidnapping saga by the northern bandits should not be encouraged but must be stopped at all cost. The recent kidnapping in Katsina, Niger and Zamfara states, where several dozens of boarding students were abducted, leaves much to be desired between the security agencies and the government whom the people accuse of complacency. In Niger State, for instance, why did the security agencies not swoop on the bandits immediately the students were released? Must the government and the police be lectured that banditry is mini terrorism and should be treated as such? Are they not aware that whosoever takes up arms against the citizens of Nigeria are enemies of the country? Why would the government be seen to be romancing with these groups of killers and not ensuring that they are killed in active evil service? Have we not killed armed robbers and Boko Haram members while in active evil service? Why treat bandits with kid gloves, as if there is something else we are covering?
Today, the government is seen sending red signal to the bandits, but when the time is ripe to take action it behaves as if its hands are tied. What then is the gain of the country that voted into office a former military general as President, if under his watch ordinary bandits are running haywire like an uncontrollable vehicle? If armed robbery could be terminated, then government and its agencies should save the country from the hands of northern bandits.
Hausanization of EFCC (2)
It is interesting to note that three former Presidents deliberately threw overboard the Federal Character Act enacted to guide in the appointment of key officers to federal institutions: Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. They respectively appointed the pioneer chairman of the EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, from Yola, Adamawa State, Mrs. Farida Waziri, from Benue State, Ibrahim Larmode, from Adamawa, Ibrahim Magu, Barebari or Kanuri from Borno. While the present chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa, is from Kebbi State.
(To be continued)