Proverbs 1:10-16 says: “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.”
Let me introduce myself so that you understand the mind I am addressing you with. As a Crime/Security journalist, my job has brought me in very close contact with several hundreds of youths that got involved in criminal activities around the country and beyond. I have worked at a very high level, directing the police newspaper publication at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
I recall my interview with notorious armed robbers Lawrence Anini, Oyenusi, Hamadu Tijanni, the cross-border robbery kingpin, and scores of others. Their confessions are documented in my book “DARK CLOUD.” In my over three and half decades of covering crime and security, I have come to realise that most of our youths like those of you involved in crime today were either misled or forced into it.
Truly, life as a criminal is nauseating and very offensive to the ear. Nobody wants to be friends with a criminal. Also offended is God who offered the golden advice in my opening Bible quote from the book of Proverbs. A criminal is never at ease, he is always jittery and afraid of his own shadow. It is worse at the sight of security personnel like the police. So, why would a young man live this type of life, instead of working hard to eke out a living?
My friend, I call you my friend because I want to believe that you are all going to have a rethink after reading this. Truly, there is no gain in robbery or kidnapping. Don’t you see the shame that accompanies the arrest of perpetrators? Don’t you see how members of the public distance themselves from any known kidnapper ,robber or other criminals? Which would you prefer, the life of a criminal or that of a good citizen?
As we enter the year 2020, your parents, friends and the Nigerian President would all be happy to welcome you back into the community as a changed person. By the way, have you sat down to think about the innocent lives you have wasted in the course of your criminal activities? The blood you have shed and the pains inflicted on your victims? How do you feel when you are alone and you recall how you viciously killed, raped and maimed innocent and unarmed victims? Let me shock you with the statistics rendered by the Inspector-General of Police recently while giving account of his operational activities in 2019.
“Between January 2019 to date, a total of 6,531 high-profile suspects were arrested in various police operations. This comprises a total of 2,627 armed robbery suspects; 1,621 suspected cultists; 1,527 kidnapping suspects; and 758 murder suspects.
“Within the same period, the police also recovered a total of 2,037 firearms of various calibre and descriptions; 21,870 ammunition; and 1,662 vehicles. Similarly, 945 kidnapping victims were rescued in various police-led operations in the country.”
In fact, many more of your members are being rounded up nationwide. The reason for this crackdown is that the President of the country has vowed that his second term would focus on complete eradication of kidnappers, robbers, corruption and terrorism in the north-eastern part of the country. This is all the more reason why you should have a change of mind and look for any other profitable job. We know that every father has the obligation to train and advise his child, especially if such a child is seen derailing and exhibiting very bad behaviour. Such training is expected to mould and help form the child’s behaviour in life.
Indeed, psychologists attribute some characters in children who are deviant or disobedient to societal influence, social class or peer pressure and influence. It is known that three major factors help in moulding the life of a child as he develops: his parents, environment or society and his social group, which includes his friends and classmates.
But must you join a bad gang because they extended an invitation to you? Should you not allow your conscience to guide you? The money you pursue illegally, according to holy scriptures, will vanish without being useful. Believe me when I advise you that evil does not pay. When God referred to you as “My Son,” He meant every word of it, and actually disapproves of any of His children joining any gang of criminal activity. God himself warns that the consequences of crime (sin) are disastrous. No wonder, when kidnappers and other criminals are arrested by the police and paraded before journalists, their closing statement when asked if they have any advice to other youths is always, “Crime does not pay.”
Truly, I tell you, kidnapping and all other forms of crime do not pay.
Security File wishes to congratulate the FCT, Abuja, Police Command’s public relations officer DSP Anjuguri Jesse Manzah, who emerged as the most hardworking, resourceful, accessible, approachable, humble and friendly police spokesman of the year 2019, according to a Security File nationwide survey conducted in 2019.