Upsurge in kidnapping, robbery in South West raise concerns
Growing number of reported cases of kidnapping and armed robbery in various parts of the Southwest and other areas in the country has become worrisome.
The reports of course ordinarly suggest, a sudden upsurge in crime throughout the country.
Nigerians, who daily contend with all manner of attacks, ranging from kidnapping to terrorism, are increasingly worried about the new trend and want urgent steps taken to tackle them.
People are frightened by the threats to life and property even as the police under the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Idris Kpotum Ibrahim appear not able to contain the menace.
Following ceaseless kidnappings and killings by gunmen in Lagos and Ogun states, Ibrahim made an emergency visit to the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria.
More frightening is the reported cases of the police getting involved outright in robbery.
For example, few months ago, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Mr. Fatai Owoseni, carried out investigation into the alleged robbery activities of four men attached to the Striking unit of the state’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Ikeja.
The robbery was said to have been carried out on a Saturday night at Shagamu, Ogun State during which the policemen attacked and robbed a trailer loaded with vehicle spare parts.
According to sources then, occupants of the trailer, through the Divisional Police Officer in Shagamu, alerted their company, that they had been robbed, describing the vehicle of the men that robbed them.
The company notified the police that the trailer had a tracking device and Lagos Command was immediately contacted after it was discovered that the trailer was in Lagos.
The officer in-charge of SARS, unaware that his men were the robbers, alerted police patrol team along that axis.
The leader of SARS, who led the robbery attack, an Inspector and two other members of the team escaped, while one of the policemen was tried and dismissed
The dismissed policeman was arrested after a gun duel with policemen alerted by OC SARS.
Confirming the incident then, the state police spokesperson, Dolapo Badmos said some of the suspected policemen were trailed to Okokomaiko where they were arrested.
Ogun and Oyo and Lagos States are now seen as hotbeds for kidnappers and criminals.
Even in Lagos, where crime is thought to have been contained by the collaboration of the Lagos State Government with the police command, there is evidence that kidnapping is on the increase. Nigerians are again sleeping with one eye open.
To contain the menace, the a security expert simply told The Guardian that “If you want to fight insecurity, fund and equip the police.”
Some months ago , the Lagos State Police Command ‘went to sleep for just a moment’ and men of the underworld cashed in on it.
There was a violent robbery in which civilians and policemen were killed, all on the eve of the donation of modern crime-fighting equipment by the state government to the State Police Command, which the former IGP Solomon Arase was in Lagos to receive.
Few days ago, four landlords were kidnapped at Isheri North Estate, a border community between Lagos and Ogun States.
The landlords are still in the den of their captors.
Few months ago ,Oba Goriola Oseni of Iba land, 74, regained his freedom after spending over one week in the den of his kidnappers.
Captors but not before his family paid an undisclosed amount as ransom.
During the attack at about 8pm, his police orderly was shot dead, while one of his wives was injured.
Suspected gunmen, few weeks ago invaded Fatoki, Obadore and Egan, in Igando area of Lagos, carting away properties belonging to the residents.
The place attacked is about five minutes away from Iba Town, where Oba Oseni was kidnapped.
The suspected gunmen arrived the quiet town on speedboats and raided almost all the houses in the area.
Pundits have criticized that citizens are almost loosing their trust in the police in Lagos and Ogun States after dozens of residents were killed by gunmen who invaded Ishawo and Igbolomu area of Ikorodu.
“Since that attack, killings and kidnappings have continued unabated. Why is it that immediately after these attacks, the military are called to intervene and protect residents? What it means is that the people have lost trust in the police.
“When they killed people in Ikorodu area, it was military that took over security of the area, when they invaded Igando, it was military presence that gave residents the courage to return back to their homes.
“A first class Oba in Lagos is still in the hands of his abductors and you think residents are happy with the police? Police should wake up and justify their earnings.
“Whenever these incidents occur, the police always come out with platitudes to douse the situation.
“They hardly ever succeed in bringing criminals to justice. They have become notorious in their failure to find and prosecute murderers.”
Also, in the South west,the Oyo State Government is complaining that security related matters were costing it a fortune. Despite all this, the performance of the police on the whole has been unsatisfactory.
“Their methods are confusing, as motorists, for instance, do not know which of their checkpoints are legal and which are not. Some police are in uniform; others are not. Some have no boots, but all are on road check, ” a disgruntled resident of Ibadan, the state capital complained.
He continued: “Now that some police officers have been implicated in criminal activity, the Inspector General of Police must do some house cleaning to ensure that criminal elements are not allowed in the police force. Indeed the issue of a well trained and well equipped police has defied solution.
“ With security being one of Nigeria’s festering problems, an efficient police is a must have.
“In fact, the shortcomings of our police have led some persons to question whether the establishment of a complementary state police will not be more appropriate to our needs.
“At a personal level, individuals can protect themselves by being circumspect at all times. They should for instance avoid unnecessary journeys, particularly at nights, and considering the terrible state of the roads. Interstate commuters would do well to travel during the day However, the authorities should fix bad roads, and bring more police patrols and checkpoints at night. The police should be equipped with fast response capabilities.
“Churches and Mosques must never be tired of preaching moral regeneration among the youths of the country. Traditional rulers and other opinion leaders must join in the crusade to create a culture of peace. Parents too have crucial roles to play, to steer their wards away from waywardness.
“In the final analysis, whilst not excusing armed robbery and kidnapping, government must address its root causes. The majority of Nigerians are youths, who range from the uneducated, to the semi skilled and to the highly skilled. They all want to work, but there is no work. Many industries are closed or operating at meager levels due to harsh operating environment. We keep buying from China but we have not created an enabling environment for industry to thrive here; a situation that compels some of our youth to beg or hawk, while some others, regrettably, take to robbery.
“ It is the lack of good governance that is fuelling antisocial behaviour. Mass poverty and the growing sense of hopelessness caused by chronic unemployment must be responsible for this behaviour. The rampant corruption in the society in which thoroughly undeserving persons flaunt their ill-gotten wealth breeds a culture of acquisition and thievery.
“ To fight armed robbery, government must create a just society in which hardworking individuals, as distinct from rogue elements, can lead fulfilled lives, free from criminality.” the source added