The Robbers This Season

The kind of robbery witnessed at Otun-Ekiti, Moba LGA of Ekiti State, on Friday is not uncommon during “-ember months” in Nigeria. The robbers showed no mercy: a bank manager, a cashier and two security men got killed. Then, they escaped with unquantifiable cash before siren-blaring policemen arrived at the scene.

Not far from there on the same day, armed robbers attacked a police headquarters at Ido-Ekiti with explosives, destroying the premises and carting away arms and ammunition. The hoodlums are likely to make use of those weapons soon.

Is anyone safe? In the east, centre, west or north of Nigeria, robberies are witnessed every day. Only a few are reported. The situation will certainly get worse as Nigeria’s economic recession changes to depression.

Now that almost every home is distressed, robbers know they won’t find much in people’s homes. That’s why bank workers and bank guards are doing the riskiest jobs in Nigeria now. Criminals look for where money is. Armed robbers are not different from kidnappers – only the job designation changes.

Are the law agencies ready to confront the criminals? Not likely. The average policeman cares only about his stomach now. A good number of them are accomplices. Some prey upon poor people.

Over the years we have written about the causes of crimes like armed robbery, kidnapping and terrorism. But the Nigerian governments seem unperturbed or unprepared. I therefore hereby prophesy: the level of crime to be witnessed between now and March 2017 could threaten the existence of Nigerian governments. And delay in tackling the root causes of violent crimes could be dangerous.

Nobody is listening to lecturer-turned-vice-president Yemi Osinbajo anymore. Everything he has said about creating jobs for young Nigerians has turned out to be deliberate falsehood. Not even the “N-Power” programme has taken off. He said 200, 000 would be hired before the end of August, then end of October, and now by November 15. All lies!

The government he runs with Muhammadu Buhari is already a failure on all fronts. Boko Haram is back with vengeance, perhaps after it received millions of dollars as ransom for the release of “21 Chibok girls”. The government’s policies have ensured that millions of jobs are lost but none is created. Those still standing in business are choking on account of dollar scarcity or multiple taxation.

Most awful has been the maltreatment of small traders in Abuja. Several markets have been bulldozed along with traders’ wares. It doesn’t appear there is any FCT minister. I don’t know his name, and many other FCT residents don’t.

It is such wickedness in high places that gave birth to Boko Haram. In fact, if the terrorist group had not been killing poor people and destroying their homes, it would have since won several converts. Many would stand against government corruption that has killed jobs and rendered academic qualifications useless. Yes, boko is haramthe kind of western education received here is really not appropriate. It has created clever thieves in high places. Why, for instance, would a governor or DG embezzle N200 billion belonging to his fellow compatriots? Why would a “learned judge” deliver injustice as judgement when dollars change hands? Why should a suspected chicken thief remain in jail for 10 years without trial while a mass murderer (who stole billions and thus killed thousands) is celebrated and given national awards?

Every unemployed graduate in Nigeria today is a potential terrorist or robber. The starving poor are potential thieves: the widespread cases of stealing of garri and soup from cooking stoves make that clear. Those that have brought this misery on the majority should not expect peace in this rich country of poor people.

Where are the planners of our education system? We can’t continue to have 200 universities producing 2million jobseekers every year. That is foolishness. The leaders of Nigeria had better start doing something while there is still time. Otherwise, nobody should expect to be spared when many more young people being neglected today take up arms. Every year in budget speeches, we hear that agriculture would be given priority attention, but every year we get disappointed. The youth have rejected agriculture because they see what their mates are doing as councillors, local government chairmen, state and federal legislators, and even as political thugs.

A revolution is in the air. If we fail to expand the economy to create more jobs, there would emerge groups like the “national union of unemployed Nigerian graduates” or “association of frustrated Nigerians” or “Nigerian union of jobseekers” to needle the government and people of Nigeria to no end.  Both the rich and the poor will cry.

Meanwhile, I urge fellow compatriots to defend themselves from criminals in this season. Each person should know his neighbours and monitor their movements. With vigilante groups in every neighbourhood, it would be easy to apprehend criminals and deliver justice to them before involving the police. Just as they don’t show their victims mercy, armed robbers should not expect mercy when caught.


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