Organised robbery amid rising societal complexities, rejigging domestic security responses now a necessity 


Illegitimate ventures have grown with rising socio-economic hardship, recently, to heighten narratives of criminalities in Nigeria. The rate of networks of organised criminal ventures in the Country have reached a height where the demarcating walls of legitimate from illegitimate businesses are growing slimmer. This is as more coordinated formations of illicit ventures have found a place in the Nigerian society, such that their networks have left the entity with sensations of pronounced illegitimacy of conducts.

It is well known that the activities that cluster around the perpetration of  illegal ventures are such that largely carry along plethora of aggressive dispositions, many of which form threats of insecurity. While insurgencies have been largely concentrated on, as the parent hold of insecurity in the Country, it is undoubtedly evident that other forms of criminal ventures bearing harmful reflections of aggression are not out of place in the narratives of insecurity threats in the Country.  One of such aggression bearing illegitimate criminality has been robbery. While the menace has borne several wings of expression, calculated dimensions of  robbery, recently,  have begun to push the menace to another level of scorching narratives.

Recently, calculated intelligent-driven arm robbery on bullion vans have been on a toll of record. Since, the trend of money exchange has assumed more reserved  dimension, where financial institutions now assume a centre stage in the management of money custody, the targets of robbers are increasingly appearing to have their focus on these institutions of the society. The narrative is such that as financial inclusion grows with pervasiveness of  banking culture, more persons now move with less cash, using banks rather as safe haven for their savings. The trend has seen mischievous perpetrators of high profile robbery diverting more attention from the erstwhile ‘home-visiting,’ to logistics and structures of banks.

Recently, trailing and attacking of money conveying bullion vans have been on a toll. Although such vans are usually accompanied with security personnel, the calculated operations of the robbery are such that overpower security escorts to overrun the bullion van and cart away the huge sum. While there have been cases of failed attempt, the successful cases have formed unsavoury narratives of losses to financial institutions. With macroscopic impacts, the economy is affected, while the social fabrics of the Country are not left untouched.

Another case of the sordid experience confirmed by the Police was recorded in Abia State on Wednesday, the 27th July, 2022. The attack on the bullion van conveying cash from a new generation bank in Aba to Umuahia, was yet another reflection of the threats before financial institutions in the Country. The Police Public Relations Officer, Abia State Command, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, in narration, said the robbers barricaded the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway where they laid ambush waiting for the bullion van. The narratives revealed that on sighting the bullion van and escort team, the robbers fired at them making the driver of the van to swerve into the bush. In an effort to escape, the yet-to-be-identified official of the bank who was escorting the cash and one of the robbers were killed on the spot, even as three police officers were injured. He also disclosed that an AK-47 rifle with three loaded magazines strapped were recovered from the robbers. He was quoted, “Based on a distress call, teams of tactical operatives were dispatched to the scene.

“At the scene, one inspector Leo Francis of CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) base 4 Aba was met and he stated that he along with five others while escorting a bullion van from Aba to Umuahia ran into a gang of armed robbers who had barricaded the highway and were firing sporadically. Efforts made to stop the bullion van and escort vehicle yielded no dividend as the driver veered into the bush. The cash officer accompanying the bullion van was shot dead on the spot, three policemen on escort sustained bullet injuries while one of the armed robbers was neutralized and his AK-47 rifle with 90 rounds of ammunition was recovered. The injured policemen were rushed to the hospital while the deceased, are deposited in the morgue for preservation. An investigation has commenced. The robbers were said to have carted away with an undisclosed sum of cash.”

In February, an event of armed robbery attack on a bullion van transporting money to a bank at Idi-Ape in Ibadan, North East Local Government area of Oyo state, killing three police officers and four others was recorded. Details of  reports narrated that the armed robbers, who were said to have dressed in police uniform, trailed the van to Idi-Ape and, tried unsuccessfully to intercept the bullion van at the area. As reported,  the robbers allegedly fired several shots at the escort van in a bid to intercept the van and cart away the money.  In January, Thursday 27th, 2022, suspected armed robbers, in Ughelli Delta State, had attacked a bullion van around Otor-Owhe, Isoko North Local Government Area, carting away an undisclosed sum of money. Report revealed the gunmen had shot sporadically at the bullion, shattering its windscreen which forced its driver to a halt.

The menace of high profile robbery with calculated operations, in all reflections, has grown to pose deforming threats to the economy. It is worrisome for financial institutions which have largely become targets and victims recently. The macroscopic impacts are such debilitating on the business environment of the Country, as such narratives are disinteresting factors that largely would deter investors. This, largely, would transcend local investors to foreign investors.

While businesses would now have to fear operating under an unreliable atmosphere, the deterring force of same to foreign direct investment, at a time when such is largely  essential for the economy, are negative impacts unsavoury for the economy. The social and political fabrics would also have to suffer the consequences as poorer conditions of living would bear no positive impacts on the society at large.

In the long run, proliferation of criminalities and worsening insecurity narratives would be much near sight. The loss of lives, capital and properties associated with such misadventures are destruction of valuables which, in their fusing impacts, portend threats to the entire society.

It has become necessary for the Government to rejig the architecture of domestic security in the Country. The necessity is such demanding a system proactive enough to secure, firmly, metropoleis across the Country, where such high robbery cases have become common place. In essence, an overarching system of responsive security parameters, driven by intelligence and sufficent man power with formidable architecture hard to be discomfitted by organised robbery operations, has become a non negotiable necessity to keep cities in the Country safe from rising domestic threats, as the Nigerian society grow more complex.

It is apparent the entrenched societal complexities and population explosion have outgrown the prevailing system of security, only a systemic remodelling for responsive architecture commensurate to put under control the rising realities is the way to go.