Prolificacy of arms & crimes: Taming the claws of wild escapades


The proliferation of crime in Nigeria has assumed localised dimension with reflections of several offshooting wings. While there are stormy insecurity formations, such as terrorism and banditry, which have remained on top of the burner of national discourse with deep profile of colossal losses, it has been observed that the dispersion of localised forms of crimes may be  portending more socio-economic impacts than what may be perceived superficially. The clustering of circumstances constituting metabiotic forces informing the dispersion of criminal tendencies into trends of localised operations, is growing too wild and broad with threats against peaceful cohabitation in the Country.

Sensations of panicking is known to have engulfed some communities across the Country which have been suffering from the ravages of deep seated crimes. The extension of these phenomena into other communities recently, by analytical representations, are claws deeply growing to rattle safe and peaceful communal living across communities in the Country.

As urban complexities continue to take reflections in many cities across the Country, the phenomena of pilferage, pick pocketing, street hijacking and item snatching, are fast becoming deep seated. Street and petty robbery, have recently joined the trend by attracting more charlatans. It has been observed that such social complexities as population explosion coupled with harsh economic conditions, are notable contributors to the geometric rise in the profile of street urchins increasingly resorting to these criminal escapades.

It is observable that resorting to illicit crimes of theft have grown, more recently, with citizens left with no option than to commute with extra caution. Given the fact of the deficit in the ratio of Police-to-citizen profile in the Country, among other shortcomings within the formation of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), it is known that Nigerians have had to live under conditions where ‘extra-caution’ would have to be their watchword ‘day-in-day-out’ in their cohabitation amongst one another, particularly in metropolis across the Country.

It has been established that gaps which have been left unattended to, have pathetically become grounds which perpetrators of criminal acts have been exploiting. This find expression on how robbers have been taking chance to operate along routes and high-ways where bad roads have become an exploitable gap giving ample chance for their mischievous escapades to take place. Kidnappers are also known to be exploiting same to push their escapades. The misadventure of urchins have also become rife in several metropolis by exploiting gridlocks along routes where bad roads and uncoordinated traffic management have become eyesores.

In the analytical perusal of the overblowing phenomenon of dispersion of crimes, it is observable that such recent unrest as the #ENDSARS protests, have contributed immensely to further deepen the menaces of crimes. The blows that hit the Police architecture in the unrest, which saw attacks on Police stations and officers, had raised ugly heads of criminal tendencies. It has been observed that weapons carted away by hoodlums during attacks on Police infrastructures during the protests, have become tools for robbery and other criminal escapades. The ugly development had compounded to propel the proliferation of arms for perpetrating criminal escapades. On Monday, the Oyo State Police Command disclosed the arrest of suspected hoodlums who attacked the Akobo Divisional Police Headquarters in Ibadan, looted the armoury and stole other items before setting the station on fire. The Commissioner of Police in the state, Ngozi Onadeko, who said this in a statement on Monday, had revealed that two AK-47 rifles were stolen from the station by the hoodlums during the #ENDSARS unrest in October 2020. According to her, one suspect, 28-year-old Ridwan Amoo, was arrested at his hideout in Moniyaarea of Ibadan with one AK-47 riffle, one locally made single barrel gun and a cutlass.

The statement had read: “On October 22, 2020 at about 15:30hrs, some notorious hoodlums who were armed with dangerous weapons invaded the Akobo Divisional Police Headquarters, Ibadan during the infamous protest that led to the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Nigeria. The rampaging hoodlums who turned out in large numbers dislodged Policemen attached to Akobo Division, looted their armoury and carted away two AK-47 riffles with breech numbers ‘AB35-0136 and 2627486’ both loaded with 30 rounds of live ammunition and one assault riffle with breech number ‘07026333.’ The hoodlums vandalised and set ablaze the buildings at the station and in the process two police patrol vehicles were completely burnt down.

“On July 20, 2021 at about 15:35hrs, one of the hoodlums whom was the masterminded the heinous criminal activities was arrested in his hideout at Moniya area Ibadan following a credible tip off and one AK-47 riffle with ‘27486’ carted away during the invasion of the Police Division was recovered from the suspect. One locally made single barrel gun and a cutlass which he was armed with during the ENDSARS protest were equally recovered from him. Investigation is at top gear to arrest other syndicate members.”

Similarly, it would be recalled that in a related development, the police in Lagos State had mid last month (14th July), disclosed  that it arrested no less 1,320 suspects and recovered 110 arms between May 1 and July 13. The Commissioner of Police in the State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, who made the disclosure during a press briefing  had  said that 125 pieces of ammunition of various calibres and eight stolen vehicles were also recovered. Odumosu, who attributed the arrest to a recent establishment of some tactical units, added that the Command was also able to foil 46 cases of armed robbery within the period.

It is, no doubt, indisputable that the factors spurring and abetting the extending tentacles of crimes in the Country are too pronounced that it has become difficult not to expect such menaces to surface. The need for the Government to rise to responsibility is non-negotiable. It remains, without contest, that one of the crux of the necessities for government is safety and security of lives and property. The collapse of trust in the government as a result of failure to serve as a reliable institution to ensure this expectation, defies what a reasonable government is.

Hence, it is paramount that from economic to social interventions, the government of Nigeria is expected to become strongly and lively to its duties. There is no doubt that the prevalence of such deficiencies as huge deficits in basic social amenities, infrastructures, poor welfare and more troubling, the waning economic conditions, have posed circumstances that leave an atmosphere which permits criminal escapades, which as observed recently, have become deep seated.

A multi-dimensional approach is no doubt the rational approach needed to pragmatically address the growing albatross of deep seated criminality overcharging metropolis across the Country. More importantly, investing in security is key in this perspective. The huge deficits in Police-to-the-citizen ratio in the Country demands sincere attention. In  addition, sanitising the Police architecture through reformative measures to modify and redefine the orientation of the system and by extension it’s personnel, is paramount. Investing in human capacity development of the Force is non-negotiable if a change in narrative is desired in the rousing storms of insecurity and criminality engulfing metropolis across the Country.