Evaluating The Shapes Of Crime In Nigeria
In recent years, security agencies in Nigeria have continued to record significant increase in the rate of crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, rape murder, suicide, fraud and drug abuse. The mass media has added what seems like more salt to injury by heightening the impact of the ugly trend on the nation’s image internationally.
Proffering a lasting solution to any problem begins with its proper identification. So, it has become necessary to evaluate the nature of the prevalent crimes with a view to tackling the menace.
Categories of crime include the Crime of Passion and Premeditated Crime. A Crime of Passion is in most cases, a response to a suddenly triggered or gradually built unpleasant feeling. It is a failure of anger management. A she for instance, offends a he. He immediately hacks her to death, comes back to his senses and begins to regret, cry and panic.
Most people who commit the Crime of Passion are not originally criminals. They don’t plan to commit the crime. It is most times, a case of failure of anger management.
Premeditated Crime on the other hand, is committed only by criminals. They take time to plan the crime and execute the plan very perfectly, with every effort to avoid traces.
Kidnapping, armed robbery, terrorist attacks and fraud are Premeditated Crimes and their rate of occurrence is currently on the increase in Nigeria. Kidnapping particularly, is not a one-man crime but is most times, committed by a network, involving various individuals.
Why have more Nigerians suddenly become criminally minded? This is a question that seeks answer in this piece. There are three basic elements that must exist for any crime to be committed. There has to be The Criminal, The Target and The Opportunity for execution.
As for the dream of a totally crime-free society, it cannot happen because the human mind can be flexible and unpredictable. There is always the tendency for individuals to commit one crime or the other. So, there is no solution to the element called Criminal.
As for crime Target, there is hardly a solution to this element. We cannot stop building banks and private houses because of the existence of burglars and armed robbers. We cannot stop movement of people or commercial activities because of the existence of kidnappers. So, nothing can be done about crime Target.
However, a lot can be done about opportunity for crime to be committed. There are opportunities for crime to be minimized or outrightly eliminated depending on the nature.
Inefficiency of Nigeria’s judicial system and processes, is a crime opportunity that must be addressed urgently. If people are not seen to be punished for crimes, more people will commit the same crime. The provision of a 24-hour electricity power to lighten up the entire society can deter thieves and robbers and reduce the rate of night robbery operation. The installation of functional Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Cameras all over the place to record activities and movements will not only deter criminals, but will also help the speed of investigation in cases of crime occurrence. These are some of the opportunities for crime that can be curtailed.
Again, why has the rate of premeditated crimes like kidnapping, ritual killing, armed robbery and fraud increased recently? There is no justification for crime under any guise but the worsening economic situation of the country cannot be ignored in this matter.
Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige had predicted in May 2019 that Nigeria’s unemployment rate would reach 33.5 per cent by 2020. Things have since gone worse than that prediction.
Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 35 percent in 2021, according to a report by a credit rating agency, Agusto & Co. While the statistics office, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is yet to publish the official labour data for the period, the 35 percent by Agusto & Co shows the jobless rate in Nigeria was up 6.06 percentage points from the 33.3 percent reported in 2020, when the impact of COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to lay off staff.
Analysis of the latest NBS unemployment report shows that a third of the 69.7 million-strong labour force in Nigeria either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed in 2020. Another 15.9 million worked less than 40 hours a week, making them underemployed.
A high unemployment rate in a country like Nigeria means poor Nigerians will become poorer in real terms, and the middle class will get thinned out. Before COVID-19, about 80 million of Nigeria’s 200 million people were living on less than the equivalent of $1.90 a day. The pandemic and population growth could see that figure rise to almost 100 million by 2023, notes the World Bank. As at the third quarter of 2021, “the labour-intensive sectors that can help employ the country’s graduates have been underperforming,” according to BusinessDay findings.
“If you have an industrial or manufacturing revolution, it is going to be very critical in taking people off the jobless markets. Although the low-wage jobs might not make them the richest, everybody will have the money to take care of their basic needs of life,” Ayorinde Akinloye, an analyst at United Capital Plc said.
While the sectors of the Nigerian economy that require less labour have been growing at a pace faster than their peers, the labour-intensive sectors with the potential to reduce the country’s over a decade-high unemployment rate have either been in recession or growing at a sluggish rate.
“2021 was not a good year as we had expected. In fact, we went from frying pan to fire because as challenges intensified. We managed to produce but there was poor demand for goods,” said Okhai Ehimigbai, an export executive at Aarti Steel, a manufacturing company.
So, increasingly, too many Nigerian graduates are idle and jobless and those who are working are increasingly being thrown into the labour market. Amidst all these, government officials that constitute less than one percent of the entire population live in affluence, enjoying themselves with looted funds. The most recent joke was the proposal in the National Assembly for members of its leadership to start enjoying life pension. This too if it happens is another criminal activity.
Many young Nigerians are frustrated and youth suicide rate is on the increase. The situation is killing consciences and suppressing positive conduct and virtue that has been protected over the years. Abominable ritual killing by various categories of desperate people, including teenagers is becoming prevalent. The hatred of the poor for the rich has increased and one of the backlashes is kidnapping of the affluent and their relatives for ransom payment.
The danger of tomorrow is that today’s wounded set of followers, most of who have been rendered criminally minded, are the possible leaders of tomorrow.
In any case, there is hope for Nigeria because some countries went through worse conditions in the past but have overcome such challenges. What is the way forward?
The first step is for Nigeria’s political leaders to realize that their invested mindset of corrupt self enrichment with the common wealth, citizens’ divisive tendencies with the use of religion and tribalism as well as lack of passion for good governance, will all soon backfire. The imminent campaigns against 2023 elections are definitely going to take a different dimension. As we speak, no political party has a clue as to what slogan it should use for campaigns. Who cares about slogans anymore anyway? Slogans such as Anti-corruption, Change, Next Level and so on, have all turned out to be scams and the populace is not in a hurry to buy deceptive slogans anymore. I would have proposed Unity as a slogan considering the fact that divisiveness among the populace has been strengthened under the current administration. The challenge is that campaign slogans are no longer reliable. Nepotism has joined the fuellers of crime such as joblessness and hunger. All these should worry any reasonable Nigerian patriot.
There is an urgent need for concerted efforts on the part of both Nigeria’s political leadership and parents who represent leadership of the family institution, to seek to eliminate opportunities for crime execution. Genuine economic development should be given immediate attention by leaderships across board. There should be deliberate measures to fix the judiciary so that all law offenders in the country are seen to be punished irrespective of status. Until these measures are taken, the Nigeria of our dreams will remain a mirage.
BY ALBINUS CHIEDU, +234 8038117704. Email: [email protected]