Thursday, August 30, 2007


The security situation in Nigeria seems to worsen day by day. If I hang out on the balcony in the evening, it isn't long before I hear gun shots somewhere. Stories of "house visits" are all too common. My sister-in-law nearly died yesterday on the road to Lafia - the armed robbers had the full kit - bullet proof vests, AK47s etc. All but the people in the van closest to the robbers ran into the bush. The driver of the van was nearly beaten to death and of course, all the passengers lost their valuables. It took an hour for the police to arrive, by which time the robbers of course had melted away. Apparently, the IG has banned police road blocks, depriving the rank and file of their usual means to make some loose change. No wonder some are turning to the other side. Its going to be a long struggle to clean things up..


Anonymous,  7:57 pm  

In the early years of our marriage, we were robbed in lagos. Armed robbers in our bedroom at 5 am. We had gone to bed watching the master copy of our wedding video which had not yet been copied due to the incompetence of our video guy... we went to bed with our new born babe bw us on the bed imagining how she would feel when she would one day watch the tape...suddenly, around 5 am, 5 guys were silhouetted in the doorway, i woke my husband, and the worst 20 minutes of our lives then, began. it seemed like an eternity, and after when we had the guts to go downstairs, our new alsatian puppies, Daisy and Chaka were playing in the stuff the robbers had left behind. we actually watched the robbers melt into the early am street traffic of surulere. We made a report. Cops said that for a small fee, our stuff might, ahem, be recovered. i was adamantly opposed. We'd already been robbed once and we'd only lost material things. It could've been worse. Our friends came to commiserate. One of the best dinner parties i have ever given... i cooked a huuuge spaghetti dinner and served wine. EVERYONE had a robbery story.. "The first time we were robbed..." we all shared war stories. It couldve been worse. MAny had not survived to tell their tales. 15 years on, little has changed. currently obsessed with line from Amy Winehouse.."What kind of fuckery is this?"

Anonymous,  9:39 pm  

I do not know how you guys survive out there maan, this ish was bad in the Seventies, I can only imagine what it's like now.
Even during my last visit home, I couldn't sleep at all for 3 WHOLE weeks! I was absolutely terrified at every sound (and that was in a heavily guarded house with 6 alsations!!

uknaija 7:45 am  

Hmm, do you reckon these are growing pains then? No comfort to those who suffer as a result

In my head and around me 9:58 am  

Roadblocks have been banned? I didn't know. My greatest fear is all those guys that stand on the road in mufti and a vest that has POLICE written on it. Does one stop? Does one move on.

I applaud his decision, but I think that before Mr. IG declares those roadblocks illegal, he needs to probe and deal with the underlying issues that make them so important to the survival of the police force. He may save more lives that way. Not just ours, but also those of the police officers that are reduced to standing on the road because the force pays peanuts or does not pay the peanuts on time.

anonymaus,  3:06 am  

The crime situation in Nigeria is evidence of a deep malaise that is gripping society. The steps required to combat would have to go way beyond mere superficial steps taken so far, such as removing police road blocks and ordering armed motor vehicles to protect banks.

It would have to include:

- increased spending on the police force, re-motivating them to be professional, and equipping them to combat crime

- serious attention paid to education

- a committed policy to providing sustainable employment for the youth

- even to counselling parents on family planning and upbringing (as opposed to the care-free attitude of having children you can't care for and leaving them to fend for themselves - to form area boys in the south and Al-majiri in the north)

- a social safety net provisioned on a national level with no ethnic or religious bias

- an amnesty for those holding firearms illegally

- this should be set up independent of current government, because it would more than likely take more than 4 years to bare fruit, so you wouldn't want the next administration tampering with it to score political points.

- It would have to be rigorously audited to prevent the all too familiar problem of fraud from diminishing its affects.

President Luis Ignacia Lula Da Silva of Brazil declared a massive boost to combating violent crime in his country and this went beyond just boosting expenditure to the police. It is an all inclusive social programme.

Whether Nigeria's political class care enough to implement such a scheme remains to be seen. Judging by their behaviour of recruiting the unemployed for their own selfish ends, I wouldn't bet on it. With a rapidly expanding population and high unemployment - the situation may only get worse, before it shows any sign of getting better.

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