The spate of bombings and other crimes in Nigeria is really alarming. Apart from Boko Haram insurgency and the endless efforts by the government to put a permanent end to it, other crimes like kidnappings, armed robbery and those related to them have gone unabated. The recent kidnap of an elder’s statesman Olu Falae speaks volume of how no Nigerian is immune to these ceaseless crimes. In the ratings of the most dangerous countries to live in the World today, according to a 2014 Global Peace Index ratings, Nigeria was placed at number twelve on the list. Similar ratings done in 2015 on top 10 most dangerous countries in the world published on AbcnewsPoint.com placed Nigeria at number three on the list. The criterions used were sexual violence, high levels of trafficking and domestic servitude, homicide, terrorist activity, heavy weapon and nuclear capability among others.
Insecurity in Nigeria is so alarming. Practically, no one can predict what would happen anywhere in the country at any point in time. Crimes in Nigeria are simply thriving because our intelligence gathering is very poor. The security agencies have on several occasions been outsmarted by these criminals. 16 out of 20 recent kidnappings in the country in the last one year have been executed successfully by the kidnappers. The victims in these kidnappings secured their freedom after heavy amount of money were collected by their abductors. Both the high and low in our porous society had been victim of this at one point or the other. Bombs go off every now and then in crowded neighbourhoods. The recent bombings in Kuje and Nyanya in Abuja are the recent in this category. While it is possible to blame BokoHaram for every bombs that goes off, it is also possible for any disgruntle Nigeria to detonate bombs wherever he or she pleases at any time ‘t in this nation. ‘T’ in this contest is actually unknown.
It is no doubt that security agencies in Nigeria are doing their best to put an end to this criminality at all cost, but it appears however that their efforts are not being complemented with results. While the Nigerian Army have made tremendous progress in the North-East where BokoHaram has its headquarters, it appears little is being done to tackle insecurities at the community levels where people live. The spate of bombings in motor parks, the market place and some other focal points within the community have gone unchecked. The Federal police that are saddled with the responsibilities of protecting lives and properties have failed woefully in this regard. The Nigerian police system is the type that is structured to protect only the politicians and the few rich individuals who could pay for them, and allow the poor masses to suffer in the hands of criminals. This current Nigerian policing system is bedeviled with funding and manpower; lacks intelligence gathering, are ill-equipped and trained amongst other things. All these problems have hampered the effective combating of crimes and criminal activities at all levels.
Making a case for Community Policing
While community policing may not end all the challenges being faced today security wise, it would however reduce it to the barest minimum. Strong nations in the world today with the best of security outfit including an effective policing system are still not free from domestic crimes. However, it has been proved that there is a positive correlation between community policing and crimes reduction in developed nations of the world. Community policing involves community cooperation in creating a safe and secured environment for the community. It gives the people power to effectively run their own affairs and defend their domain. If a typical community in Nigeria can govern themselves, then they should also be able to effectively police themselves appropriately. The main focus in community policing is the community involvement in combating crime and disorder. This will even become more effective in a setting like Nigeria where communal relationships is deeply entrenched in our cultural fabric.
It will be easier and effective for crimes to be trapped locally, rather than bring on board a Federal police operative that is completely alien to the community in question. Peak and Glensor regarded community policing as an excellent opportunity for the government and the police to attend to the needs of their people in society. The fact that citizenry satisfaction has become such an important part of any government of the day may be partly the reason for this movement in government and police services. In developed countries, they have what is known as district police like Sheriffs and those other agencies related to it, so creating a community police that would defend the local people where these crimes takes place should not be a problem for Nigeria.
As robust as the idea of a community police may appear, it is just a means to an end, and not the end itself. There are a lot of factors that gave rise to crime rates in Nigeria in particular. This is a beautiful country that is blessed with so many natural resources and yet, in the midst of plenty; her people suffer. A larger percentage of Nigerian youths are unemployed and this alone can give rise to all manners of crimes. There is a saying that an idle mind is the devil’s workstation. When the youths that make up over fifty percent of the population are not positively engaged, or have a wherewithal to establish themselves in various businesses and entrepreneurship, what you would see in such countries is high increase in crimes. Research has actually proven that there is a correlation between high unemployment, low wage rate and crime rates in most countries, especially amongst uneducated young folks. So, while the idea of community policing sounds robust to the hearing, it is only a means to an end, and not the end in itself. All these other societal problems confronting a typical Nigerian youth highlighted above should also be addressed. Youth unemployment should be given utmost priority and not undermined.
Thank you for reading.