THE RESURGENCE OF VIOLENT CRIMES (Weekly Security Dashboard for the period March 13 - 18, 2022)
The diversionary swing from increased killings, to the resurgence of increased criminal activities, such as abductions and armed robbery, may not be unconnected with the worsening negative economic outlook or as acts of reprisals by criminal elements.
Recall that January and February had witnessed a spike in target killings (read here), predominantly in the South-Eastern region, with March, however, experiencing a tilt back to the North where several Security Operatives paid the supreme price of battle.
However, the narrative during the week in view took an abrupt turn from killings to increased kidnapping activities raising fears of its resurgence.
The attendant hardship brought upon Nigerians across the board by the hike in prices of petroleum products, poor electricity supply and high food inflation again came to the fore eliciting tears from both the rich and poor, who could not help but lament bitterly.
Prominent among the elites who could no longer restrain themselves include the Chairman of United Bank of Africa, UBA), Tony Elumelu, who on Thursday took to his Twitter handle to bemoan the worsening situation that was negatively impacting on both the citizens and businesses alike, with the latter either running at a loss or folding up.
Another elite personality, whose lamentation of poor power generation irked the citizens, is the owner of a power plant domiciled in Ughelli, Delta State. He was chastised as part of the country’s woes, with possible connivance with other GENCO owners to shut down Nigeria.
The biting pangs of the attendant pain are so severe that "even the dead bemoan the plight of the living", leaving President Muhammadu Buhari no further alternative than to apologize to Nigerians.
According to the World Poverty Clock, an online tool that monitors the progress against global poverty, Nigeria has upheld its pride first place since 2018 until its recent contest with India.
Therefore, it was not surprising when full-blown cases of diverse criminal cases, abductions, and other violent activities ostensibly for survival purposes flooded the media.
Amongst the prominent cases include notable Church General Overseers arrested for Wire fraud, money laundering and drug-related cases, and increased cases of abductions.
Some of them include Kelechi Vitalis Anozie, founder of Praying City Church in Owerri, a suspect on the watchlist of the US FBI for alleged conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering to the tune of $135,800 and $47,000 respectively.
Another Pastor who attempted a quick redesign of his destiny out of the World’s Poverty-Capital, but was apprehended is the General Overseer of Christ Living Hope Church, Rev. Ugochukwu Ekwem. He was arrested at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport while on his way to a three-week crusade in Nairobi, Kenya, with 54sticks of drugs wrapped around his body.
Worthy of mention is the arraignment of a banker in Onitsha by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for the N452million scam.
Trend shows that rising poverty and its attendant hardship contribute to the resurgence of criminal activities and violent attacks, with the spike in abduction cases being the focus of this week’s review.
Prevalent cases recorded during the week include the cumulative abduction of 63 persons in Kaduna, 8 in Kwara, and foiled abduction in FCT.
What is the possible underlying motive behind the heightened cases of the resurgence of abductions?
One salient point over and above the negative economic outlook is the sustained bombardments as witnessed in several clearance operations by Troops has undoubtedly inflicted a landmark hollow in the camp of the terrorists.
Notable among them is the wedding feast of Katsina’s top bandits’ witnessed by NAF Aircraft, wherein terrorists who trooped out in their numbers for attendance enjoyed the indelible showers of missile-gift that Troops showered on them, leading to the decimating of several bandits.
This landmark event took place on Monday at Unguwar Adam village in Dan Musa LGA of Katsina after careful aerial surveillance and Intelligence had among those neutralized, a top leader known as one Sule.
The above incidents suggest that abductions may resurface as the new norm either as reprisals or a negative economic outlook.
Furthermore, local conflict dynamics such as herders-farmer conflicts in central regions and separatists in Southern regions are also likely to aggravate kidnapping incidents during the year.
However, states most prone to kidnapping from studies include Kaduna, Katsina, Niger and FCT, though recently, Kebbi seems to be at the forefront of attacks.
In the face of these scenarios and the challenges of the resurgence of abductions and other violent crimes, there is an urgent need for the Federal and State Governments to checkmate possible breakdown of law and order or possible increase in these cases to avert a worsening security crisis.