Monday, 07 May 2012 21:16

Insecurity in Nigeria - How did we get here?

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This is a part of my contribution to a Nigerians United Aganst Corruption debate for May 2012. The full discussion can be accessed at 

http://www.facebook.com/groups/nigeriansunitedac/doc/388422067863063/

Abstract

However, it is commonly accepted that one of the consequences of the Civil War was the emergence and institutionalization of armed robbery. There have been allegations of cabals with agenda behind the various types of crimes in our society. However, since the patterns and directions have not singularly focused, that thesis remains to be proved. The government can remove the psychology of money as the ultimate source of power in order to improve on general security. It also means that someone going from Lagos to Kano will not fear to start at 8pm in order to drive on free highways and be in Kano the following morning to transact whatever business he had on his mind. Therefore, it is not impossible for Nigeria to talk about zero tolerance to crime. 

Introduction

My contribution to this discussion was made easier by two of the posts that I ran into this Sunday Morning (06 May, 2012) that came from Ms. Lanre Ogundipe. It is great that we have journalists like that always ready to update us on recent developments. I refer to the posts relating to the Transparency International comment on Nigeria and the one about the Renewed Anticorruption Drive.

Essentially, if the Head of a statutory anti-corruption (ICPC) is that frustrated internally, and the international anti-corruption monitor (Transparency International) can be so undiplomatic in its assessment, there remains no need any more to search for adjectives qualify how terrible our situation is. Therefore, let me join issues with the topic of our reference for this discussion, using the suggested guideline.

How did we get here?

It will be unfair to suggest that a specific date can be placed on when corruption entered our country. The further down memory lane that we go, the more we will find isolated scandalous cases (such as the classical story of the former Western Region’s money sent with a minister overseas, only for the minister to come back to claim that the money drowned on the way. Yet, we know until today how his wealthy family continues to be), and practices common in the society that can generally be classified as corrupt (bribes for promotion and other special favors). In fact, most of these were either denied, deniable or difficult to prove. Further, they did not constitute that much of a drain on our economy as a society.

The era of early democratic politics up until the Civil War had introduced a certain amount of insecurity especially around election seasons. Kidnappings of children, looting of opponents properties, minor personal vendettas or wickedness. However, it is commonly accepted that one of the consequences of the Civil War was the emergence and institutionalization of armed robbery. Although, Babatunde Folorunso and Oyenusi were civilians (and I am not sure that they had any military background), they were prominent openly killed armed robbers. That menace has not left us.

It was as if the spate of unexplained murders and wastage of life was not enough, the murders of Dele Giwa, Ken Saro-Wiwa and Bola Ige makes government complicity in these atrocities an open sore. In other words, the society has now transformed into a free for all. There have been allegations of cabals with agenda behind the various types of crimes in our society. However, since the patterns and directions have not singularly focused in one area of criminology, that thesis remains to be proved. To reiterate, is there a struggle because of drugs kingship, or is it because of political emancipation like the Ogoni Movement, or is it religious like the Maitasine riots and more recently, the Boko Haram menace? Even then, one problem is clearly traced to the rise in insecurity and corruption in our society; money and its acquisition, either for the purposes of buying one’s daily bread (poverty), establishing power (politics and business) or greed (wealth beyond others).

A Christian seminar meeting recently even noted that Pentecostalism has failed us. The workshop heard and tended to agree that the rise of Pentecostalism in Nigeria coincides with the rise of terrible crimes in Nigeria; with the slope higher for Pentecostalism than the crime rate. We cannot deny the influence of money in the Pentecostal movement. While, it is not suggested that Pentecostalism and Crime were linked by a direct cause and effect relationship on a scientific basis, it is clear the Pentecostalism has failed to suppress this anti-social malaise as expected. In fact, the question is asked, ‘how did the missionaries and the earlier orthodox churches succeed in keeping the crime rate low in society?’ Further, could it be that Pentecostalism was inheriting the fruits of sophistication brought by missionary education that makes corruption and crime less scary than before? In any case, this is our current location.

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Pastor John

Director, APGO America
Pastor, Faith Revival Apostolic Church.
International  Coordinator, Apostle Paul Gospel Outreach (APGO) publishers of Christianity 101, Christian Sacraments, Islamic Jesus, Social Misconceptios & Baby Steps in Christ.
An international and widely-experienced dentist, an evangelical pastor, an MBA graduate in Marketing Management and Information Assurance, and owner of a advertising and marketing company based in Irving, Texas.
Currently involved in the marketing of Jesus Christ,  allergimed for allergies, and website maintenance.
www.thevangel.com  

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