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Nigerians lose N73.6bn to hoodlums

Posted by By MURPHY GANAGANA, Abuja on 2006/10/02 | Views: 308 |

Nigerians lose N73.6bn to hoodlums


Three years after her father disappeared from their Kano home in mysterious circumstances, 13-year-old Safayatu Musa, is still at a loss over his whereabouts, even as she hopes that one day, she would run into his warm embrace.

Three years after her father disappeared from their Kano home in mysterious circumstances, 13-year-old Safayatu Musa, is still at a loss over his whereabouts, even as she hopes that one day, she would run into his warm embrace.

Since February 2003 when her father, Musa Abdulrahman, embarked on a journey “to see a friend” at a neighbouring village, he is yet to return home, neither has his corpse been found by various search parties raised by his kinsmen.

With hopes of his being found alive dimming, Safayatu and siblings have resigned to fate, though bleeding heavily in their hearts.
Safayatu is just one out of 2, 396 families, whose beloved ones have been declared missing within Nigeria in the past two years. 525 out of the 1,080 person declared missing last year are females, even as police crime statistics indicate that 1,273 of the total number of missing persons between 2004 and 2005, are yet to be found.

In their luxurious and well-fortified homes in the highbrow districts of Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and other parts of the country, fear of armed robbers is the beginning of wisdom for the rich, powerful, and the mighty.
Police crime records for the past two years reveal a frightening increase in offences against property, such as armed robbery, theft/stealing and house breaking, as well as offences committed against persons, including murder, rape, kidnapping, grievous harm and wounding, with a total of 943, 720 and 1,079,037 entries made by the police in year 2004 and 2005 respectively.

Police crime statistics for year 2005 indicates that peace-loving and law-abiding Nigerians lost cash and property valued at N73, 660, 576, 208billion to hoodlums in just last year alone, while the police were able to recover property worth N1,251,505,195 billion.

Lagos State topped the list with property lost or stolen valued at N70, 884,933,000 billion, followed by Cross Rivers State where property worth N508,866,122 million were recorded stolen, while Bayelsa came third with 1,412 cases reported in 2005 and property valued at N332, 440,000 million lost.

The statistics further revealed that out of the total cash and property estimated at N70.8billion lost or stolen last year in Lagos state, the recoveries made amounted to only N547.8million, while the police in Cross River and Bayelsa recovered items valued at N75.8million and N35.7million respectively.

Car snatchers also maintained a steady tempo in their activities with the police recording 1,980 and 3,498 cases in 2004 and 2005 respectively, out of which 990 and 1,749 incidents were reported in the two years, while only 580 were recovered in 2004, and 760 in 2005.
A comprehensive situation report on crime and other issues in the 2005 annual report of the Nigeria police showed that crime increased drastically in the past few years with a record of 156,669 incidents in 2004 as against 180,295 cases in 2005.

In offences against property such as armed robbery, house-breaking and theft, the police recorded 95,736 cases in 2005 as against 79, 662 recorded the previous year, while it also incidented increased offences against persons such as murder, kidnapping, suicide, rape, and child stealing, which rose from 65, 537 cases in 2004 to 71, 796 in 2005.

Sadly, armed robbers are having a field day killing, maiming, and dispossessing the citizenry of their hard-earned cash and property.
Police crime records shows that a total of 5,846 cases of armed robbery were reported in the last two years, with 273 civilian victims killed, and 404 injured in 2005 alone.
Evidently, 2004 was a bad year for expatriates in Nigeria as 13 of them were either killed or injured by bandits. The police equally lost 111 and 129 of their officers to robbers in 2004 and 2005 while 170 were injured within the same period.

However, the police also killed 821 robbers in the past two years, and arrested 4,586 and 3, 816 in year 2004 and 2005 respectively.
Surprisingly, the Zone 9 Police Command comprising Abia, Anambra, Enugu and Imo states recorded the highest number of armed robbery cases in the country last year, with an increase to 1,206 incidents from 550 recorded in 2004.

Abia led the robbery chart nationwide with 906 cases recorded in 2005, followed by Lagos with 204. Delta state trailed with 177 cases, Edo –159, Nasarawa 141, Rivers 134, and Ogun 126.
Rising alongside armed robbery are cases of theft and stealing, burglary, house and store-breaking, kidnapping, child-stealing, rape, and other unnatural offences.

Sunday Sun checks revealed that while 37,289 and 4,714 cases of theft/stealing and house-breaking were recorded in 2004, the figure shot up to 46,111 and 6,371 respectively in 2005.
Reports of rape also rose from 1,626 in 2004 to 1,835 last year, just as child stealing with 80 cases against 45 in the previous year. Cases of kidnapping also increased from 349 to 798 within the same period.
At press time, it could not be ascertained if the several cases of high profile political assassinations prevalent in recent times are inclusive. Police statistics merely states that 5,624 murder cases and 598 reports of attempted murder were recorded in the last two years.

The Zone 5 Police Command which consists of Edo, Delta and Bayelsa States had the highest number of murder cases totaling 1,034 in 2005, and Delta state leading nationwide with 917 incidents, followed by Lagos which recorded 146, Imo 102, Borno 100, and Adamawa, 96.
259 persons committed suicide during the period under review, just as 39 made failed attempts to take their lives.

A breakdown of the 2005 crime data shows that out of the total number of 180,295 cases recorded by the police last year, investigation on 6,090 was closed undetected, while 38,466 incidents were still under probe. Out of the 215,882 suspects arrested for various offences, 156,059 were prosecuted, 45,638 convicted, and 102,064 awaiting trial
Security experts who spoke to Sunday Sun in Abuja, lamented the ineffectiveness of the nation’s criminal justice system, which they described as “corrupt and worsening an already bad crime situation”. Going by police records, cases under prosecution in 2005, but adjourned at the instance of the courts, defence counsels, and the police, were put at 59,046, 20,538, and 11,494 respectively.

With 7,469 serviceable vehicles, motorcycles, and personnel strength made up of 308,049 officers and men as at last year, respondents to Sunday Sun enquiries, scored the police low in its anti-crime efforts, moreso, with an increased budgetary allocation from N74.4billion in 2004, to N84.4billion in 2005.

However, while admitting an increase in crime over the years, the police authorities blamed the situation on the “dynamics of pluralistic nationalities and technological advancement” which “poses serious challenges to policing”. The police high command further contends that its spirited efforts at combating crime have not been yielding the desired results partly because of the educational level of most of its personnel which fall below average.

Speaking to Sunday Sun on the crime situation across the country, the Police Force Public Relations Officer, Haz Iwendi [DCP], said the police deserve commendation for achieving major successes in its operations, given the equipment, logistics, poor welfare, and other problems confronting the force.
His words: "Given the logistics and equipment available to the police, if you look at the casualty rate, we are doing well. For every one policeman killed, nine robbers also lose their lives. It means we are in a war situation with them. Last week alone, although we lost six of our men, four robbers were killed, 25 arrested, 33 stolen cars, 34 weapons and 233 ammunition were recovered by the police.

“So, you can see that we are doing well. And the reason is that we’ve had more vehicles, arms, equipment, and better welfare package in the past seven years of democratic governance. The present administration has done marvelously well for the police."

Iwendi identified the enactment of more laws, ostentatious display of affluence by the rich and unemployment, as some major factors responsible for the upsurge in crime.
However, while conceding that the police may not have been able to discharge its major statutory responsibility of protecting lives and property effectively due to logistic, equipment and other constraints, an Abuja-based publisher, security consultant and crime analyst, Mr. Paul Udenyi, blames government for the rising spate of insecurity across the country.

He says ineffective leadership at the federal, state and local government levels occupied by leaders with no clear vision and misplaced priorities, has plunged the nation into the sorry state it found itself in the past seven years of democratic rule, within which life has become valueless as both the mighty and poor are wasted at will by hired assassins, while the poor masses live in perpetual fear as armed bandits unleash terror and sorrow with impunity.

Also commenting on the prevailing state of insecurity, Major General Lawrence Onoja, former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] security committee under the leadership of Chief Solomom Lar and Barnabas Gemade, said the security of lives and properties of Nigerian was better off during the military regime:

"I think it was better off during the military era. And I am saying this because in the past seven years of democratic governance, we’ve had almost on daily basis, cases of armed robbery, political assassination, and the problems emanating from the flashpoints of the country, that is the Niger Delta, and religious problems in the north. With these incidences, one would conclude that the lives and properties of Nigerians are not secured, violence is on the increase, and I am being frank about it."

While commending President Olusegun Obasanjo for initiating the ongoing reforms especially in the banking sector, Onoja says some of the reforms lack human face. Said he: "The government, with its wonderful programme on reforms, I praise it, but the reforms must be human faced in the sense that as we are reforming, a lot of people seem to be loosing their jobs. And once you have people laid off work from various areas, then you now have cases of armed robbery and other crimes on the streets, because it breeds a situation whereby there is more poverty in the land, unimaginable than it used to be before, and the situation cannot continue like this".

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.