By Carl Umegboro
ROAD trips along the Kaduna-Abuja highway are becoming more than nightmares. Simply put, a no-go area. The increasing rate of armed banditry, kidnapping and sundry heinous crimes taking place in the environs demands a state of emergency by the governments. Figures of casualties are rapidly rising on a daily basis. From Abuja to Kaduna is approximately 188.7 kilometres, roughly three hours drive. By implication, Kaduna shares proximity with the seat of power and possibly harbours some oblique characters that find it difficult to operate within the Federal Capital Territory owing to heavy presences of all the security agencies with their headquarters.
Recently, the acting-Inspector General of Police, Mohammad Adamu, at a Northern Traditional Rulers Council meeting in Kaduna unequivocally attested that crime rate in the country has alarmingly recorded 1,071 persons killed, 685 abducted in the first quarter of 2019 with the Northern region leading with 71.62 per cent. From the report, North-West recorded 436; North-Central – 250, largely linked to armed-banditry, kidnapping and communal clashes; while South-South recorded 130 casualties. By these figures, indisputably, there is fire on the mountain. Thus, the nation’s space is under siege. A salient question to ask the political-class is: How come such criminalities are heatedly resurfacing after the general elections, ahead of inauguration of a new government.
Nonetheless, it is bizarre that amid security challenges and despite the fact all the security agencies: Police, Army, DSS, Navy, Air Force, Civil Defence have their headquarters in Abuja, security is lax there. For example, tinted-glass vehicles are now in vogue in Abuja and adjacent states and rarely searched as obtainable in other states. Even pedestrians with dangerous weapons are hardly ever subjected to stop-and-search or questioning by operatives.
There must be obvious justifications to authorise tinted glasses in cars except when status substantially and convincingly demands for it. Authorising cars with tinted-glasses in a society without a digitalised security system is a blunder. So far, most of the crimes are perpetrated with tinted-glasses cars, especially in Abuja where private motorists do commercial runs most times. Numerous commuters have been robbed or abducted with tinted glass vehicles on account they are usually wound-up without see-through from outside.
Even commercial motorcyclists popularly nicknamed Okada operate with no registration numbers in Abuja, hence no means of identification when necessary. Apart from the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, that mounts check-points, it is rare to find Police on the road operating proficiently as it ought to notwithstanding that the nation is not yet technologically advanced to rely on digital security system. Over time, these oversights lead to an upsurge in security challenges.
Presently, crimes detection in the country is mostly analogue which requires proactive, physical measures, particularly road-searches which is seldom done. Assuming the society is technologically advanced, then digital detection systems can check people’s baggage at strategic points as done in advanced countries. Security agencies should brainstorm to find a lasting solution to the problems. Period!
Imperatively, the quantum of idle or undeveloped land in the North, neither for agriculture nor business activities is frighteningly as it is indicative that many from the region may resort to crimes for means of survival except those that are employable through education or skilled in a field. For example, from Niger State to Kebbi State lies an expanse of idle land that can comfortably feed the nation and with enough for export if judiciously put into uses. Unfortunately, no activities are going on there – a desert.
Obviously, there’s need for an industrial revolution. Industrial ideas are critically germane at this juncture. The National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, may be reformed to make the one-year scheme accommodate industrially-oriented skills acquisition and economic empowerment. For instance, factories can be built in those deserts using corps members as workforces. If this is done, the oranges, carrots, peers, garden eggs, tomatoes, cucumber, etc., hawked by children can be industrially processed for improved valuable products like in other nations. With that, scores of youths will acquire diverse skills that will upgrade them, and put some in employers status. An economy with majority of able-bodied youths doing betting is on red line.
Or, is it possible that agriculture and related disciplines in our education curriculums are parables? Despite the number of universities of agriculture in the country, such neglects have existed for years. By means of irrigation, farming activities can thrive in those areas alongside processing factories which can ultimately provide jobs to able youths roaming the streets. This is one unique way a government can transform destinies of its people. To provide boreholes within the areas as well as farming machinery and incentives is certainly a realistic remedial mechanism against poverty.
By the Federal Government’s stringent fiscal policies which have blocked leakages in the system through the Treasury Single Accounts and others, it is obvious that people who hitherto, shortsightedly relied on free money or other sinister means may resort to crimes out of frustration as the system is tightened up for the common good.
Hence, governments are equally under obligations to come up with pragmatic job creation schemes towards carrying such population along with skills acquisition for their survival and essentially, for the general society’s interests.
The numbers of unemployable young persons roaming the streets are indexes there are time bombs waiting to explode as education that empowers people for innovations and self-reliance is poorly treasured. Thus, governments at all levels have critical works to do, particularly skill acquisition and economic empowerment programmes. Any grown-up without education, trade or skills for survival will inevitably survive at the detriment of the society either through banditry, kidnapping and other heinous means.
Laudably, UNICEF, pursuant to the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child, CRC, having been making significant impacts in Nigeria through its Educate-A-Child programmes, thus, justifying momentum, synergy and sustainability. Child education remains a sine qua non to a secured and thriving society. Most of societal vices are traceable to poor upbringing of children particularly negligence on education.