(In light of the recent bandit attack on the Nigerian Defence Academy resulting in the killing of two of its officers and abduction of one; the events in Afghanistan; and the no-let assault on Nigeria and Nigerians by terror forces, we repeat the article below, perhaps the government will eventually listen and learn that ‘a stitch in time saves nine’)
HE list of things not going well for Nigeria as well as recommendations for putting them right are innumerable; right from child upbringing issues in the family, party politics, the very structure of Nigeria up to the running of the presidency. The thousand miles journey to redemption though, like every other journey, can only begin with a single step and then gain pace.
The front burner issue of existential dimension today is the very survival of Nigeria. Nevertheless, as a lesson for today and tomorrow, we need to comprehend and factor in the bandwagon frame of mind of the majority of Nigerians. In Nigeria, once anything comes into fashion, the cascade begins! Let us take just 3 examples: advance fee fraud/internet scam, ritual moneys and banditry.
Every deadly menace starts small, and then festers when unchecked. The base of crime and punishment is the rule of law: instituting clear deterrence and enforcing them without fear or favour. The problem in Nigeria is that fears and favours have become weaponised elite strategies that pervert the administration of justice and weaken the policing and judicial systems- two great institutions responsible for ensuring law and order.
Although when Olu Maintain sang “Yahooze” produced by Puffy Tee and officially released on October 27, 2007, the Section 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code on Advanced Fee Fraud has been in place for years, it highlighted the arrival of a new generation of infamous scammers birthed by the internet age. Despite existing laws and clearly stipulated punishments, fear and favours and the weakness of the penal system allow it to grow in leaps and bounds until nowadays desperado, decadent parents even procure laptops for and enrol their kids as “yahoo yahoo” apprentices in a bid not to be left out of scam money. Basic school kids will answer “yahoo boy” when asked what they expect to grow up and be! That is the bandwagon effect. It was eventually to infest and derange the SARS Structure and instigate the caustic #EndSARS phenomena.
The onslaught against internet fraud in an age of youngsters imbued with quick, free-money mentality led to the so-called “yahoo-plus” rendezvous: seeking to supplement online scam with violent crime and ritual money engagements. Laws abound to deal with them all. However, till date, not only did it not abate but wax stronger, and only recently, the craze search for female underwear spread like wildfire – the bandwagon effect! People arrested in possession of fresh human body parts still make news daily, as our compromised policing and justice system remain crippled by fear and favours.
As par violent crimes, we mainly worried about Boko Haram throughout the Jonathan administration but in its womb were already developing other nefarious “businesses,” which have little to do with extremist ideology: cattle rustling, kidnapping and banditry. All born of terror and insecurity, they are nevertheless distinct acts of criminality; this time mainly for the money-making – for whatever purpose. A little way back, the arrest of alleged Kidnap Kingpin, Evans (Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike), made the headlines and jolted the national consciousness to the new-fangled crime, the policing and judicial system, corrupt and prostrate through fears and favours, could not then make a scapegoat of him and a patent statement thereby that kidnapping and consequent acts of banditry will not be allowed in this nation! The opportunity was thrown away and till date, the case remains a mess-in-progress, unresolved, and kidnapping and banditry, on the bandwagon, have become a daily nightmarish occurrence.
When crimes committed are not swiftly and spectacularly dealt with, with the full wrath of the law, the consequences are dare indeed – it results into the escalation of such crimes, no thanks to the bandwagon mentality on whatever ill comes into fashion. The harvest is self help by opportunists and victims alike and that is why we are where we are today.