Before and after the independence in 1960 till date armed robbery attack in Nigeria has been challenge to our dear country and the big question is WHY?
Robbery is a crime of taking or attempting to take something of value by force, threat, or by instilling fear in the victim. It is used here exclusively for acts committed against individual persons for the forceful theft from commercial venues.
The armed robbery rate in Nigeria is alarming and the rate at which youths take to crime is a serious cause for concern. The rate at which robbery attacks in Nigeria is growing is quite amazing and keeps growing by the day despite efforts by the security forces to curb crime.
In a democratic system of government where lots of challenges have led to economic recession or a downturn, such a nation is bound to experience incessant armed robbery attacks. Robbery, in its simplest form, means the offense of attempting to take the property of another by threat or by force.
The impact of robbery varies from social, economic, or mobility impact. The crime rate in developing countries is becoming alarming and the rate at which the crimes keep increasing is a cause of thorough concern.
Robbery has a cogent social impact on victims. It can lead to psychological distress, including fear, anger and depression. A majority of victims found street robbery to be a very frightening experience, and as a result of the fear of this crime, many victims suffered serious psychological distress. Robbery can spur or ignite some positive social effects. It can lead to more social cohesion and awareness within a community ranging from community watch to social control over strangers and misfits.
Frequent robberies can have a negative impact on local businesses, social life, tourism and housing prices. Some robberies usually take place in public places. As for pick-pocketing, the risk is higher in crowded places such as bus-stop, train stations, market places and places of large religious gathering.
Robbery if not quickly arrested in our society can further increase the insecurity of lives and properties, loss of human resources or capital, level of under-development, unemployment, poverty, permanent disability on the victims and waste of state resources on providing security apparatuses.
The crime rate keeps increasing daily despite the efforts of law enforcement agencies to curb this menace of armed robbery. In Nigeria, different forms of crimes are committed on a daily basis ranging from armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, domestic violence, child abuse, murder, burglary, financial crimes, cybercrimes, fraud, terrorism etc.
The causes of armed robbery specifically are numerous and they include:
Poverty and Economic: This is the number one cause of armed robbery attacks in the country. In a country where economic deprivation persists often drive its citizens to take to crime to survive. People are often driven to great lengths of desperation by poverty and this is a major cause of crime. The fact that such frustration is created is in itself a very dangerous thing for society on the whole as global inflation has risen significantly over the last few years. In a society where the rich get richer and the poor keep battling with survival, crime is sure to persist.
Family Conditions: The family condition leads the youths to commit crimes. There are a lot of things that go on in families that often cause people to get into a life of crime and here again lies the factor of deprivation. People who are neglected by their families and do not get the love and attention that they desire also get into criminal activities.
Peer Pressure: This is another factor that should be look into closely, some youths take to crime because they see their mates going into it and they want to be accepted. Crimes like cultism and armed robbery are often traced to peer pressure. Youths who lack the strong will to resist what they see from their peers often try their hands in crime so as to measure up.
Drug Abuse: Drugs are a bane in our country because a person who is addicted to drugs and is unable to support his addiction more often than not, end up in a life of crime to fuel their habits.
Unfair Judicial System: Victims of unfair judicial systems often turn to crime as a last resort and a rebellion against the society. It often happens that a person is a victim of chance and happens to fall into crimes. Where one is falsely accused or convicted on trumped up charges, chances are that he would become more hardened and filled with anger, he will take up arms against the society. The prisons in Nigeria lacks the capability of reforming criminals and where such is lacking, the victim is thrown into the dungeon with hardened criminals and instead of reformation, he becomes a better criminal having learned from the masters.
Regionalism: People with the feeling of regionalist often go to great lengths to commit crimes against other communities. This fact is often ignored by people and the government as they too are caught up in classifications of people by region. It is often that a victim of such regionalism gets influenced and enters the world of crimes.
Unemployment: The rate of unemployment in our dear country is another reason the youths take to crime to support themselves. A situation where one goes through levels of education and end up jobless for many years is a clear invitation into a world of robbery attacks.
Political Irresponsibility: In Nigeria the Political system has been bastardized, and this is often a cause of crime. The quest for political power lead politicians into arming the youths with dangerous weapons to serve as thugs during electioneering campaigns but after they get into power, they forget the youths and they have to use the guns to fend for themselves.
Deprivation: This is another serious cause of crime in the country, especially where the youths see that they are being deprived of what should rightly belong to them. The unending crisis in the Niger Delta is as a result of deprivation where the youths of the region see that the oil gotten from their communities brings only hardship and sorrows to them and their people.
Other factors that can lead to the high rate of armed robbery attacks in our dear country include:
Parental neglect, covetousness, laziness and instability of government policies etc.
An idle hand, they say, is the devil’s workshop. Someone who has no job to survive or who has nothing to live on, but have very big dreams will want to make wealth by every means, irrespective of what the outcome may be.
Some robbery, such as purse snatching, theft at Automated Teller Machines, robbery of drunken bar patrons; robbery of students, robbery of passengers near public transportation terminals and robbery of migrant labourers may involve the use of weapons, intimidating or inflicting injuries on the victim.
Factors that contribute to robbery may include the attractiveness of a location; because there is a high possibility that robbery operations will succeed in places inhabited by influential people. Some locations are particularly suited for robbery owing to their relatively deserted nature. Examples of such location include parking garages or field, playground and areas near public parks and ATM. Robbers feel comfortable in areas that lack CCTV surveillance because it decreases the perceived risk of detection or being caught.
Also, untimely or inappropriate reactions to violence lead to a perception of little control which will increase the perceived risk for the perpetrators. A legitimate distraction enables the robbers to gain contact with their victim without causing an opportunity to raise an alarm. Street robbers could perceive people who are distracted as easier to approach and overpower.
Distracting circumstances such as road works, which require a detour in unfamiliar surroundings, special events or holidays, can also provide the distractions that aid robbers. Tourists are particularly vulnerable to these circumstances.
To curb or reduce the risk of robbery, traffic flow should be properly directed so as to ensure there is no vulnerable traffic point. Provision of safe alternative routes during construction or special festivals would help clear hidden or volatile spots; providing adequate lighting in high-risk areas can also reduce the chances of getting robbed in our society.