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.
This article is part of my contribution to the May 2012 debate titled Insecurity in Nigeria by the Nigerians United Against Corruption (NUAC)
Governments start with policy making. Using biblical examples for instance, we have records of several regimes including that of Moses, of Joshua of Saul, of David, of Solomon, and the many rulers of Israel. Similarly, in Nigeria we can look at Buhari, IBB, Sani Abacha, and the various segments of OBJ and typify each regime with labels that will stick. Therefore, if a government were to seriously determine to correct the situation, it has to formulate a policy Idiagbon style maybe, or IBB sell out of Structural Adjustment style; but determinately directed at restoring our peace and security to pre-civil levels.
By the way, this will mean that all vigilantes become irrelevant. All those barriers by which people imprison themselves at night will go down. 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. The execution of the policy will then be monitored if formulated with measurable goals in mind. It sounds like a tall order but we have seen it done before. The neighboring Ghana where all middle class Nigerians have run is a close example of a working secure community that has transformed itself. We are the same West Africans.
The government can remove the psychology of money as the ultimate source of power in order to improve on general security. A determined campaign can change anything that people are committed to. I have lived in countries where the entry point salary of a policeman is just below that of university graduate entering the civil service. By the time that such a person spends a year or two in the service, there is no graduate that will have enough left to bribe him with an amount impressive enough for him to risk his job. It may sound extreme and laughable in our situation. However, until we have measurable yardsticks such as this as goals, we will continue to beat about the bush.
This suggestion has nothing to do with current wealth in the society; its funding may come from a redistribution of new revenues. Funds are then allocated to specific programs and agenda with targets and measures aimed monitoring the movement towards the target. If fraudulent are truly seized, they can be committed to job creating ventures like the establishment of a ethanol industry, or the take off of our green campaign similar to Petroleum Trust Fund ideals and similar projects before them.