Editorial

THE CRUSHING WEIGHT OF CRIME

The threat to our national and individual security from crime is underrated. In effect, the cumulative havoc they do by causing general fear, alarm, hurt and death is underrated as well. Under the weight of the havoc alone, the country is buckling and collapsing fast without our admitting it. Individuals are sick and dying of it. The way the country’s law enforcement is dealing with the issue is timid, visionless, un-educated, self-defeatist and even dishonest.
Can there be any hope from our approach that crime, being variously a product of want, disgruntlement, maladjustment and desperation among other things, will ever abate and that criminals will agree to a truce and sheathe their sword in Nigeria? Crime could well be evidence of social injustice in which the society is partly (if not completely) to blame. Why can’t we for once look at it from this angle? With the way it is being lousily handled, there is the fear that things are not to get any better. Rather they are getting worse by the day.
Crime in this country has continued to overwhelm and defy all the unprecedented emergency measures being marshaled against it. This is mostly because the plan and philosophy for dealing with it are not clear, are impracticable or non-existent.
Imagine if there was a registry of criminals, how many Nigerians would not be in the list. Therefore the current idea of wiping out crime and killing off all criminals to the last man must be discarded. It is a tall, unrealizable dream. The thing that will work is to aim at minimizing crime and reducing the number of criminals. The aim should not be to get rid of them altogether. It is not possible.
Society should have pity on criminals and treat them as sick people rather than enemies, exactly as religion treats sin and sinners. This approach is better. All the huge spending for the violent handling of crime and criminals could be utilized instead for their welfare, with a better result. After all, the duty of the state is to protect all citizens – good and bad. To aim, as we do today, at wiping out criminals, is clearly primitive and counter-productive. It produces more crime, more criminals and more violence. His banner over us is LOVE, and we are enjoined to love one another, the criminals among us inclusive.

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