The Notoriety of Community Detention Cage: Why IG Must Act Now

By Emeka Nwokocha


It is important to draw the attention of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, and the top brass of the Nigerian Police Force to the festering act of abominable crime, anti-social behaviour, and impunity sweeping through our communities like a wide fire.

Ibrahim Idris, Inspector General of Police (IGP)


It is alarming to note that in Delta State and other states across the country, the brazen act of lawlessness and violent activities often perpetrated by community youths is assuming a worrisome dimension. Regrettably, it has become an enduring and fashionable legacy for the youths to wield various shapes and sizes of fire arms and other dangerous weapons in full glare of the public and gruesomely attack and maim innocent and law abiding citizens for no justifiable reasons. This act of terror is further exacerbated by their vulgarity, notoriety and tendencies to flout the laws of the land with questionable impunity, while they are clothed in arrogant supremacy and posturing as a warlord.


One phase of the dangerous and recurring show of brigandage by these youths often play out in their mounting a barricade to prevent police officers in trail of a suspect from entering their communities. When the police operatives would resort to using force, these fearless youths would put up a stiff resistance in defiance of the law and usually go scot-free while the police operatives would retreat to their base after receiving a bout of humiliation.


It is pertinent to note that the consequences of paying lip service to hurting acts of unlawful activities in our communities over the years have been grave and most regrettably, manifested into worst cases of violation of human rights, and entrenchment of lawlessness in our society.


It is imperative to note that in this era of evolving civilization and promotion of rule of law as the cornerstone of human development, the heinous crimes being perpetuated by the youths in some of our communities are no doubt hurting the Nigerian polity. Reacting to this ugly development, Nigerians of good conscience have expressed concern over the dehumanizing manner innocent Nigerians are often times, hounded, tortured, bundled and manacled by errant community youths and cramped into cages where they are detained for frivolous and trumped up charges. Often times, quarrelling at homes would land a man in the detention cage, even simple offences such as flouting community laws or rules as the case may be, would incur the wrath of the youths. In furtherance of their nefarious and unlawful activities, the youths would compel the relations of the persons being held captive to part with a reasonable amount of money with apologetic mien to secure their release.  These youths operate a quasi-court system whereby the persons in detention are brought to the community town hall for a kangaroo trial. Seated at the town hall is a panel of community judges mostly defiant young men who preside over the cases in a strait jacket manner lacking decency, and modicum of civilization. Following which those found guilty of the charges preferred against them would be awarded punishment ranging from exorbitant fine to caning without right of appeal.


Victims of this inhuman practice include young men, women and the aged. Most worrisome is that this reign of terror in these communities takes place in the full glare of the society. Ironically, residents in these communities, who have suffered various degree of maltreatment in the hands of these vicious youths, tread with caution as the ugly incident is never reported to the law enforcement agencies. The reason is they are wary of the ruthlessness of the youths who could go extra mile to harming anybody that pulls a bold face and tries to question their temerity.


As the vicious activities of the youths stare us in the face, right thinking Nigerians would want to know why such act of flagrant flouting of constituted laws of the land has continued to firm up while the law enforcement agencies continuously look the other way.


There is no denying the fact that the impunity and tenacity with which the youths of these communities go about their nefarious activities suggest that they are operating a parallel government and daring the powers and legitimacy of the government of the day. Therefore, it behoves the law enforcement agencies to brave the challenge and ensure that anybody flouting the statutory laws of the land is made to face the wrath of the law. It must be drummed loud that when infraction of the laws of our dear country is continuously condoned by the agencies establishment to nip crime in the bud, then lawlessness will reign supreme in our society.


Therefore, to format our polity on the ideal democratic values, the government of the day and the law enforcement agencies must step-up their duties to ensuring all acts of lawlessness and violation of the fundamental rights of Nigerians do not become a cherished creed and norm in our communities.


In a nutshell, the rule of law must be jealously promoted and inviolable in our passionate quest for a progressive and unified nation where we shall rise as compatriots, call obey and serve our fathers’ land with love, strength and faith, so that the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain…, being the acceptable norm upon which our fledgling democracy was founded.


Emeka Nwokocha,

A journalist,

Wrote from Warri.

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