Revise Harsh Policies to reduce corruption and criminality: Criminologist tells FG

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By Oluwakemi Ishola 

A university don, Dr Oludayo Tade has advised federal government to revise her harsh policies to reduce its negative impacts on the livelihoods of Nigerians warning that consistent harsh policies may trigger increased corruption and crime.

The criminologist at the University of Ibadan noted that Nigeria has all the trappings of facing increasing crime and corruption as a result of the strains which many Nigerians are facing due to harsh policies of government and the backlashes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, any society experiencing poverty and unemployment, and stifling economic reality is likely to have citizens who are pushed to the fringe to innovate survivalist strategies which may be crime and corrupt behaviours.

Speaking against the backdrop of increase in fuel price and electricity tariffs, Dr Tade noted that statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics already showed that Nigerians are living in precarious conditions with lower standards of living.

According to Dr Tade the spiral effects of hike in electricity and fuel on the majority of Nigerians may force many to adopt alternative routes to actualise their unmet needs.

The criminologist advised government to revise its harsh policies which may be counterproductive may contribute to insecurity in the land.

He advised government to make Nigerians believe in the Nigerian project by making live worth living for people in Nigeria in other not to force many to resort to self help.

“Already, unemployment rate is about 27.1%. Millions of people lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and are yet to recover. Many of those just returning to work can barely survive as dependants have increased on their meagre earnings. Poverty is increasing in the land and policy is not mitigating this growing population of people who lack and have unmet needs.

Nigerians are subsidising electricity by paying for Meter, NEPA poles, cables and Transformer and will be corruptly charged before they are connected. Fuel hike will affect transportation, cost of food and cost of production. It will not only make life more difficult for the common man but will increase crime and criminality. Thirty thousand minimum wage is less than eighty dollars ($80) in a month in a country where local rice sells around N24,000 and imported sells around N26,000 naira. It is becoming difficult to live in Nigeria and the consequences of bad policies are reflecting in the growth of disenchanted populace. Basic necessities of life barely exist in Nigeria. The 2019/2020 Nigerian living Standards survey released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that 82.9million (40.1%) Nigerians are poor. Disaggregating this data further unveils how poverty has burrowed into the space where most Nigerians domicile — the rural area. A larger proportion of Nigerians live in rural area while slightly above 40% live in urban centres. While the national poverty headcount rate is 40.1%, the rural has 52.1% as against urban’s 18.04% headcount rate.

Furthermore, the survey shows that there is a significant geographical inequality in poverty spread. More people are poor in the Northern part of Nigeria compared to the southern part. Of these, the northeastern part of the country returned more poverty indices. Adamawa (75.4%), Yobe (72.3%), Sokoto (87.7%), Taraba (87.7%), Zamfara (72.3%), and Jigawa (87.2%) all have percentages of poor people far above national average. The southern part of the country mostly returned percentages of poor people below the national average while the southwest recorded the lowest number of poor people.Lagos, the commercial nerve center of the country returned 4.5%, Ogun (9.3%), Ondo (12.5%), and Oyo (9.83%) with Ekiti State (28.4%) returning the highest figure of the poverty endemic state in the region. The widening gap of poverty and inequality in Nigeria explains why it may be a tall dream for the populous Black Country to meet the Sustainable development goals of eradicating unemployment, extreme poverty and hunger.

The privileged class holding the levers of power do not see the danger of building an army of unemployed, distressed and disconnected populace who will fight back on the system which has failed to cater for it. To turn the tide, Nigeria needs close the gap of inequality and actively engage youths in productive economy. Aside the role of the national government, State governments must localise development policy which captures the unmet needs of the poor.”

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