Monday, November 16, 2020

Benin Upper Sakpnba Crises: An Eye-Opener That The Nigerian Police Plays Great Roles In Curbing Crime


        Security is a major concern for any government whether military or civilian. The safety and general wellbeing of the citizens in a country is majorly the responsibility of the government in power and that is why we have the police and other armed forces as security personnel in Nigeria.

         What then happens when the military is absent from its constitutional duties of protecting the lives and properties of the citizens in the country? That is a question that most people would not love to answer nor experience such situation. The thought alone brings fear to the hearts of citizens that rely on the security personnel in the country to protect them.

     But, alas, we have a case like that in Benin City, the Heart Beat of the nation. The #EndSARS protest was a legal and constitutional act that was carried out by the youths in our country against police brutality and although it has since come and gone, the effects are seen everywhere across the country.

     The most painful and uncalled act perpetrated as a result of the protest was the burning down of Police stations at major parts of the state and because of this singular act the police withdrew their services from major parts of the state. It took the intervention of the State Governor, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki to bring the police back to their stations to resume work. The burning down of police stations was an act that was uncivilized, inhumane and uncalled for but without the services of the police in the state, it may soon turn into a ghost town.

     There have been reports that have shown that security personnel may not have resumed duty at some parts of the Benin City due to the burning down of their stations during the #EndSARS protest and Upper Sakponba area in Benin City is one of such places. The absence of the Police in that area has turned that place to an uncomfortable part of Benin City for anyone to stay in. The burning of the police stations is not a laudable act, but without the presence of Police men in that place, there have been ongoing abundant and heart breaking criminal activities, murder, and cult clashes in the area.

    The absence of security personnel in Upper Sakponba area has brought about some criminal activities that were not previously there. To begin with, the burning down of Police stations by the #EndSARS protesters was barbaric but the absence of the Police at Upper Sakponba area has brought about cases of incessant burglary in that part of the state. To buttress, shop owners have been crying out to the government to help them tackle the wave of criminal activities at Upper Sakponba area as it has escalated since the absence of police personnel in that area.

      Furthermore, there have been reported cases of shops being broken into by hoodlums and properties that were meant to be sold to make money were carted away leaving the owners in anguish.

      In addition, the absence of security personnel in that area due to the unjust behavior of #EndSARS protesters who burnt down Police stations at Upper Sakponba area, has brought about cases of cult clashes in that area where a lot of people including Police officers were injured or even killed.

      Rival cult groups in Upper Sakponba area seem to have seen a place to thrive with temerity since the police authorities withdrew their services in that area and these cult clashes have brought about killings and even injuries to a lot of citizens in that part of the state. One of such clashes occurred on Thursday, November 12th and it did not bring any iota of happiness to the citizens in that place, rather it brought sorrow and mostly fear.

     Likewise, the non-felt presence of the Police authorities at Upper Sakponba has left the citizens in disarray and having a sense of insecurity in their own motherland. Due to the recent criminal activities in that area, the residents have since been sleeping with one eye opened since there are cases of unrest in that part of the state. Cult clashes, breaking into shops by hoodlums, just to mention but a few cases have almost become a norm for residents of Upper Sakponba area and this is so unfortunate and calls for attention.

     While it is agreed that the burning down of Police stations by the then some inhumane #EndSARS protesters is unpatriotic and barbaric and may have been the primary cause of low level of security personnel at Upper Sakponba area, however, these past weeks have shown that a state cannot do without security and so Upper Sakponba Area residents need the police now more than ever before.

     The residents should also in the meantime not overlook the usefulness of vigilantes in tackling crime in the state. If there is an already existing vigilante group in that area they should be encouraged and equipped to carry out their job properly. Many people may see the use of vigilantes as adding salt on injury but like they say, "a bird in hand is worth more than ten in the bush".

      The government should come to the aid of the affected Police men in that area whose stations were burnt and fix their stations up or give them a temporary space for them to carry out their duties while their stations are being fixed. The police authorities should come back and consider the welfare of the citizens that they swore to protect as the citizens have since learnt their lesson despite the undermining of the role of the Police in the society. Lastly, everyone should desist from crime because anyone caught would face the wrought of the law.


Isaac Ologbosere, writes from Benin City, Edo State. 08128362829.

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