In the City of Onitsha: Street Credibility or Street Criminality?
To imagine that one takes pride in theft remains a big dilemma for me. For long I have heard about Onitsha, Warri, and others but I have not had first hand ‘tast’ of the ‘street credibility’ I heard about till I had to go on a journey by road.
Getting to Onitsha was filled with eagerness as I must confess I heard a lot about the city. Especially, the trade strength and hustling spirit but I did not hear much about the extended form of hustling.
Getting to Onitsha where I learnt called underbridge garage. I witnessed in broad daylight as two young men took off a bag from a passerby and no one moved an inch to help the person being robbed. I saw another like the Hollywood style with the man was robbed off his money and no one stopped these rampaging guys.
Upon getting to the park, I met the fair share of the issues. Young guys armed approaching passengers and demanding on compulsion tips else they would be harmed. Some parted with a thousand naira, others five hundred naira and others more.
At that point everyone seemed to be as gentle as a dove, respecting orders like it is a military tenure. Obviously, where lawlessness exists such, is bound to happen. Not to talk of passengers forced to pay double what they should pay after the rob-off.
I was actually told stories that Warri is worse. I was told Warri is where they would get your properties and won’t mind stabbing you in broad daylight to get your properties, in fact, the person who narrated to me was glad to tell me, it is pride over there.
It reminded me of the old Oshodi in Lagos, maybe state governments should start working towards making youths are reasons to understand that street criminality is way different from street credibility.
Promoting sensitization programs, Youth empowerment programs, jobs and deploying security personnel to zones that may turn out to becoming a ‘thieving nerve’. The state governments too wouldn’t definitely say they don’t have a knowledge of such places. Part of the places that consume over 15bn$ in the worth of “Igbo”.
Maybe security agencies should visit Onitsha with the aim of understudy criminals. So as to know how to ‘catch’ criminals since no one will save passers the plight of lack of security.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Olanrewaju Oyedeji is the Creative Director
Nigerian Technology Market
He can be reached via [email protected]