Plateau state is a very peculiar state amongst many in Nigeria, home to Jos one of the foremost industrial towns in the nation which has over a century enticed people from all over the world to share in its beauty and prosperity. Unfortunately its tale has not all been jolly, strange clouds have for some time now tried to diminish its light.
The sad demise of the tin mining industry and the absence of a deliberate policy measure to palliate the wipe-out of this huge industry hinged the ‘tin city’ on precarious heights. Some observers are confident that this vacuum contributed in the long run to unleashing one of the longest known violent clashes in Nigeria which resulted in rendering many people homeless with thousands of homes destroyed and countless deaths. The glories of the past gradually faded away as successive governments failed to rebuild from what was lost. It is now not a surprise that the state is in a huge financial mess.
Even though the decline of the plateau was sparked by a seemingly exogenous event, the collapse of tin mining, the latter was as a result of carelessness in addressing security threats. Thus it is has become very critical that in reversing our current economic woes, security needs to be front and centre with cautiously well thought through policies.
In Jos the state and economic capital, the rise of crimes especially robberies and other violent acts are gradually becoming common. Regrettably the police and other security agencies have allowed many agents within their ranks to be highhanded, partial and brutal in executing their duty in maintaining law and public order. This has brought wedge between them and the public who are key partners maintain security. Hence it is not surprising that in an age of great renaissance in information the police are failing to leverage on it in securing intelligence and adopting smart policing methods rather embarrassingly, draconian and somewhat illegal measures have become handy tools for them. Consequently the response to acts of crime is as terrible as the crime which inadvertently exponential increases crime and casts the already struggling economy into the abyss.
A classical example of this crooked security policy is the “Ban it” method. The ongoing ban on the movement of “Keke NAPEP” at certain hours is the most ludicrous and childish ban right there between the last administration’s ban on drinking alcohol and use of trousers/pants for women in government buildings. I find this ban very concerning is not just because the State Governor is a Lawyer and one time Law maker who should be well grounded in the implications of such a silly ban but its economic effect.
The excuse for this mischievous prohibition as they will like to let us know is because of the growing number of crime perpetuated involving a “Keke NAPEP”. Relying on the wisdom of my Elder Brother who aptly responded to it as “giving a dog a bad name”, I find this excuse nonsensical and lazy. If a count were to be made of crimes or simply high profile crimes that involved Cars, Will it be less than the figure for “Keke NAPEP”? And will Cars be banned too? I believe this is nothing more than an attack on the common woman and man. This is so because the “Keke NAPEP” services close to 80% of intercity public transport in Jos and over 50% of all forms of transport thus it is mostly used by the lower echelon of the society as it serves as basic transport. However it also plays a key role in supporting Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) by providing cheap mobility for goods, services and human resource.
For a city that wakes up late and sleeps quite early, the intention of administrators should be finding new ways to extend legitimate human and economic activity rather than instituting a 9 o’clock lights out. Aside from the already mentioned dreaded implications of this ban, it further exposes the city to more insecurity as now criminals can now use cars and easily evade justice because a large percentage of the populace cannot easily reach the Local police station to report crimes. The State’s plan of action to reinvigorate Tourism and Commerce can be a success, only if major strides in transportation and security are made. The “Keke NAPEP” can be integral in making it a reality.
This is an intervention