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Spate of Robberies Rock Southeast Nigeria

  • Gilbert da Costa

Spate of Robberies Rock Southeast Nigeria

Spate of Robberies Rock Southeast Nigeria

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Hundreds of extra policemen have been sent to southeastern Nigeria following growing insecurity driven by criminality and violence from the proliferation of armed groups.

Armed gangs have been on the rampage across southeastern Nigeria, near the troubled Niger Delta, killing several people and carrying out brazen raids on homes, currency exchanges and banks during the past few months.

Young men armed with grenade launchers, sophisticated rifles and machine guns have acted with impunity, encountering little resistance from the security forces. Public outrage has finally stirred the police into action with the deployment of more policemen to the region.

Anambra state, regarded as a major center of commerce in the country, has seen more robberies than any other state in the southeast. Emeka Chukwuemeka speaks for the police in Anambra state.

"The police high command has responded to the situation by deploying about 10 units of mobile policemen to Anambra state," said Emeka Chukwuemeka who speaks for the police in Anambra state. "There are more nipping points in place and vehicular and foot patrol systems have been employed more and we are doing whatever that is possible to contain them. And I can assure you that sooner than later, crime in Anambra will be a thing of the past."

Amid poverty and unemployment, robbery has become an option for an increasing number of youths in Nigeria. And the fear of crime is pervasive, more so in the southeast, at this time of year.

A victim, Isaih Egberike, tells VOA what his recent experience had been at the hands of a gang that raided his home.

"They said they were going to rape my wife, my daughter, and one of them now said he was going to kidnap my little three-year-old girl," said Egberike. "They had made away with 150, 000 (nigerian dollars) [$1,000], my wrist watch, but at the end I was able to recover the phone. He asked me to bring my brief case and I brought my brief case. In the process of looking through my brief case, I dived for the gun so that I overpowered him."

With the national economy still stumbling, and the police lacking resources to fight serious crime such as armed robberies, security analysts say the crime wave is expected to continue.

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