With Joke Adeniyi-Jackson
Sometime in August this year, a routine visit for a car wash to one of the service providing outlets within Ilorin metropolis of Kwara State, became a nightmare, for a male colleague.
He was thrown off balance when out of the blues three ladies appeared and accused him of being member of a phone robbery syndicate.
The ladies who claimed to be university undergraduates alleged that the reporter conspired with a motorcyclist who robbed one of them of her iPhone, sometime ago. But for providence, the journalist would have been lynched by angry mob as the ladies created scene that attracted passers-by and people within the vicinity. The situation was saved by a police patrol team that arrived at nick of time. The ‘accused’ and the ‘accusers’ were whisked to the anti-kidnapping unit of the state police headquarters, where they were interrogated. The matter was investigated, search conducted on the journalist’s residence and eventually he was absolved of the crime and left off the hook. Though the police dismissed the case as mistaken identity, the humiliating experience has continued to linger in the memory of my colleague.
Fast forward to a fortnight ago, a similar scenerio played out at Offa road, Ilorin, when two ladies in their early 20s who boarded a commercial motorcycle upon alighting, accused the motorcyclist of being a robber, who robbed one of them of her mobile handset. The girls had storyline punctured with loose ends, same as that of the ladies who accused my colleague of similar crime. Their story didn’t add up and did not hold waters.
The commercial motorcyclist who was dumbfounded by the allegation tried to plead his innocence but the ladies were hellbent on creating a scene. The ladies who spew fire and brimstone, vowed to get him locked up in police cell. They eventually left the scene with the moyorcyclist in tow. What became fate of the motorcyclist remains unknown; he may not be fortunate like my colleague whose social status proved a saving grace of sort. While discussing the development with some people later that day, I was made to understand that some criminally-minded girls use the antics to exploit innocent men. Their mode of operation it was learnt is to accuse their victims of stealing from them, harass and make them part with money as supposed ‘restitution’. To avoid embarrassment, some men who fell prey of the ‘fraudsters’, were said to have danced to their tune.
Nevertheless, if truly there is a syndicate perpetrating this ignominious act, it behooves the police to carry out intelligence gathering with aim of bursting such crime so that more people won’t fall victim. It is disheartening that female folk believed to be naturally wired to be empathic could be involved in such cold-blooded act that leave victims traumatised. The state Commissioner of Police, Fafowora Bolaji should as matter of urgency commission security operatives to investigate and fashion out response mechanism to address this ugly development. Kwarans should not be caught in the web of the supposed new crime trend. Though a low level crime, it should however not be undermined, as there is the cost to victims who are highly traumatised by the unsavoury experience. Such cases should not be taken lightly by security agents in the state to strengthen the faith the people have in the police and other related agencies over their safety. Perpetrators of such crimes if caught should be brought to book to serve as deterrent to others.
It is common knowledge that no society is immuned from social problems such as crime but the frequency and magnitude varies from one place to the other. Kwara is a relatively peaceful state, as such the police and other relevant agencies must stand up against any social vice/crime that may want to rob the citizens of their peace and undermine their security. This is the time for Kwara police to show it has zero tolerance to crime. More so now that the Yelutide is around the corner, the police must live up to its responsibility by insulating the state from any form of criminal activity before, during and after the festive period. There should be robust security strategies to curb crime and criminality in the state.