By Chris Onuoha
Professor Adeyinka Abideen Aderinto says Nigerians view the police with suspicions, a pariah of some sort while perceiving them to be unfriendly, brutal, trigger-happy extortionist and crime collaborators.
Aderinto, former Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), University of Ibadan (UI), criminologist and deviance studies expert spoke while delivering an inaugural lecture at UI entitled, ‘On the Fringe of Society.’
“The rising crime rate, especially, violent crimes involving kidnapping, armed robbery, ritual murders, political assassinations ethnic and religious violence and election violence, has dampened the hope of the public on the capacity of the police to ensure the safety of people’s lives and property”, he said.
The inaugural lecture was attended by the Vice Chancellor of UI, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships) and the Registrar among other members of the University community and the general public.
According to Aderinto, who is of the Faculty of the Social Science, department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, the general feelings among Nigerians is that the police can neither solve crimes through arrests and successful prosecutions, nor prevent or at least, reduce the incidence of crimes.
He stated that data gatherings from his research work from relatives of victims of kidnapping and other crimes point to a very negative perception about criminal justice.
“In fact, their views on criminal justice pointed to a broader confidence problem for the police whom many accuse of being corrupt; the court, whom many see as a place where justice is for sale, and the correctional centre, seen by many as a breeding ground and a centre of future criminals,” Aderinto said.
“Beside armed robbery and kidnapping, other social vices like the case of street children, the phenomenon of child domestic servitude including matured house help, human trafficking and domestic violence were some of the vices included in his research work that the society is struggling to contain.
“These members of the society are those affected by the structure of society and have fallen victims of its culture, traditions and state of normlessness and for whom nothing protective seems to be on the country’s national agenda. They are socially excluded from the scheme of things and it is these members that I refer to as being on the fringe of society.”
The university don said greed, inordinate ambition to amass wealth to crass materialism, loss of societal values, people being desperate to do anything to get rich and be celebrated in society are among the causes of kidnapping.
“Many Nigerians are not living well; they only take solace in the life hereafter. It is my position in this lecture that a lot of Nigerians are living on the fringe of the society and are subjected to the vicissitudes of life.
“Noticing that poverty is not the only factor fuelling the many social problems, government needs to be more sincere about the policies that aim to create job opportunities for the skilled and unskilled in the society, intensify awareness about the gross danger of human trafficking, the informal nanny system crudely referred to as housemaid recruitment should be regulated to prevent child and woman slavery among others.”