Now as much as the robbers of the 1990’s should get an award, those of the new millennium are nothing short of outstanding. They moved with the times…
In Nigeria, robbery is a constant (not just us though, all over the world), and many argue that did not become a major issue to deal with until after the Biafran Civil War. Then, the hustle became hard—man had to survive by every means. Stealing from your neighbour, your friend, the stranger you would never see again, to either use or resell has been the order of the day since then, and we have watched its evolution from petty larceny to grand theft (with) okada.
In the 1970’s it was easy stuff like picking people’s clothes on the line (university girls still find this fun to do apparently) and stealing harvest from an old man’s farm that was rampant. People actually left their property unattended to and slept with their doors unlocked. Obviously things have changed.
I try to imagine what it was like in the early 1980’s, seeing as I was born in its latter half. My dad told me that pickpockets and midnight thieves were the burglars du jour. They would come in the middle of the night and clear out your sofa, television and Hi-Fi stereo. Many a Nigerian woke up from a good night’s sleep to find their living room empty. In the later part of the 80’s though, the term armed robbery was inculcated into the Nigerian vocabulary. Thieves stepped up their game, sporting ridiculously menacing guns and usually wore masks. “Your money or your life!” was their terrifying line. No longer content to let you sleep in peace, they would wake you up and ask to be shown your hideaway. And when they finished dealing with you, they would ask you to go back to your room and pretend nothing happened.
The guys of the 1990’s are the “baddest”. They should get awards, really. They had the most liver. In as much as people had started to inscribe their names boldly on their property, it didn’t stop them from stealing. They appeared in the day time without masks and short guns in their pocket. You dare not talk back. They were brutal and gave the hottest slaps ever. They always, always had a car.
Now as much as the robbers of the 1990’s should get an award, the ones of the new millennium are nothing short of outstanding. They moved with the times, adjusting to the use of technology and increased security—in short, these guys regrouped and restrategized. They have made use of every single opportunity to leave their mark. From stealing inside traffic, to the infamous 419 swindling tactics and clearing your bank account that’s supposed to be secure, these guys have all the moves. They come up with different lottery ideas, and even come at you boldly and demand your phone and cash. They can unlock your car without your key. They are so sophisticated they won’t even collect your torchlight phone.
They work in a network, and they are completely proud of their act.
Robbery whether in the 70’s or 90’s is an offence. What is amazing though is the systematic way these people have constantly advanced in their strategy, and they seem far more forward looking than our security forces. I do not look forward to their progression in thievery but I wonder what the future has in store for us.
Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.