METHODOLOGY/ACHIEVEMENTS


State capitals are more prone to crime and the police have often been unable to meet the safety and security needs of local communities and are often overpowered by well-armed and often violent criminals. According to Nigerian police reform experts, the police force has insufficient well-trained manpower to adequately address policing needs. The loss of public confidence in the effectiveness of the police has resulted in the emergency of private security outfits and local vigilante groups, and the presence of OPC in crime prevention in these State capitals, where the study was carried out they are Ado-Ekiti, Akure, Oshogbo, Ibadan, Abeokuta and Lagos.

The survey targeted adults who are 18 years and above as a means of generation data from male and female respondents who are deemed matured enough to be well aware of the security processes in their neighborhood. Sequel to the mix of the study population, a variety of sampling methods was utilized. A multi-stage sampling method was used to select members of the public. Human Rights interview, Lagos, September 1, 2002                                                                                                                       

The members of the public have more confidence in the OPC because they believe they have magical powers and charms to overpower criminals and protect members against conventional weapons; OPC established its reputation a fearless and bold force, more daring and, in one eyes of some, more effective than the police.

The OPC has provided security arrangement at local and official gatherings high profile events. It has been hired by people for different functions, called in to settle scores between private individuals and has intervened in disputes between landlord and tenants. The threat “I will call OPC to deal with you” has been yielding responsible results.

OPC IN SELF-HELP SECURITY AND CRIME PREVENTION

Crime and criminality have been a critical and major discourse in Nigeria socio-political and economy life since independence and particularly after the civil war. It seems none of the successive governments has been able to checkmate the menace to an appreciable degree [Third United Nations Crime Survey, 1993]. The failure of the state and state actors in crime control has led groups and individuals to take laws into their own hands; this assertion is corroborated by Roberts and Oladeji [2001], who observed that the perceived failure of the State in the area of public security as reflected in non-performance of the police led to the participation of the community in security management in Lagos and other parts of the south west. The most viable manifestation of this response in south west according to them is that of the Oodua people’s Congress [OPC].

In mushin for examples The level of crime was very high before OPC involvement in crime prevention in this community. Armed robbers were too many. Even there was a time that when these armed robbers came around and their victim does not have a colour television they can steal, they subject the person to vicious beating until one becomes breathless. I want to say the level of crime was high, the armed robbers often come in group of ten or twenty to attack their victims, life was not safe until the emergence of OPC.

Thus, from the data generated, crime level was high before OPC emergence in crime control. This upward trend in crime was attested by Alemike and Chukwuma [2005] observation, that Nigeria has witnessed an upsurge in crime during the past two decades most especially Lagos the major hob of the nation’s economic and commercial activities even the most densely populated city. The increased level of crime might also be as a result of the pervasive and persistent increase level of deterioration in socio-economic conditions of the citizens, this condition gives room to poverty, inequity, disenchantment, frustration and hopelessness that on the long run find expression in criminality.

Having known the position of crime in The South West before OPC intervention, it is pertinent to look at the position after the intervention of OPC and its crime prevention related activities. This in other words, will give a clearer view of the impact of OPC in crime prevention. Respondents were asked to state in clear terms whether crime has reduced or it has been on the increase with OPC presence. In response to this, 99.0% affirmed that crime has drastically reduced, while 1.0% was negative. Majority distinctly supported the view that OPC has helped immensely to put crime in check.

An Opinion leader provided insight into OPC impact on crime rate in Ado-Ekiti thus:

The level of crime since OPC impact on crime prevention reduced. Actually we faced some problem with the government and the people when we employed the service of OPC men but we thank God that the people later embrace OPC, because the police were unable to help the people. Male IDI/Adi-Ekiti/ Opinion Leader [May 3, 2008]

EFFECTIVENESS OF O.P.C IN THE SOUTH WEST

The respondents and general public affirmed that OPC was very prompt /prompt and responsive to distress calls. It could therefore be inferred from the data that OPC being part of the community, know and appreciate the need of the people for security and are ready to gain some level of acceptance as against the police they need to satisfy some of the demands of the people which were left unattended to by the police.

To further buttress the effect of OPC in crime control, respondents were asked if they were victims of crime since the intervention of OPC, 4.3% of the respondents were in the affirmative while 95.7% said they did not fall victim. In other words, security to lives and property were more guaranteed with the coming in of OPC than the pre-emergence of OPC in those communities. In essence, the OPC became the major agency for physical security in Lagos in the context of individual and group insecurity, as they organized neighborhood watch and vigilante groups resisting vehemently the incursion of hoodlums [Adejumobi, 2003]. The majority of the interviewees and discussants agree that the rate of crime was high before OPC came into help, but since the involvement of OPC crime rate reduced. An interviewee says:

’The level of crime in Oshogbo reduced drastically, because the OPC knew those that commit crime in the community so they go for them, they deal ruthlessly with the criminal, most of them ran away to other areas to hide. The contribution and effort of the OPC helped a great deal to minimize crime in this community. Tell me who would not be afraid of OPC treatment.’’

‘’The level of crime in Abeokuta Township was very high before OPC came in, high to the extent that lives and properties were very unsafe. Crime reduced after OPC involvement in crime prevention. This is because OPC punished the thieves and handed them over to the police , while the rest left the community.’'

From the above, it could be deduced that the insecurity to lives and property in the south west studied was pervasive and call for immediate action which the police had no capability to handle, this apparent failure of the state security apparatus led to various strategies for self help, the manifestation of this is exemplified in the activities of the OPC in fighting crime generally in south west. Response from the public affirmed that crime rate started decreasing following the intervention of OPC in crime prevention in the southwest.

 

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For general information about the OPC, including registration, please contact us at:
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