FEATURE: HUNGER NOT AN EXCUSE FOR CRIME DURING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

By: Chris Oti/ www.africanakua.com, Nigeria

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria and the consequent regulations by the Federal and State governments to lock down different parts of the country, many cried for palliatives for the citizenry and that severe hunger will be the result if measures are not taken adequately to cushion the effects of the lockdown. It was also argued that this will lead to criminality.

It appears that these “prophecies” have begun to manifest as there have been some armed robbery attacks, particularly in some parts of Lagos, Nigeria in the past week. Many see these occurrences as the results of hunger.

It is conceded that there are many impacts of the Covid-19 on the people as a result of the lockdown including hunger, but it is argued here that, that is not the true cause of armed robbery or stealing or other societal vices. The weak character of some persons should never be excused in any action they decide to take adversely on the people or even against themselves.

Man is a product of his thoughts. It is when one allows these thoughts to occupy and gain ascendancy over him that results in the terrible acts that he engages in. There is no action without the thought of it. A well thought-out plan to rob another of his goods should not be excused on hunger. No justification is good enough for putting the lives of others in danger.

There are some jobs that one can still find to do even at this time, especially on the internet. As a matter of fact, it is better one begs from friends and associates including neighbors than to engage in stealing.

However, government at diverse levels must also pay attention to the plights of the masses and provide them with some form of help, to ease the hunger that is prevalent at the moment in the nation. The employers of labour must take up a human face and not lay off their workers at this time. Well to do individuals should also give to the poor and less privilege in their various sphere of contact.

The government should therefore put up a strong security plan at such a time as many unscrupulous elements may want to capitalize on this lockdown to carry out their dangerous plans, thereby endangering the lives of the citizenry. Apart from providing the needed palliatives, it is hoped that the security condition of the nation be improved to meet with the security challenges.

The criminal justice system must not go to bed too as a result of the lockdown. Steps must be taken expeditiously to bring culprits or violators of the law to book. The use of mobile courts and the technology can facilitate a great deal the administration of justice at this time. This will serve to deter some other persons that may likely want to take advantage of the current situation of the nation to unleash havoc.

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