Need to Check Shila Boys in Adamawa State, By Bilyaminu Gambo Kong-kol

Shila boys are youths of 15 to 25 years who engage in street larceny and have been terrorising the residents of Yola, the Adamawa state capital for years. The bad boys who specialized in snatching of items such as phones, computers, handbags, purses and money among others usually disguise as commercial tricycle operators within the city. The crime being committed by the Shila boys is not only limited to snatching of properties, but sometimes, they cause injuries or kill their victims with the use of cutlasses, machetes, and knives. This has posed a great threat to the freedom of movement of citizens making it difficult for them to go about their normal businesses without the fear of being attacked by the bad boys.

Shila group activities rose to its peak towards the 2019 general elections. Reports showed that phones and other valuable items of politicians and party loyalists were snatched during campaigns. The immoral act of the criminals continued even after the inauguration of Governor Ahmadu Fintiri in May, last year. It could be remembered that the governor while speaking shortly after being sworn in, promised that under his watch, security of lives and property of the citizens will top the priority of his administration. He also gave the Shila boys two weeks to repent from the act or government will take proactive measures against them. Thus, a couple of months after, the Shila boys suspended their vicious operations and embraced peace. After enjoying peace in the state capital for almost a year, the Shila boys have resurged with a full power of operating in broad day which was rarely experienced in previous times. Reports indicated that the gangsters have recently launched attacks at places like Bauchi Street, Nassarawo near Specialist Hospital, Jimeta Modern Market axis and Bank Road all in Yola North, and Wuro Chekke, Sabon Pegi as well as GRA in Yola South among other places. Police reports indicated that the attack that happened at Nassarawo community on Saturday May 9, around 9pm where the boys snatched phones and other valuables from an innocent citizen was said to be the most disastrous. According to Police Public Relations Officer Suleiman Nguroje “the Shila boys who used to go out in a group of three or four to attack citizens were not so lucky on Saturday night. They took advantage of somebody whom they followed, injured and took away his handset. Eventually, eyewitnesses and people within the environ who saw what happened ran after the Shila boys and lynched them.” In my opinion,  the increasing number of crimes in Adamawa State such as the Shila boys gang, theft, kidnapping, robbery and drug abuse is in one way or the other related to the high rate of unemployment. The insecurity Adamawa State has been directly connected to the increasing number of redundant youths. As the population of the state continues to grow, job opportunities become scarce and even among those who secured the job, many have lost their jobs in both government and private institutions. As these continued to threaten the future of youths and the peace of the state in general, secondary schools, polytechnics, colleges, and universities across the country continue to graduate tens of thousands of youths every year. This means the graduates automatically join the unemployed group hence their future remains blank, dark, and uncertain. Another factor that might be responsible for insecurity in the state is drug abuse. Despite the relentless effort by the state government and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency to curb the menace, the number of drug abusers is on the increase in our dear state, Adamawa. The authorities instead of fighting drug abuse from its root cause focus more on arresting drug abusers than drug dealers and sellers. The most disturbing part of it, hard drugs are being sold at the entrances of main markets especially in Yola, Jimeta, and other towns of the state. Some drug stores continue to sell hard drugs too. It is unfortunate that youths can easily and freely access hard drugs of their choice. It is pertinent that government, traditional rulers and elites should note that fight against insecurity in society goes beyond engaging security personnel to deal with the wrongdoers. Though security can succeed in calming and halting the dastardly acts for a certain period of time, the criminals as we see in the case of Shila boys may resurge with full force and go on with their unholy patrols. This is because we merely kill a snake without cutting its head. It is obvious that government cannot employ everyone but then there is a need for getting a certain number of youths employed at least yearly so that the unemployment rate can be reduced. To improve job security, governors must learn to bury their differences, set aside party distinctions and continue with their predecessors’ projects especially if the programmes have to do with youth empowerment. In Adamawa, the shutdown of numerous skill acquisition centres established is worst mistake by Adamawa State Government. The centres were training ground for thousands of youths across the state. With their closure youths restiveness has increased and many rendered vulnerable. Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi once said “We need to give importance to skill development because this way we can end unemployment.” According to Austrian-British economist, F.A. Hayek “Unemployment or the loss of income which will always affect some in any society is certainly less degrading if it is the result of misfortune and not deliberately imposed by authority.” To American activist Jane Addams, “Of all the aspects of social misery nothing is so heartbreaking as unemployment.”

About the Author: Bilyaminu Gambo Kong-kol writes from Bayero University, Kano. he can be reached at bilyaminugambokonkol20@gmail.com

Source: Daily Trust

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