NGO identifies theft of cell phones as number one crime

The CLEEN Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), says the theft of mobile phones was the number one crime committed in the past two years in Nigeria.

Innocent Chukwuma, the foundation’s Executive Director, gave the statistics on Tuesday in Abuja while presenting the summary of the “2012 National Crime and Safety Survey” conducted by the foundation.

He said the theft was more prominent in Edo, Plateau, Kebbi, Delta, Kwara, Niger and Kaduna states.

The CLEEN Executive Director however said mobile phone theft declined on the average from 50 per cent in 2010 to 47 per cent in 2012.

“In spite of such observation, theft of mobile phones has remained the number one crime committed in Nigeria in the past two years,’’ he said.

Mr. Chukwuma said the survey indicated that, generally, three out of every four Nigerians, representing 75 per cent, were fearful of becoming victims of crime in 2012.

“The percentage of people who are fearful of becoming victims of crime has increased from 72 per cent in 2011 to 75 per cent in 2012, though it is lower than that of 2010 when the figure was 86 per cent.

“This, therefore, means that people are more fearful of becoming victims of crime now than they were one year ago.

“When analysed across the states, Taraba recorded the highest with 99 per cent, while Osun recorded the lowest with 40 per cent,’’ he said.

On the actual experience, Mr. Chukwuma said one in every three respondents, representing 31 per cent, admitted experiencing criminal victimisation over the past one year.

He said Kebbi recorded the highest number of cases of victimisation with 96 per cent during the period, followed by Ebonyi 95 per cent, Enugu 87 per cent and Niger state 72 per cent.

Others, he said, were Lagos state 23, Nasarawa and Katsina states with seven and six per cent respectively.

“They all however fell below national average,’’ the Executive Director said.

Mr. Chukwuma said the survey covered crimes such as robbery, armed violence, rape, physical assault, attempted murder, kidnapping and domestic violence.

He said robbery increased from 11 per cent in 2010 to 17 per cent in 2012, adding that Edo recorded the highest with 63 per cent, while Jigawa and Kwara were the least with four and two per cent respectively.

Mr. Chukwuma said the survey showed that security at home is still a challenge as most of the crimes were committed at the homes of the respondents.

“The findings of the survey revealed that the most numbers of crimes are not reported. Just a little above two in every ten respondents (21 per cent) who suffered victimisation reported to the police.’’

He said this was so because many of the victims said they were not satisfied with the way the police handled their report.

On terrorism, he said many of the respondents decried the way security agencies handled it and suggested that government should use both dialogue and force to resolve it.

Responding to a question, Mr. Chukwuma said that the NGO is keen on collaborating with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in conducting the survey.

“Our organisation was not doing so due to financial challenges.

“If you give it (survey) to a government department, you actually have to double the resources you need for quality control because if you do not do that you are going to have a problem.

“But we are very keen on working with them. Actually we would want a government department or agency to take the responsibility of conducting this survey every year.

“This is because their counterparts in the other parts of the world are the ones doing it,’’ he said.

Mr. Chukwuma said the surveys’ findings would be made available to the relevant government agencies.

He however lamented that data generated from such survey were not being given priority in the formulation of policies.

The CLEEN Foundation was founded in 1998 with the aim of promoting public safety through empirical research and legislative advocacy.

This was done in collaboration with government agencies and other civil society organisations.

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