January 16, 2024 showed us how vulnerable we are in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. Just when Nigerians were thinking end will come to sad news such as the massacre in Plateau State on the eve of 2023 Christmas, the kidnappings in Abuja and killings of kidnapped children, the mismanagement of funds meant for poor Nigerians among others; a yet-to-be ascertained quantity of improvised explosive device (IED)/ dynamite hidden by illegal miners living around Adeyi Avenue in Bodija area of Ibadan exploded. The immediate effects were the death of two people and 77 injured persons taken to the hospital. Buildings were flattened and cars within the radius of the explosion were not spared.
The governor, Seyi Makinde said that the preliminary security findings indicated that the explosion came from illegal miners who stored improvised explosive devices in the house they live in. The questions are since when have the illegal miners been domiciled in this neighbourhood with knowledge of their activities? Considering the fact that a police station is not far from this area, have there been no reports to police authorities or even to the government about these people before this sad event? Bodija is not a poor people’s neighbourhood. It is home to the very enlightened. Does it mean that no one sent a message to the authorities about the activities of these people?
When people complain and nothing is done and they see that the people they complained about are powerful with connections, citizens will adopt if you cannot beat them by reporting to authorities and getting them arrested, you simply allow them to be so that you can live longer in Nigeria. Or at best, they relocate to another area. Other people will not just relocate or complain but will join the criminal gang in their evil plan to destroy and profit from it. Who is profiting from our pains? Crime is not only local but its success mainly occurs because of the collaboration of insiders who can be those in government, the citizens and their moles in our security system.
We need to see this explosion as an early warning sign to the loopholes in security governance, intelligence, and disaster management in Oyo State. How many more strangers doing illegal mining in collaboration with Nigerians are still within our neighbourhoods? If this could happen just behind the seat of government of Oyo State and no actionable intelligence got to the state, then there is fire on the mountain. Citizens have the responsibility to talk about the evil in their neighbourhood. We cannot stand aloof because the consequences of our silences may become our victimisation.
The miners are said to be foreigners. How did they get in? Who permitted them to bring in explosives inside the country and with which company did they get such approval if any?
Illegal mining is an entrenched organised crime, which makes people implicate the state. How many more pains shall we endure until we all lose our humanity and become beasts?
Oyo State governor needs to sit-up and break the chains of organised criminality.
Oludayo Tade, a criminologist writes via [email protected]