SOCIOECONOMIC IMPLICATION OF ARMED ROBBERY IN ABASAND TOWN, NKIKOKA LGA, ANAMBRA STATE.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In Africa, high crime levels have been said to be common to countries in transition from authoritarian to democratic rule, and this is reflected in the persistently high level of crime in countries like South Africa. Official Police statistics for 1997 reveal a frightening high number of violent crimes where 25,000 people were murdered in 1996. This reflects a rate ten times the international average. Reported house breaking in private houses stood at
250,000, while on the average a car was stolen at gunpoint, every five seconds (Maltzan, 1998). Crime therefore reflects not only the values of the criminals but also those of the society as a whole.Crime rates and types are also unevenly spread across cities and regions and between countries. Some cities, regions or countries may experience rapid increase in crime particularly crime of violence while others do not. It could be argued that, most data on crime reflect only those recorded by the police, and that the extent to which the police record crime is difficult to measure. The level and types of crime are also the result of a range of local, national, and regional factors including cultural beliefs, political and economic instability, the quality of policing, and the availability of guns or other weapons. In Africa, a violent crime that has been of interest to scholars has been the incidents of contemporary armed robbery which has been observed to be prevalent in the horn of Africa (Mburu, 1999).
Nigeria, like any other African country has been experiencing various forms of violent crimes such as ethnic conflicts, rape, armed robbery, assault, murder and kidnapping. At the end of civil wars there is usually mass abandonment of the fighting zones which results in various types of weapons finding their way into the hands of people who may ultimately use them for criminal activities, as have been the case when the Nigerian civil war ended on January 15, 1970. During this period, it was generally expected that armed robbery which was the phenomenon of concern as at then, would be confined to the Eastern states of Nigeria, but this was not so because cases of armed robbery were reported from all parts of Nigeria. It was further observed that though armed robbery has existed in Nigeria for centuries, the civil war accelerated its incidence (Nkpa, 1976).