Agbero: A menace in Lagos State.
Welcome to Lagos would mean that you should see nice aesthetics or rather some sort of landmarks that would suggest that you are in the largest commercial capital in Africa but I must warn you, rather than seeing landmarks there’s one very sudden sight that you may behold and that’s the sight of a group of individuals even more powerful than the political leaders and in certain instances, they’re so popular around Lagos that one could swear that wherever the sky goes they’re present. They are simply known as “Agberos” although the English translation might seem weird and kill the title so I’ll summarily translate them by saying “Area boys”, I mean every country has got their gangsters but then this is very systemic and they’re rather powerful and are popularly known to be the kingmakers around Lagos and its suburbs, they’re just glorified tax collectors but in the transport business. So anytime you’re around Lagos you may want to avoid them except you want to do any form of business with them I mean even the state directs businessmen to them. I always wondered why they collected such amounts of money from transporters around the state and whose coffers the money goes into but the just like any typical food chain or value chain it is suspected to have come from the top. Although it has been denied severally I mean who doesn’t know? So before I go too deep, let us go into a little description on how this virus was created, I describe it as a virus simply because it has all the characteristics of a virus and it takes form in various ways. “Agberoism” didn’t just start from thin air like any other supposed reasonable social misadventure, and it was not created in any laboratory or having any patents to its name. it was created in the state, around each one of us, it started slowly till it grew, one major driving force for it was lack of jobs although that may sound like an excuse it’s true what they say about an idle mind being the devil’s workshop. Boys needed to eat, but without having certain skills or even some sort of education or qualification the temptations to make a humble income from nothing was daunting but achievable, the government wasn’t ready to create any new jobs the economy was in their pockets anyway so the only thing they wanted to create was bunch of boys that they could just give arms and political protection it was cheap labour in the commercial terms but it was profitable since their political rivals can be simply intimated by these bunch of hungry individuals sometimes blood was spilt but it was a great initiative the political leaders were having a feast, the boys were able to satisfy their hunger and then they tasted power in its raw form. So, while the political leaders thought them a fool, they forgot the basic law of power that real power existed in the hands of the person behind the gun. Their power grew quite exponentially and then they became drunk with blood, this time rival gangs fought for territories and supremacy, back to the stone age, it was so uncontrollable that even the men who used them as tools. I remembered telling everyone who cared to listen that, unless Lagos has a government who is brave enough to look at this thugs in the eyes and tell them to move out of the state, the state isn’t going to be ready for any real progress, the Oyo state governor did, and since then there’s been a substantial amount of peace around the state. Unless we stop glorifying the activities of these individuals who parade themselves as “Agberos” the security of the state would be at great risk. To be fair, you may want to ask the questions about what happens when the state government bans their activities around the state, and won’t it increase the incidence of crime and thuggery? but the truth is that the first step remains to shut down their shop and cutting off any political alliance any political leader has with them, they’re a virus that would keep spreading if it remains unchecked, now there are certain isolated cases of teenagers joining their ranks, and they’ve grown into local gangs and cult groups, not only domiciled in Lagos state alone but moving rapidly around southwestern Nigeria, in some parts of the F.C.T these groups can also be found. And it is no longer news that once a member of such gangs errs in an area they move to another area and dominate again. To secure the safety of lives and property then it’s advised that strong actions be taken on these groups and individuals. Lagos state cant remain a megacity or have plans to attain a level of development if, under its bridges and parks, you have sets of societal misfits thriving, even major roadways and express around the state has become a growing hub for these sorts of miscreants who use them as their spots to carry out their criminal activities. How can this menace be tackled? Firstly, proper revenue collecting channels should be created by the state government on commercial motorists and all “Agberos” should be scrapped from all motor parks around the state. Secondly, tough laws and legislations should be passed to enact a punishment to anyone who is caught practising thuggery around the state and its environs. Thirdly, all political parties and leaders around the state and Nigeria as a whole should shun the use of thugs to intimidate their political rivals or fellow citizens during times of election, all manner of indulging their activities should be halted. And in conclusion, we need to create a sustainable society for our selves and the future generation by saying no to crime and violence, the negative economic impact of “Agberoism” in Lagos can not be overemphasized.
P.S: This article solely represents the opinion of the author and doesn’t represent any facts, except the ones that are obvious to the readers. Thank you.