ARMED ROBBERY IN NIGERIA – A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF YOUNG MALE ROBBERS

INTRODUCTION

This “intellectual journey” has a backstory. Between 1999 and 2003, the author worked in Nigeria’s Criminal Justice System (CJS), specifically the Nigeria Prison Service. Those five years were filled with experiences and problem-solving scenarios from detained or convicted prison inmates. The police who arrested and imprisoned them labeled the majority of them “armed robbers” pending court hearings, which did not take place when they were supposed to. With the daily influx of armed robbery suspects in prison, the author thought it prudent to research this topic in order to understand the likely factors responsible for the youthful involvement in “armed robbery,” as well as to propose crime prevention and/or reduction strategies that may be useful. In criminal justice policymaking, the government and criminologists collaborate. The current study was intended to be a comparative study of armed robbery in Nigeria and the United Kingdom (or more precisely England). Comparative criminology dates back to Emile Durkheim’s time (Newman & Howard, 2001). It entails an evaluation of any type of crime that affects more than one culture, nation-state, or region. The value of comparative criminology is that it identifies an interesting topic for study as well as an important method for conducting research (Zimring & Johnson, 2005). Armed robbery is an important topic that has been extensively researched by criminologists all over the world. In the second half of the twentieth century, research began to take shape. De Baun, 1950.

For example, McClintock and Gibson (1961), Normandeau (1968a, 1968b, 1968c, 1969a, 1969b), and Einstadter (1969) pioneered the study of armed robbery in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Many studies have since used samples from national, cultural, cross-cultural, or cross-national populations (for example, see Wright et al, 2006; Wright & Decker, 1987; Macdonald, 1975; Gabor et al, 1987; Wright & Decker, 1997; Cook, 1987; Conklin, 1972; Nugent et al, 1989; Smith & Louis, 2010; Borycki, 2003; Borycki et al, 2005).

This study discusses armed robbery in banks, shops, gas stations, private residences, and highways or motorways. It entails different levels of force and a variety of weapons, such as guns and knives (Matthews, 2002). According to Matthews (2002), weapons were not used at all in some armed robberies committed in the United Kingdom. This is not the case in Nigeria, where those involved use a weapon(s) to threaten, force, and deprive a person or persons of the right to private, public, or corporate property (Nwalozie, 2007). Based on the various interpretations of the umbrella term “armed robbery” in Nigeria and the United Kingdom, it has become too broad to be used as a starting point for analysis (Matthews, 2002). Although armed robbery is a serious crime committed by youths, we are less interested in the terminology “armed robbery.” However, we are far more interested in determining what motivates them to do so. However, for the sake of clarity and writing conventions used herein, the terms robbery and/or armed robbery will refer to the same subject matter, “armed robbery”. If a different type of robbery is mentioned for any reason, it will be clearly stated. The initial motivation for conducting a comparative study of armed robbery in Nigeria and the United Kingdom was obvious: To date, neither Nigerian nor British scholars have conducted a comparative study of armed robbery in their respective countries. There is a gap in the literature due to the lack of cross-national or cross-cultural research on armed robbery in the two states. This is interesting because of the colonial legacy. In the comparative study of crime and criminal justice, the British leaving a legal system in the postcolonial period and how suitable or unsuitable such a system is to contemporary Nigeria. It appears that Nigerian criminologists are less interested in comparative studies due to financial constraints and limited access to research data, whereas British criminologists appear to be more interested in comparing crime and criminal justice in developed countries in Europe and America, where financial resources and access to research data are not as limited. So, conducting a comparative study of armed robbery in Nigeria and the United Kingdom would most likely have been the first of its kind, generating new knowledge in criminological science. We would have especially come to Learn about the similarities and differences in the nature and patterns of armed robbery in the two countries. Any comparative criminology research must presumably highlight the similarities and differences in a specific crime in the countries being studied. Our first priority would have been to determine whether armed robbery was a problem in both countries (see Clinard & Abbot, 1973). The study would have looked at two different groups of young people from two different cultural backgrounds. The research would have provided us with information on current, recent, and previous robbery trends in both countries. This would have entailed comparing crime rates based on police data and conducting interviews with participants. Furthermore, we would have learned whether the motivations for robbery are similar or dissimilar. either distinct or both. The most commonly assumed causal variable in the origin of criminal behavior is motivation. Indeed, no crime can be committed unless the offender is motivated by some factor(s) (Jacobs & Richards, 1999: 149).

 

 

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