Nigeria: Lagos – Medication, Firearms and Youth Unemployment Are Making a Deadly Cocktail in Nigeria’s Business Capital

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Lagos is the most populous metropolis in Africa and a regional financial big, having west Africa’s busiest seaport. It’s the centre of business and financial actions in Nigeria.

Town’s inhabitants is estimated to be 20 million folks. The existence of casual settlements makes it troublesome to give you a extra exact quantity.

Lagos has grown quickly since Nigerian independence in 1960, when its estimated inhabitants was 763,000 folks. Within the Eighties, its inhabitants reached 2.7 million. The federal government of Lagos state estimates that 86 younger migrants arrive each hour.

This speedy urbanisation has been poorly managed. The result’s crumbling public infrastructure, poor sanitation, poverty, and shortages of employment alternatives, meals, social providers, housing and public transport.

These challenges mix to make the town inclined to prison actions. Organised crime and violent conflicts are a public security and safety problem.

The problem of crime has been with Lagos for years. In 1993, the Nigerian authorities described Lagos because the “crime capital of the nation” with the emergence of the “Space Boys“, a bunch of social miscreants.

The 2017 statistics on reported crime incidences in Nigeria by the Nationwide Bureau of Statistics exhibits that Lagos has remained in a category of its personal. Lagos State had the best share share of complete circumstances reported with 50,975 (37.9%) circumstances recorded.

I’ve been researching numerous elements of crime and insecurity in Nigeria, notably within the nation’s south-west. I at present lead the African Cities Analysis Consortium security and safety area analysis in Lagos.

I contributed to a latest paper about residents’ experiences and perceptions of security in six African cities: Nairobi, Bukavu, Freetown, Mogadishu, Lagos and Maiduguri.

My analysis recognized numerous drivers of insecurity in Lagos. They included youth migration and unemployment; inequality and poverty; the seen community of organised youth prison teams; proliferation of small arms and medicines; insufficient preparedness of the town authorities; police corruption; the excessive charge of out-of-school youngsters; and poor city planning.

I argue that for residents to really feel safe, the federal government wants to incorporate these drivers in approaches to fixing safety challenges in Lagos.

Unemployment, firearms and medicines

In my African Cities Analysis Consortium security and safety area analysis in Lagos, unemployment and the proliferation of small firearms and medicines stand out as developments.

A survey on Navigating Unemployment in Lagos, Nigeria revealed that 48.31% of the respondents have been unemployed and the bulk have been between 25 and 34 years outdated.

In Lagos, youth of 18-40 years make up about half of the inhabitants, equalling over ten million folks dealing with excessive charges of unemployment. I would not have present unemployment information however in its fourth quarter 2020 nationwide survey, the Nationwide Bureau of Statistics estimated a 37.14% unemployment charge in Lagos, and 4.52% underemployment charge.

In line with my analysis members, drug abuse and illicit arms have grow to be critical points. A number of the metropolis precincts in communities resembling Ikorodu, Somolu, Agege, Bariga, Ojo, Oshodi, Mushin and Badagry have grow to be warehouses and locations for firearms and medicines.

A latest survey revealed by ENACT Transnational on organised crime in Africa has proven that between 2010 and 2017, the most important provide of reside ammunition transported into Nigeria illegally was intercepted at Lagos. This was made up of 21,407,933 gadgets of reside ammunition and 1,100 pump motion weapons.

Many of the unlawful weapons cross via ports in west Africa; some are imported over land borders. Whereas the nation’s legislation forbids random possession of firearms, my analysis respondents say it’s surprisingly widespread for younger miscreants to hold firearms in Lagos.

The police have confirmed that hooligans purchase illicit firearms from native blacksmiths who make them, and from corrupt safety officers.

In 2022, the Nationwide Drug Legislation Enforcement Company found a warehouse in a residential property in Ikorodu with 1.8 tonnes of cocaine. This was the most important single cocaine seizure within the nation’s historical past.

In November 2023, safety brokers intercepted hashish in Ibeshe, Iworoshoki and Badagry, and in January 2024, the drug legislation enforcement company intercepted hashish at Ikeja.

Impacts of unemployment, small arms and medicines in Lagos

Findings from my analysis in Lagos present respondents understand excessive ranges of violent crime within the metropolis. Youth aged 13 to 40 are largely the perpetrators.

Whereas there aren’t any correct statistics of day by day violent crime incidences, residents are complaining.

In 2022, the police reported that no fewer than 345 folks have been murdered in Lagos – the best quantity in years.

Younger folks have shaped themselves into road gangs. My analysis respondents spoke of violent encounters wherein their assailants used firearms and have been typically inebriated or medication or each. This was the expertise of 18 respondents, out of a pattern of fifty randomly chosen respondents.

Some respondents described road gangs in Lagos who’re continually excessive on medication and haven’t any regard for human life. Different respondents mentioned medication have been accessible and reasonably priced even for unemployed youth. Respondents believed {that a} mixture of a giant youth inhabitants, unemployment and easy accessibility to medication and illicit firearms was proving lethal.

Stopping and treating the problems

The crime triangle in Lagos – youth unemployment, medication and illicit arms – requires pressing consideration.

My research in Lagos exhibits {that a} widespread sense of financial hopelessness exacerbates the usage of drug and firearms by younger folks in Lagos. Youth who embrace this tradition of violence are those that really feel that they haven’t any stake within the metropolis and no belief within the authorities to offer alternatives for them.