Monday, 8 March 2021

Shila-Boys of Sambisa - The Ravaging Menace

Crime is an offence against the law, and to curb the menace is what government at all levels have been battling with year in, year out.

Adamawa State is not an exception as people are being threatened, particularly at night, with burglary, theft and snatchings.

Areas such as Bajabure Federal Housing estate, Badirisa, Jambutu, Doubeli, Shagari and Damilu, in Jimeta-Yola, have become flash points of crimes forcing the inhabitants to have sleepless nights.

The criminal activities are largely carried out by the dreaded ‘Shila Boys’ who began their dastardly acts in 2017 in Jimeta- Yola axis.

The Fintiri-led administration, on assumption of office in May 2019, vowed to tackle the activities of criminals including the Shila Boys.

The governor gave them two weeks to repent or face the wrath of the law. He followed this threat, immediately, with a visit, along with the security chief in the state, to one of their famous hideouts known as ‘Sambisa’.

Several arrests were made and the boys pledged to repent and turn a new leaf.

A new security operation tagged: “Operation Farauta” was launched by the governor to aid the security agencies to nip in the bud acts of criminality and make the state crime free.

However, the Shila Boys changed their tactics from using tricycles to rob people to burglary and theft.

The criminals also use hotels and other hideouts for cover and to coordinate their activities.

Some residents alleged that some highly placed individuals support the Shila atrocities by securing bail for them whenever the police arrest them.

There is fear that if these allegations are true, the fight against increasing criminalities will never be won unless the authorities identify and prosecute those ‘highly placed individuals’.

Some parents should also be blamed for the activities of these boys because they failed to properly train their children. If parents wake up to their responsibilities, the activities of these hoodlums will be reduced. Therefore, parents need to sit up.

Government should also warn owners of motels and hotels as well as other criminal hideouts against harbouring them. It will be good if the government demolishes any building that serves as a hideout for these boys.

More empowerment programmes should be introduced by government and NGOs to keep the minds of the youths away from criminality, while scholarships should be awarded to deserving ones.

There is the need for all and sundry to join hands with government and security agencies to fight crimes by divulging information on criminal hideouts with a view to fishing them out. Security agents responsible for ensuring law and order in the society, must redouble efforts towards addressing the menace.

Let’s work together to stop these Shila Boys.

Muktar Adamu, Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri

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