Even though there was violence everywhere in the 1980s and 1990s, armed robberies in Ghana were extremely rare. Although I drove a cab and a tro-tro in Accra and Cape Coast, I never encountered any armed robbers there. It was after traveling from Ghana to Nigeria in the early 1980s, that I fell victim to two armed robberies, the second of which almost cost me my life.
In Ghana, as in many other African nations, there are criminals, although it is quite uncommon to hear of someone being held up at gunpoint or shot, killed, and robbed by armed robbers in Ghana in the 1980s. However, today, armed robberies continue to have a terrible influence on our community and make living in Ghana miserable, so we should be concerned and wonder where they came from.
Most Africans, especially, Nigerians, become extremely outraged and furious if it is said that armed robberies were transported from Nigeria to Ghana by Nigerian armed robbers. The truth is, though, up until the time I moved to Lagos in the early 1980s, at the age of 23, I had never been the victim of an armed robbery in Ghana.
The fact that I am still alive today, despite being twice kidnapped by armed robbers in Nigeria and brutally beaten before being flung out of a moving car is a miracle. When a taxi hit me, I flew like Superman and landed on the car's bonnet, but I managed to survive. In Ghana, I was in a major car accident, but I made it out alive. Since I am unable to swim, the sea took me away and returned me alive to the shore in a village called Moree, in the central region of Ghana. I praise God for sharing this story.
Ghanaians weren't worried about armed robberies since the 1970s and 1980s, while this phenomenon has long been an everyday occurrence in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos State. As previously said, the notion that they introduced armed robbery to Ghana has some aspects of reality, which incenses Nigerians. Ghanaians will concur that when armed robbers are apprehended in Ghana, for example, six people, four of them will be Nigerians, and two will be Ghanaians.
Since Ghana is a peaceful country and the punishment meted out to armed robbers can never be compared to the cruelty justice meted out to apprehended armed robbers in Nigeria, it makes sense for fugitive Nigerian criminals to recruit armed robbery there. Before such incidents started happening in Ghana, Nigeria is likely the first country in Africa to begin executing apprehended armed robbers by burning them alive. I frequently saw armed robbers being burned in Lagos.
An old vehicle tyre, petrol, and a match are used to start the quick justice. An angry mob wrapped the victim's neck with the tyre before setting it on fire. Even though it's distressing to witness, the enraged mob finds it amusing. Both celebrations and curses will be seen. After seeing such horrific acts, I returned to ask a few "Lagosians" what "Oniwamo and Onikure" meant. The first Yoruba word, according to what I've been taught, means "You'll not return after death," and the second word indicates "You'll not have a nice death."
Speaking personally, up until the time I arrived in Lagos, Nigeria, in the early 1980s, at the age of 23, I had neither seen armed robbers in Ghana, nor had I ever been struck in the face by a police officer, soldier, or immigration official. I received all of my nasty beatings and face slaps in Nigeria while hustling. In one instance, the immigration officer gave me many slaps before allowing me to enter Nigeria, after robbing me of all of my money.
I was left destitute by the immigration officer, so when I arrived in Lagos, one of the passengers, a woman who had knelt in the heat of the sun and begged the immigration officer to let me go, gave me some money so I could take a ride to my destination. There has never been a place in the world where cruelty has been as extreme as it was while I lived in Nigeria from 1980 to 1985 before moving to Freetown, Sierra Leone. “Echoes Of My Life In Freetown-Sierra Leone,” ModernGhana article published on June 22, 2018.
I did say in the introduction to my article that I had twice encountered armed robbers in Lagos. I always back up my writing with facts. I posted "Kidnapped By Armed Robbers" on the ModernGhana website on January 25, 2019. In the same Lagos, Nigeria, I saw a Ghanaian being lynched and burned to death. An eyewitness claimed the “Ghananian,” stole a thread from a garment factory. I can’t explain why Nigerians call Ghanaians "Ghananians."
I watched in horror as a citizen of my nation screamed and burned in pain while standing still. One of the mobs took a stick and poked it into his anus after he passed away. This is something I saw for myself; no one told me. The number of armed robbers operating across Ghana today has substantially increased, making life for the populace intolerable. Due to the influence of money, some homeowners in Ghana have become a nuisance by renting out their properties to Nigerians, while they deny Ghanaians homes.
Many Nigerians currently believe Ghana is a haven where they can commit crimes with impunity, but they need to understand that everyone can be a criminal when it comes to crime; however, being a Nigerian makes one quickly a suspect in many criminal activities, such as internet frauds, sex, and human trafficking, even though there are decent Nigerians who are good people.
As a result, I will plead with my fellow brothers and sisters to understand that this article is not intended to be discriminatory toward them; after all, there are criminals in Ghana as well; rather, we should try to make it our responsibility to restore our nation's dignity and live and fight against crime to leave a lasting legacy behind, wherever we go.