Some few years ago,I was a young Banking Officer working in Onitsha when Peter Obi announced that he would not used tax payers money in servicing criminals . Before then ,the previous administration of Ngige was using N10m monthly to service bad boys around Anambra state. Peter Obi signed and paid the N10m the first month ,the second month ,he refused to sign and banned all activities of touting business in the State .
Ngige used village sense to deal with the issue of insecurity in the State . Peter Obi used trading sense of profit and loss in terms of naira and kobo but then i disagreed with both methods as an economist for so many reasons .
When you pay an illegal group as a security measure, you are empowering them thereby encouraging illegality. When you stop paying them for economic reasons ,the society will bear the blunt. The indirect cost to the society will set off the anticipated direct benefit to the Government .
As a young Banker ,I argued then that Peter Obi should have put public policy framework to deal with the situation instead of a blanket announcement. Such public policy should have established an estimated number of people in the business, how many people are benefiting from the business? Who are their leaders ? How do Government channel the energy of the former touts to productive activities in the short term and make touting business unattractive? Is there responsible agency with hot phone lines to intermediate between the victims of touting and government to ensure that the public policy on touting is executed to the letters? Peter Obi did not implement the above advice .As a Governor ,he was fortified with security officers paid with tax payers money!
Alas , I paid for Peter Obi refusal to pay N10m ! Just three days after Peter refused to pay N10m to bad boys, on my way from work in the night ,I was robbed with gun on my head along Ziks round- about,Onitsha .I lost N20,000 I withdrew for my sick mother. Three weeks after,I stopped to buy fuel for my generator set with my friend ,Chidi inside my car ,the bad boys numbering three all with pistol surrounded us ! That encounter ,we lost all our mobile phones,some valuables and few naira with us. This is the indirect cost to the society . Peter Obi Government saved N10 million monthly but I lost more than N100,000(just an individual) within 2 weeks of Peter Obi refusal to pay .
Prof Soludo knows that these touts he wants to stop has established a consumption pattern that must be serviced . In advanced society, citizens are paid monthly to stay away from crime and as an inducement for consumption to sustain the purchasing power of the economy.
I will recommend that a committee be set up immediately to address the spill over effect of banning touting business in the State.
Good Governance Ambassador