The Lagos State Police Command spokesman, Chike Oti, has said that Nigerian musicians should stop promoting gangsterism with their songs.
Mr Oti said music had the potency to checkmate crime and other vices in the society, stressing that many musicians in other climes used their brands of music to promote peace and harmony.
According to him, Nigerian musicians should take a cue from the old school musicians who promote unity and build the nation with the use of their songs.
“When you listen to songs from the past, you will realise that musicians then sang to promote unity and engage the youths. An example is Christy Essien Igbokwe.
“Nigerian musicians need to look beyond the present and think of how their music can be utilised positively to better Nigerians.
“Now that most of the trending musicians in Nigeria are youths, it is easier for them to connect with the youth and change the narrative.
“Their songs should be used to condemn drugs, cultism and other criminal acts. It should be engaging and promote unity.
“The concept of fighting crime among the youth in the command through music is capable of curbing the high rate of crime taking place in the state when musicians on their part sing songs with engaging and life changing lyrics,” he said in an interview with NAN on Wednesday.
The Nigeria Police Force held a security concert organised by the command in Lagos as a proactive measure in tackling crime in violence prone areas, recently.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, the Police Public Relations Officers in the Zone II of the Nigeria Police Force described the recent security concert organised by the command in Lagos as a proactive measure in tackling crime, stating that it was targeted at youthsin secondary schools and tertiary institutions and even beyond, adding that it was designed to dissuade the young ones from criminality.
Commenting on the rationale behind the concert, Dolapo Badmus, the Zone II Police Public Relations Officer, said the reality is that the nation’s music industry is improving and the youth are the major players in the industry.
According to her, the police will no longer be satisfied with reactive tendencies, stressing that it has resolved to be more proactive in its activities including entertainment events.
Ms Badmus explained that the musical concert put together by her command was designed to interact with the youths in order to sway them from cultism, internet fraud, drug dealings and other related offences which are common among the youths.
She advised the youths to avail themselves of the opportunity provided by her command through its various programmes to get acquainted with security measures, and get real mentorship for living, saying that the command would no longer want to see the young ones who are the country’s future leaders behind bars.
The zone II spokesperson said the police are always ready to partner with the youth to create a better society,adding that security concert will certainly bring change in the society
“I’m passionate about the youth, not only because they are the future of our country but because I am also one.
“In the past, there was no good relationship between the police and the youth but with the concert I think they now know that the police is not interested in putting them or arresting them but trying to train them to become good ambassadors of the nation”, she added.
She maintained that there can’t be any national development without capacity development of the youth, saying “I don’t want to see any youth behind bars simply because they lack mentorship”.
Ms Badmus held the view that it is better to mentor the young ones than running after them to get them arrested, assuring the public that the friendship between the police and the people will be maintained, and the youths will remain the target of its orientation and enlightenment programmes.
Similarly, the Ogun Police Command lauded the initiative of the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of Zone II Command.
The PPRO of the command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, told NAN in Abeokuta that using the potency of music could be sustained by the Force to prevent crime in the state.
The musical concert according to Mr Oyeyemi, was to dissuade youths from cultism, internet fraud and drug abuse, among other social vices.
He said that the police would continue to focus on the youths in its campaign against crime as most criminal activities are carried out or masterminded by them.
“Statistics have shown that 70 per cent of crimes are committed by the youths and so we will continue to beam our searchlight on them in order to check crimes generally in our society,” he said.
Mr Oyeyemi, who described the musical concert as being impactful, expressed optimism that it would be sustained in the zone and possibly replicated in other zones in the Force.
He said that the strategy had become necessary because many Nigerian youth look up to young musicians as their role models and adore the ways of life of these celebrities whom they religiously follow on twitter, facebook, instagram and other social media platforms.
“Our youth love the young and successful musicians and listen to their music.
“When such people now meet with them in a concert and explain to them that crime does not pay in a manner that they are comfortable with, then they listen to them more and the message sinks in better.
“When other youths who have been successful and have become top celebrities through hard work preach to them, then they will realise that they do not need to toe the path of crime to rise to stardom,” he said.
The spokesperson said that the police would sustain the strategy by continuously organising Musical Talent-Hunt among the youths with attractive prizes and sponsorship opportunities.
He noted that such programmes would also help some of the youth actualise the potential in them and pursue a responsible life that would make them contribute meaningfully to the development of the country.
He said the police had continued to collaborate with other stakeholders including actors and actresses in the Nollywood to reach out to the youths in the world of crime.
He explained that the police had continued to allow the artistes to use their formations in shooting films, particularly the ones that teach high morals and promote peace and progress other societal norms
Mr Oyeyemi added that the police have also partnered with school authorities and have continued to take the campaign against crime to primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the country.
Also, Olaoluwa Senayon, a lecturer at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, believes music plays a major role not only in entertainment but as well as in education.
Mr Senayon, who is also the Coordinator, Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the university, said musicians play a major role in educating the young and the old by engaging in the expression of morality.
The expert said music also “helps speak truth to power’’ to enable leaders lay good examples that the youths would learn from.
“For instance, Fela Anikulapo’s activism throughout his life time was geared toward fighting criminality in government and corrupt politicians.
“Fela’s music not only fights crime among the youths but as well fights corruption in government and exposed corruption among the people in authority,’’ he said.
He said that music could also discourage the youths from illegal migration in search of greener pasture.
“The youth are always eager to travel out of Nigeria having no idea of what they are travelling out to do apart from the thinking that there is greener pasture out there and eventually end up becoming criminals
“The music of Adekunle Gold in his latest track titled “IREN BEN-ILE’’ meaning “ so much fortune back home’’ educates the youth about various opportunities in Nigeria and discourages them from illegal migration,’’ Mr Senayon said.
He said that it would be a welcome development if the police authority could fight crime through the power of music and change their orientation by adopting a radical approach in policing Nigeria.
He said Nigerian musicians had proven to be creative and innovative, adding that a number of them would be ready to collaborate with the police in fighting crime through the music.
Mr Senayon said when music is taken from the perspective of morality it would go a long way in assisting the police in fighting crime in the society.
“I will urge the police to partner with talented musicians who can use their music to impact positively on the society,’’ he said.
A parent, Abimbola Adebayo, urged musicians to always use their songs to preach love, tolerance, good morals and uprightness in the society.
She expressed dismay at some musical lyrics which are aimed at promoting negative manners and immoral acts just for the purpose of making money.
“It is one thing to organise a musical concert purposely to sensitise the youths, it is another thing for the lyrics and rhythms to be in tune with the realities on the ground.
“The contents in music played in such concerts should be devoid of promoting gangsterism, violence, immoral acts and nudity,” she advised.