March 22, 2021
AN APPRAISAL OF IMPACT OF POVERTY ON THE CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR AMONG YOUTHS
Criminal behavior could be seen as a fault of the social system whose institutions do not work equally for all its members. This phenomenon has become a recurrent problem in Nigeria among youths, despite concerted efforts made by government, international and Non-Governmental Youths to curb the menace in the Country. This study which sought to establish the impact of poverty on criminal behavior among youths in Nigeria is an attempt to address the root cause of the problem. The research was carried out within the ambit of Relative Deprivation Theory and adopted both primary and secondary types of data collection using simple descriptive statistics techniques to generate data for the study through structured interview and questionnaire. The study which interrogated the interface between poverty and the prevalence of criminal behavior in Nigeria. The research recommends that a comprehensive synergy involving Government and relevant stakeholders targeted at alleviating poverty will effectively tackled the prevalence of criminal behavior among youths in Nigeria. Other recommendations include strengthening the capacity of NAPTIP, relevant law enforcement agencies and traditional institutions to co-ordinate and sustain a strong security network that will identify, report, arrest and prosecute Criminals and other offenders; serve as a deterrent and check the prevalence of criminal behavior in Nigeria. In addition, the study recommends that the teaching and promotion of Nigeria’s history, national core values of patriotism and nationalism should be given priority and inculcated in the national school curriculum in order to encourage the youths and the entire people of Nigeria to believe in themselves and the country and discourage the excessive quest for illegal activities.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Explanations for crime have taken various dimensions according to different theorists and scholars. Some blame it on defective family structure or arrested personality adjustment. Others emphasize factors such as inequality, environmental influence, poor socialization process (Henslin,2006). In this regards, criminal acts may be induced by many unforeseen factors and circumstances. Crime, according to Taylor (2006) could be seen as a fault of the social system whose institutions do not work equally for all its members. Sociologists look at the social in which individuals find themselves. Could it be that the problem lay not with the individual but in the social condition under which the individual live? The concern here is why people should exhibit behavior that is in violation of established norms, violations that may ultimately result in their being labeled as criminal behavior in terms of social processes.
Mostly, persons known to commit street crimes as reported in the crime index are poor, uneducated, often unemployed and residents of low income neighborhoods (Anasi, 2019). Would a socially and economically sound person turn out to be criminal? In this research work, there is need to understand the socio-economic background of most juvenile and criminals in order to draw correlations or otherwise between low socio-economic status (poverty) and criminal behavior.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This study focuses on the impact of poverty on criminal behavior in Nigeria. The 2019 national poverty statistics indicated that seventy percent (70%) of Nigeria’s population are poor and Sokoto State has the highest statistics of poverty in the country as more than eighty percent (80%) of the people live below poverty line.
The researcher having seen the unwholesome behaviour that emanated from youths which causes burden to parents, school administrator/ teacher and the society, wade into the research of this nature to find out may be parenting styles like democratic, autocratic and laissez-faire have a way of causing delinquent behaviour and probably peer pressure as a social factor, makes adolescent to adopt certain behavior in order to fit in with others could influence criminal behaviour. Consequently, the research interrogates the interface between poverty and criminal behavior in Nigeria.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What is the nature of criminal behavior among youths Nigeria in Nigeria? What is the impact of poverty on criminal behavior in Nigeria? What are the factors that create favourable environment for the prevalence of criminal behavior in Nigeria? What are the possible solutions to the prevalence of criminal behavior in Nigeria?
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study include the following:
To give an empirical analysis of the role of poverty on criminal behavior. To examine the circumstances that make youths participate in crime. To find out why crime participation is high in certain areas and among certain groups in the society. To identify some ways in which the society can be able to tackle the problem of crimes.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research focuses on the impact of poverty on criminal behavior in Nigeria. This essentially provides another alternative perspective for a critical analysis of the phenomenon criminal behavior as a problem that requires a proactive and preventive measure aimed at addressing the root cause rather than curative approach which dwells more on arrest, deportation and prosecution of perpetrators and other symptomatic effects of criminal behavior.
The significance of this study to the body of existing literature is basically designed to cover the gaps or pit-falls inherent in the existing institutional approach put in place to check the prevalence of criminal behavior in Nigeria; an approach that dwells more on the symptomatic rather than the root cause of criminal behavior in the country. The focus of this study on preventive measures will significantly help in addressing the root cause of criminal behavior in Nigeria.
Furthermore, the focus of this study on the development of a comprehensive synergy between government and relevant stakeholders targeted at eradicating poverty is in effect an effective strategy that will strengthen the enforcement of relevant laws to effectively prosecute offenders, empower the people and stimulate a ripple or multiplier effect capable of addressing the socio-economic and other relevant challenges that sustain criminal behavior in Nigeria.
The study also helps to bring to the front burner the seriousness and significance of criminal behavior as a problem confronting the entire members of the society and not limited to prostitution involving the female gender, a particular ethnic group or a few states in Nigeria. It is therefore an alternative narrative away from the long held default position or the one sided perspective of the phenomenon criminal behavior as a problem confronting a part or a section of the population in Nigeria.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS
The research focuses mainly on the impact of poverty on criminal behavior in Nigeria: A case study of NAPTIP Sokoto Zonal Command 2003-2019. Consequently, the study necessitated a visit by the Researcher to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Crime in Persons and other Related Matters (NAPTIP) Zonal Command in Sokoto, Nigeria
However, in view of the fact that a number of factors in addition to poverty could be responsible for the prevalence of criminal behavior in Nigeria, a comprehensive study of all relevant factors that contribute to the prevalence of criminal behavior in the country would have provided a broader and holistic approach to the problem of the research. Such approach will be too ambitious and will not be feasible within the scope and time-frame of this study. However, the finding of this research provides useful strategies, solutions and raised relevant issues of interest for public debate which will form the basis for future research that can accommodate broader scope and longer time frame.
1.7 ORGANIZATION OF CHAPTERS
This research work is divided into five chapters; the first chapter deals with the introduction, the second chapter deals with the literature review/theoretical framework. The third chapter focuses on the research methodology. The fourth chapter focuses on the presentation, analysis and interpretation of data. The fifth chapter provides the summary, conclusion and recommendations of the study.