Social and economic conditions contributed to a surge in crime in Nigeria, but Musa Temidayo, 23, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Nigeria says that crime prevention involves strong homes and communities and accountable government.
The problem of crime has harassed society down through the ages. The struggle between law observance and anti-social behavior is as old as man.
Crime in Nigeria rose in the mid-1990s as a result of unemployment, economic decline, and social inequality, which are abetted by inefficient and corrupt police and customs forces. According to a report, more than half of all offenses are thefts, burglaries, and break-ins, although armed robberies are also prominent. Nigeria is a major conduit for drugs moving from Asia and Latin America to markets in Europe and North America.
Advance Fee Fraud (419) is another major crime being committed by some percentage of the Nigerian youth. In this case, the “greedy” business people or individuals abroad are invited to help transfer large sums of money out of Nigeria, with the promise of a share of the transferred money. Advance fees are requested to expedite this transfer, but the advanced money routinely disappears. Much work has been done by the Economic and financial Crime commission (EFCC) under the Mallam Nuhu Ribadu-led administration, and there have been other periodic campaigns to root out corrupt politicians and attack crime. They have had little lasting effect.
The great task of crime prevention cannot be borne by the police alone or other agencies tasked with its prevention. It is the responsibility of each community to see to it that our youth do not acquire incentives and techniques for crime. Although there is no one cure for crime, it is increasingly evident that its prevention must begin at the cradle.
The home is a pivotal point in the prevention of crime. Homes where training and family ties are weak, home life is disintegrating, immorality and drunkenness are prevailing, and where religious influences are lacking are forces having a definite relationship to criminal behavior. Motivation for decent behavior must be nurtured in the home. Parents should not only teach a child to walk and talk but also teach them how to trust in their strength without resorting to crime to achieve their goals.
Outside the home, the forces of the community should be ready to assist youth. Our schools and other informal places of learning are in a strategic position to instill in pupils recognition of civic and social responsibility, knowledge of our Constitution and of the institutions of our Government, as well as a respect for law and the proper agencies which enforce the law.
In our communities, governmental and non- governmental organization should be put in place to help make good use of the leisure time and school holiday periods of students in various areas so they would not seem “idle”. This is most important in considering crime prevention. It helps tremendously to prevent leisure-time activity of youth from becoming undirected and uncontrolled.
Also, governmental bodies should have a system of accountability and the crime prevention agencies should duly prosecute crime offenders with no respect to the kind of personality involved. Once the youth see that the system is just, where measures are taken to prevent corrupt politicians from recycling themselves into positions of leadership, and that crime offenders do not go scot free or receive a “presidential pardon” on their back for crimes committed, the incentives to commit crime will not linger in the minds of youths knowing that the incorruptible anti-crime agencies will catch up with them.
The road ahead is long, stony, and studded with many obstacles. But the means to curb and prevent crime are available within our country. A strong front against crime necessarily means united community action. The police, schools, church groups, civic, community, welfare, social and other organizations should at all times unite against the criminal and those influences which lure victims on the road to crime.
As knowledge of crime conditions and the causation factors becomes more widespread, and more persons become interested in finding the solution and are willing to assume their personal responsibilities, even greater progress may be expected.
I am from Nigeria, currently studying International Relations at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife Osun state. I’m also the Deputy Editor-in-Chief for the department. I love travelling and singing. I have an interest in Management and Developmental Issues.
Aside from studying, I also work with I-Koncept-as a Director of Logistics, and also the Chairman of my department’s magazine. I want to be a Manager-Human Resource & Conflict Management, and also hope to serve in the Nigerian Foreign Service.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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