Youth Employment And Crime Reduction In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Youth In Ikorodu Lagos State)
This study was carried out on the examination of youth employment and crime reduction in Nigeria using youths in Ikorodu Lagos State as a case study. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprised of resident of Ikorodu Lagos State. In determining the sample size, the researcher purposefully selected 147 respondents and 141 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables, and mean scores. The hypotheses was tested using Chi-square Statistical tool. The result of the findings reveals that the extent youths carry out criminal activities in Ikorodu Lagos State is high. The study also revealed that youth empowerment will significantly influence youth’s attitude towards crime involvement. And youth employment will contribute positively to crime reduction in Nigeria. Therefore, it is recommended that the government should reach out to the youth, regardless of their ethnic, cultural, religious, geographical or political affiliation, by establishing good schools, and providing of shelter, scholarships and community centres where they can spend their free times positively. To mention but a few.
Table of Content
- 1.1 Background of the Study
- 1.2 Statement of the Problem
- 1.3 Objective of the Study
- 1.4 Research Questions
- 1.5 Research Hypothesis
- 1.6 Significance of the Study
- 1.7 Scope of the Study
- 1.8 Limitation of the Study
- 1.9 Definition of Terms
- 1.10 Organization of the Study
Review of Literature
- 2.1 Conceptual Framework
- 2.2 Theoretical Framework
- 2.3 Empirical Review
- 3.1 Research Design
- 3.2 Population of the Study
- 3.3 Sample Size Determination
- 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
- 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
- 3.6 Method of Data Collection
- 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
- 3.8 Validity of the Study
- 3.9 Reliability of the Study
- 3.10 Ethical Consideration
Data Presentation and Analysis
- 4.1 Data Presentation
- 4.2 Analysis of Data
- 4.3 Answering Research Questions
- 4.4 Test of Hypotheses
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
- 5.1 Summary
- 5.2 Conclusion
- 5.3 Recommendation
1.1 Background of the Study
Young people account for a large percentage of Nigeria’s population figure, representing an important and dynamic force in the Nigerian society. However, young people face many challenges in the Nigerian society, such as high rate of poverty and unemployment, illiteracy, lack of access to information, and essential welfare services, that are manifested in young people’s diminished hopes for the future. Some of the highest rates of violence, crime and high risk sexual behaviours of any age group are seen in the youth population, leading many to label the youths as a source of society’s problems rather than its potentials (Skogan, 1986). In recent years, almost all governments of countries of the world, including advanced countries have sought new approaches to harness the potential of young people and address the problems facing them. The concept of youth empowerment has gained increasing attention. Youth empowerment means involving young people in decision -making processes on issues that affect them, as well as entrusting them with the knowledge and skills necessary for them to effectively and meaningfully participate (Reiss, 1988).
According to Messner et al (1986), Curry and Spergel (1988), Bursik and Grasmik (1993), unmarried or divorced adults, teenagers, non- working adults, poor people, persons with criminal histories, especially males and single parents, have all been identified in the literature as the kind of people whose presence is associated with higher rates of violent crimes. Public policies contributing to the concentration of high risk people in certain neighbourhoods include the federally funded highway system that took low risk people out of urban neighbourhoods to the suburbs (Skogan, 1986). The suburbanization of both white middle- class people through highways, and black middle -class people through federal open-housing laws ( Wilson, 1987), helped tip the proportions of many inner -city communities towards the majority of persons or families at higher risk of crime. As long as those high- risk persons were in a minority, their low- risk neighbourhoods were able to exercise a community protective factor against violent crimes. When the high- risk families became a majority in many urban communities, a spiral of crime and the fear of crime led to further loss of middle- class residents and jobs. This, in turn, increased the concentration of unemployed and poor people, followed by further increases in crime (Schuerman and Kobrin, 1986; Wilson, 1996). The kinds of people who live in a community and the way in which they interact affect the risk of violent crime.
Children of single parents, for example, may be at greater risk of crime because of their family structure. But a community with a high percentage of single parent households may put all its children at greater risk of delinquency, by reducing the capacity of a community to maintain adult networks of informal control of children. There is greater difficulty of single- parent families in supervising young children with other unsupervised young children, since delinquency is well known to be a group phenomenon (Reiss, 1988). The empirical evidence for this risk factor is particularly strong, with violent victimization rates up to three times higher among neighbourhoods of high family disruption compared to low levels, regardless of other characteristics, such as poverty, The correlation between race and violent crime at the neighbourhood level disappears after controlling the percentage of female-headed households (Sampson and Lauristen, 1993). Due to oppositional culture arising from a lack of participation in mainstream economic and social life, bad becomes good and good becomes bad. Given the apparent rejection of community members by the larger society, the community members reject the values and aspirations of that society by developing an “opposition identity” (Cohen and Uphoff, 1977; Clark, 1965; Braithwaite, 1989; Massey and Denton, 1993). This is especially notable in terms of values that oppose the protective factors of marriage and family, education, work and obedience to the law. As inner-city labour force participation rates have declined and inner-city segregation has increased over the past three decades, the strength of the opposition has increased. Public policy has contributed to this, primarily by its historical support for segregation and its modern failure to prevent its inner-city concentration, both by race and gender (Massey and Denton, 1993). Youth empowerment in any development is imperative not only for national development but also because the transitional period from childhood to adulthood is unquestionably a challenge for many youths. There are serious social and economic consequences associated with not addressing the minority group of youths who are at the risk of negative circumstances – not only for the youth themselves and their families, but also for society at large. If the potential of these youths are not profitably harnessed and marshalled towards development, there is bound to be trouble (Ojikutu, 1998). This implies that all stakeholders in youth empowerment and development, including governments, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), religious organizations, parents, guardians, and elders have the responsibility to empower youths around them in order to jointly realize the national objective of socio-economic transformation of communities (Oladele, 2003).
A committed and determined effort is required on the part of all stakeholders in order to help youths achieve their potentiality and make them appropriate partners in the task of community and national development. However, the ability of any stakeholder to empower youths depends on the nature of the socio-political and economic environment prevalent in the state. They can impose serious constraints in terms of meeting the needs and aspirations of the youths (World Bank, 1994). According to Chigunta (2002), unless the crises in socio-economic factors, like employment, education, and other institutions, are addressed by the government, the crisis facing contemporary African youths and the communities where they live will remain unresolved and possibly worsen. In the same vein, Schueman and Kobrin (1986), state that the socio-economic situations of young people determine the prospects of empowering or creating additional livelihood opportunities for them. Consequently, this will determine the level of their participation in community development. To develop and empower youths for community development participation, the government and other stakeholders (e.g. NGO’s) must coordinate and organize youth empowerment programmes aimed at integrating them (the youths) into the crucial task of community development. The implementation, effectiveness, and impact of these programmes are affected by a number of socio-economic factors ranging from micro factors, like family background, to macro factors, like state of the national economy (World Bank, 1994). In other words, socio-economic factors can be accepted as those factors within an individual’s environment which affects his total well-being and which the individual has little or no control over. Socio-economic factors are external forces within the society which determine the outcome of people’s lives (World Bank, 1994). They can be risk factors which increase the likelihood of experiencing negative outcomes, for example high crime and violence neighbourhoods (Sampson and Lauristen,1993); and they can be protective factors which increase the likelihood of experiencing positive outcomes, for example caring family (Blum, 2003).
Socio-economic factors can hinder or enhance youth empowerment in development programmes at all levels. They affect youth participation in agricultural activities, and information and communication technology. Socio-economic factors determine the extent to which youths can partake in developing their communities through cultural activities. They constitute the framework that determines the general outcome of youth behaviours and their influence on the society at large (World Bank, 1994). Most of the socio-economic factors that affect the empowerment of youths in development programmes are infrastructural facilities, working capital, and standard of education, policy reversals, and systems of taxation, systematic corruption, and violence. They also include mass media, state of the national economy, nature of public institutions, cultural and historical background, gender perceptions/values, family background, social networks and supports, and community structures (Chigunta, 2002). However, from the social work perspective, the empowerment of the youth for community development approach enables practitioners to investigate reality with the poor that is the working poor, the physically and mentally challenged, and the youth, to help them confront the obstacle imposed by class, race, and differences in order to reduce crime in the society. Thus, the synthesis of a wide range of theories and skills is needed for effective integration, actively involving the target population for empowerment at all levels of decision making, in this context, the youth (Akinyemi, 1990). Stakeholders of youth empowerment would need to appraise the situation of the youths in planning intervention programmes to address developmental needs at the community level, but the implementation, effectiveness, and outcome/impact of these progammes on youths are determined by the socio-economic factors inherent in the community.
The socio-economic factors in the macro environment represent the “distal contexts of youth” (Ajana, 2004), which is the youth’s macro environment or context that is detached from him or her. These factors include the state of the national economy, poverty and inequality levels, the institutional framework, public institutions, policy and legal frameworks, political realities, the cultural and historical background, the media, gender (values, behavioural norms, and customs), and social exclusion. They can act as risk or protective factors in youth and community development (World Bank, 1994). Communities with very high rates of youth violence are places in which there are high concentrations of criminogenic commodities (Cook, 1991). Both alcohol and drug use are highly correlated with violent crime at the situational level of analysis (Schuerman and Kobrin 1986; Miezek et al, 1993), and gun use in crime generally causes greater risk of homicide (Cook, 1991; Reiss and Roth, 1993). Another evidence suggests that high crime communities appear to have very high concentrations of locations selling alcohol and drugs (Massey and Denton, 1993; Bursik and Grasmik, 1993). Youth suffering from poverty have higher rate of juvenile delinquency, crime records and their proximity to drug and alcohol abuse is equally high. A lot of them who are neither having education (formal or informal) nor working, due to lack of fund or lack of adequate skills, get involved in various criminal activities, like stealing, pick- pocketing, raping, robbery, kidnapping, ritual killing etc (Reiss, A.J. Jr. and Roth, G. (1993). They usually live in bad neighbourhoods where positive role models are either non- existent or out of reach.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The economic hardship experienced in our society has made poverty and malnutrition to deeply penetrate the youth (one of the most vulnerable groups in any society). They lack almost all the basic things needed for a standard living, such as meaningful employment, balanced diet, good health care services, clothing, affordable education etc. When youth are passing through terrible experiences, such as low self -esteem, depression and other mental health issues, increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, homelessness, unsafe environments and lack of participation in decision making with little or no concern on the part of the government, there is tendency for high rate of crime. Youths are disproportionately susceptible to poverty in comparison with other age groups primarily because of the fluid nature of the challenges and opportunities they face during transition to adulthood, particularly in relation to the labour market. This study, therefore, examined youth empowerment as a strategy of reducing crime in the society. This present study was conducted with the broad objective of identifying and exposing youth empowerment as a strategy of reducing crime in the society. The specific objectives include: to examine the availability of employment opportunities available to the youth; to assess ways of increasing the capacity building of youths; to determine how social exclusion of the youth in our society can be discouraged.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The study generally focus on the examination of youth employment and crime reduction in Nigeria using youths in Ikorodu Lagos State as a case study.
The study will specifically assess the objectives below;
- Find out the extent youths carry out criminal activities in Ikorodu Lagos State.
- Ascertain whether youth empowerment will significantly influence youth’s attitude towards crime involvement.
- Find out whether youth employment will contribute to poverty reduction among the youths.
- Find out whether youth employment will contribute positively to crime reduction in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions
The study will be guided by the following questions;
- What extent does youths carry out criminal activities in Ikorodu Lagos State?
- Will youth empowerment significantly influence youth’s attitude towards crime involvement?
- Will youth employment contribute to poverty reduction among the youths?
- Will youth employment contribute positively to crime reduction in Nigeria?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
H0: Youth employment do not contribute positively to crime reduction in Nigeria.
Ha: Youth employment contribute positively to crime reduction in Nigeria.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study proffers the essence of youth empowerment as measure to eradicating crime in Nigeria. Also, the study will in detail unveil the factors which has contributed to youths involvement in criminal acts.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study borders on the examination of youth employment and crime reduction in Nigeria. The research will be carried out in Ikorodu Lagos State.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
Like in every human endeavour, the researcher encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. More so, the researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues. However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Youth Empowerment Defined
Youth empowerment involve build the capacity of young people and motivating them to take responsibility of their lives .This is done through the process of improving their access to resources that will help in changing their lives, beliefs, values, and attitudes Youth empowerment is carried out to improve the quality of lives of the youth.
Crime is any unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority .The act is considered a criminal offence when it is not only harmful to the individuals but to the society or community such as rape, robbery, murder, theft, vandalism, kidnapping etc. Criminal offenses are is defined by criminal law of every country
1.10 Organisations of the Study
The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, and selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.
Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:
This chapter summarizes the findings on the examination of youth employment and crime reduction in Nigeria using youths in Ikorodu Lagos State as a case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.
5.2 Summary of the Study
In this study, our focus was on the examination of youth employment and crime reduction in Nigeria using youths in Ikorodu Lagos State as a case study. The study is was specifically set to find out the extent youths carry out criminal activities in Ikorodu Lagos State, ascertain whether youth empowerment will significantly influence youth’s attitude towards crime involvement, find out whether youth employment will contribute to poverty reduction among the youths, and find out whether youth employment will contribute positively to crime reduction in Nigeria.
The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 141 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are youths resident in Ikorodu Lagos State.
In the light of the analysis carried out, the following conclusions were drawn.
- The extent youths carry out criminal activities in Ikorodu Lagos State is high.
- Youth empowerment will significantly influence youth’s attitude towards crime involvement.
- Youth employment will contribute to poverty reduction among the youths.
- Youth employment will contribute positively to crime reduction in Nigeria.
Based on the responses obtained, the researcher proffers the following recommendations:
- The act of making decision and the act of caring youths along to work together for a common purpose denotes a significant relationship to youth empowerment as a strategy for reducing crime in the society.
- The government should reach out to the youth, regardless of their ethnic, cultural, religious, geographical or political affiliation, by establishing good schools, and providing of shelter, scholarships and community centres where they can spend their free times positively.
- The government’s empowerment programmes should be restructured, or re-designed, and should be centred on the “participatory approach”. This approach emphasizes the importance of involving the beneficiaries in all stages of the programme.
- There should be greater investment on the human capital investment of youths. This implies that improvement in education, health and nutrition, employment opportunities, shelter and social services, directly address the most important problem of poverty and reduces crime among the youth.
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