This study explored the influence of area boys on behavioural disorder among adolescents of Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State. Descriptive research survey design was employed for the assessment of the opinions of the selected respondents, with the adoption of questionnaire. Three hundred representatives were selected in this study, to represent the entire population of the study. Three null hypotheses were formulated and tested with the application of the independent t-test statistical tool at 0.05 level of significance. The result showed that:

(1)    A significant difference exists between the activities of the area boys and the level of adolescents’ study habits.

(2)    A significant difference exists between area boys’ activities and their desires to watch pornographic film.

(3)    There is a significant difference between the activities of the area boys and the degree of their moral values in the community.

All the hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. Based on the results obtained in this study, it is recommended that Government should look into the activities of the area boys and girls in Nigeria, particularly, in Shomolu Local Government Area. It is important to note that most of the area boys are graduates, and some of them are professionals. Therefore, both the states and federal governments should ensure that these men and women are carefully catered for, by way of employing them and keeping them busy, because an idle hand or mind, they say, is the devil’s workshop. So, they should be rehabilitated for them to change and turn a new leaf.



Title Page                                                                          i

Certification                                                                        ii

Dedication                                                                          iii

Acknowledgements                                                              iv

Abstract                                                                             v

Table of Contents                                                                vi


CHAPTER ONE                                                                  1

1.1        Background to the Study                                              1

1.2    Statement of the Problem                                             8

1.3    Purpose of the Study                                                   9

1.4    Research Questions                                                     9

1.5    Hypotheses                                                                10

1.6    Significance of the Study                                              11

1.7    Scope of the Study                                                      12

1.8    Definition of Terms                                                      12



2.1    Introduction                                                               13

2.2    The Street Children of Nigeria                                       13

2.3    Decoding the Chaos of Lagos                                        23

2.4    Wikipedia                                                                   24

2.5    The Fear of Area Boys                                                 28

2.6   Area Boys – a growing menace on the Streets of Lagos      33

2.7    Causes and Solutions to Youth Violence in Nigeria            44

CHAPTER THREE:    Methodology                                    48

3.1    Research Design                                                         48

3.2    Population of the Study                                                48

3.3    Sample and Sampling Technique                                   48

3.4    Instrument                                                                49

3.5    Validity of the Instrument                                             50

3.6    Reliability of the Instrument                                         50

3.7    Procedure for Data Collection                                        51

3.8    Data Analysis                                                              51


CHAPTER FOUR:      RESULTS                                          52

4.1    Hypotheses Testing                                                     52

4.2    Summary of Findings                                                   55


CHAPTER FIVE:        Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations                         56

5.1    Summary of the Study                                                 56

5.2    Conclusions                                                                57

5.3    Recommendations                                                      58


        References                                                                60

Appendices                                                                63




1.1                           Background to the Study

Lagos city is a meeting point of different ethnic groups from various parts of the country as well as people from other parts of the world. This city as in most cities of developing countries, has the existence of a wide divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ which gave birth to a situation of apparent existence of affluence and poverty. The city also prides itself with the abundance of different sub-cultural groups in the state. One of such sub-cultural groups is the phenomenon of ‘Area Boys’ sub-cultural group, whose activities to some extent constitutes social problems to all and sundry in the state. Lagos today, is one of such urban centres where this culture is predominant and, it seems to be assuming a dangerous proportion.

In the past, especially during the 1960s, one would agree that it is a matter of pride to be called a Lagos boy, ‘Omo Eko’. It can be said, also, that it is a matter of pride to be known as a boy from a particular area of the city such as Isale Eko, Campus Square, Idumagba, Olowogbowo, Isale Ofin and Lafiaji. Hence it was common then to see people being identified with their areas of residence. This type of identification gave momentum to a sense of belongingness, which encouraged competition in all walks of life, particularly imports and commercial activities. However, all  these may not suggest that every boy or girl in Lagos then was well behaved or good mannered. There were pockets of juvenile delinquents regarded  as “the do nothing” who were involved in petty theft and other various juvenile crimes.

The youths who indulge in petty theft and other various delinquent behaviour were known as ‘Jaguda’. Hence, whosoever was classified as ‘do nothing’ or involve in stealing was called ‘Jaguda-Eko’. This made Sonowo (2003) to note that in Lagos today, this era of pride and respectability is gone and has been replaced with that of fear, chaos, violence and anarchy caused by another generation of Lagos boys”.

From the sayings of Sonowo (2003) above, one can say that the emergence of “Area Boys” started with the reality of ‘Jaguda’ – Eko notion in Lagos Island.

The word “Area Boys” connotes a youth characterized by social unrest. The term has generated lots of concern by the adults society and every responsible citizen.

A careful search into the dictionary to find the closet words that can best describe “Area Boys” is the word ‘miscreant’ meaning a person who has done something wrong or illegal.

The United Nations report best explains ‘Area Boys’. A growing menace on the Streets of Lagos. A group of armed Street Children on the rampage on the streets of Lagos harassing motorists and pedestrians and extorting money from them (UN 14 July, 2005).

‘Area Boys’ are people who are likely to indulge in negative issues like:

-      Crime as a way of life and means of livelihood.

-      taking of drug and peddling it.

-      Homosexuality (male)

-      Prostituing (female)

-      Thuggery

-      Assassination etc.

A critical analysis of the social character of adolescents and youths may support the view that it was greatly affected by alienation from the wider society as a result of which they were more prone to expression of violence in the face of economic hardship. The fact that the adolescent and youths  generally were severely affected by failure of the educational system, unemployment, a weak relationship with family and community life occasioned by breakdown of the traditional family structure and the collapse of the traditional mechanisms for social mobility and social conflicts resolutions to some extent, made them to be mostly isolated from the society which they were familiar with, yet, could hardly be part of it. These perceived problems, which are common in urban centres in Nigeria have to some reasonable extent, created a situation where children are found on the streets without adequate parental supervision and subjected to its various temptations, that form the veritable workshop for criminal apprenticeship.

The adolescent children between the ages of twelve and eighteen represents the future of any society. They need a lot of investing in, moral wise, educationally and all the positives concerning man moulding qualities. It is a very vulnerable age. Vulnerable in the sense that it is susceptible. The adolescent is in the age of adventure. He is ready to explore anything he sees from the immediate environment.

One of the pet names for ‘Area Boys’ is ‘Alaye’. A kid with the title ‘Alaye’ automatically gain the respect of his colleagues, soon that ‘Alaye’ kid will go beyond the adoption of the notorious pet name to begin, the very acts of ‘Alaye’ in his immediate environment.

On environmental sanitation days, he leads others to block the street road with planks and benches borrowed from the ever present stalls and shops around and begin to beg for money. it starts like that, later, they will become hostile to the motorists that refuse to comply.

Again, the “Area Boys” syndrome is like a breast cancer in the immediate environment. It is eating up every jobless youth and every child is a likely candidate, especially, the homeless child.

Adolescence is a period of storm and stress, of transition between childhood and adulthood, of confusion and conflict both for himself, his parents, his peers and the society in general. As a result of many physical, social and economic changes taking place in the adolescent’s environment, he is bound to have conflicting ideas, values, and beliefs about himself.

Akinboye (1984) noted that the physiological and psychological changes are often either intimately or remotely related to many of the situations which create behavioural problem in the adolescent such as peer group influences, delinquent behaviour, sexual, moral and ethical concerns.

From the views of Akinboye (1984) above, it can be said that an adolescent can resist or accept the negative situation seen around his environment. one of such situation is the violent and intimidating traits of ‘Area Boys’. Adolescents often revolt against all imposed truth and authority of the adult because to them life is idealistic. Their revolts hinge on the development of morals and values. It is believed, to some extent, that the development of moral values during adolescence is closely related to the adolescent’s environmental experience in which the ‘Area-Boys’ have domineering influence. Based on the fore goings in this background to the study, it is reasoned that the phenomenon of ‘Area Boys’ have attained alarming proportion. These gangs of youths constitutes urban nuisance and criminal menace. They have been of increasing public concern and posed the worst challenge to the rule of law in Lagos thereby making the city to acquire the notoriety of the country’s epicenter of social unrest. Thus, it is in line with this perceived reality that this study tries to investigate the influence of “Area – Boys” activities on the behaviour of adolescents in the society.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

The reality of “Area Boys” in the country comes with its attendant shortcomings. Adolescents in the society have come to accept the norms and values held by the “Area-Boys”, sadly, these adolescents are ones that will later become the future leaders. This negative behaviour exhibited by the adolescents is carried on to the adulthood. Thus, the occurrence of physical assaults by the leaders of virtually all the legislative arms of government in the country, other misdeamenour are displayed by the leaders of the country and this has earned the nation a negative image at home and abroad.

The “Area Boys” concept is gradually assuming a national prominence and this calls for a thorough study to understand the circumstance that necessitates its emergence and acceptance by the writer populace, especially, the adolescents in the society.




1.3   Purpose of the Study

The objectives of this study were to:

(1)        Investigate the influence of “Area-Boys” on the level of study habit exhibited by the adolescents.

(2)        find out the influence of “Area-Boys” on the degree of their moral values displayed in the community.

(3)        Examine the influence of “Area-Boys” on the level of their desire to watch pornographic films.

1.4   Research Questions

The questions that were asked and which answers are sought for, in this study are:

(1)        Will there be any significant influence of the “Area-Boys” on the level of study habit exhibited by the adolescent?




(2)        Can there be any significant influence of the activities of the “Area-Boys” on the degree of their moral values?

(3)        Will there be any significant influence of the activities of the “Area-Boys” on their desire for pornographic films?

1.5   Hypotheses

The hypotheses so generated in this study were:

(1)        There will be no significant difference between the activities of the area boys and the level of study habit exhibited by the adolescents in school.

(2)        There will be no significant difference between the activities of the area boys and the adolescents degree of moral values.

(3)    There will be no significant difference between the activities of the area boys and the level of their desires for pornographic films.


1.6   Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will be of great benefits to:

(1)        The Federal and State Ministry of Information and Communication. It will afford the Ministry, the opportunity of understanding the need to re-absorb the  “Area-Boys” into the main stream society, so as to reduce the effect of the “Area-Boys” on the citizens, especially the adolescent youths who are the strength of the society.

(2)        The Federal and State Ministry of Youth and Sport will see this study a veritable instrument in solving the problem of area boys in Lagos State.

(3)        Private and Corporate Organisations interested in having more insight into how to provide social responsibility initiatives will find this work resourceful.



1.7   Scope of the Study

This study looked into the activities of the “Area-Boys” in Shomolu Local Government Area, Lagos State and its influence on the behaviour of the adolescent.

1.8   Definition of Terms

“Area-Boys” Group of young criminals who terrorize their neighbourhood and engages in violent criminal activities within Lagos Metropolis.

“Alaye” Owner of the world and one in charge of Lagos environs.

“Influence” The effect that somebody or something has on the way a person thinks or behaves.

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