STRATEGIES FOR CURBING SOCIETAL UNREST (A CASE STUDY OF YOUTH RESTIVENESS IN ALIMOSHO AREA OF LAGOS STATE)

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      Background to the Study

Alimosho is considered the biggest and the most populous local government area in Nigeria. In fact, it is the biggest divisions in the state, hence a recent appeal by some residents of the area for more and rapid security beef up. The fact that it is fast developing also makes it a sought after area for those who are willing to start up lives in the area. Because of its populated consideration the youths in the area find themselves in all sort of unruly behaviours which is definitely causing social and economic restiveness in the state.

Restiveness is now the order of the day among youths and has become one of the global phenomenon and those in Nigeria has been increasing rapidly day by day. Since last decade and more there has been a proliferation of unrivalled violence, the cases of kidnapping, abduction and wanton destruction of valuable infrastructures as well as lives and personal properties. These are mostly the activities of youth that are obviously antisocial coupled with enforced desire of outcome from the constituted authority. Igbo and Ikpa (2013) lamented that this negative development is unfortunate and has become one of the security challenges facing the Nigerian society. These are as a result of poverty, unemployment and lack of access to education among others that are responsible for this high level of insecurity brought about by youth restiveness in the form of becoming area boys and girls, cybercrime, joining secret societies and thereby killing of innocent people. The phenomenon of insecurity has become one of the major concerns of the citizen in Nigeria and particularly Alimosho area of Lagos State, Borno, Niger, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano and Yobe states respectively.

Several factors can be traced to be the root causes of youth restiveness. Chukwuemeka (2008) explained that here was an increase in composite unemployment in Nigeria from 3.8% in 2006 to 4.2% in the first half of 2011. He further asserted that structural unemployment results in talents not being used where they are available, hence idle mind is definitely the devil’s workshop. Similarly, Coleman (1996) observed that the more widespread and intense deprivation is among members of a population, the greater is the magnitude of violence in one form or the other. In the foregoing therefore, one can argue that the unequal socio-economic development of the various ethnic groups in Nigeria led to inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic conflicts. For instance, Chukwuemeka, Anazodo and Nzewi (2011) found that dissatisfaction of the people of South-South especially the youths on the level of attention given to development of their region and the damages to their ecology by oil spillage are the major causes of the alarming rate of youth restiveness.

Today the residents of Alimosho area have been living in a state of total panic and unrest as a result of youth restiveness ranging from reprisal attacks by cult members, kidnapping, killing, armed robbery. Instead what we are confronted with is total lawlessness or anarchy. In Lagos too the youth wing of the Odu'a People's Congress has been credited with several killings at various locations in the city at various times. We are all familiar with the violent exploits of the "Area Boys" who command the streets of our major cities, harassing, extorting and terrorizing members of the public. Thus it appears that through all the years of debauchery, when the military held reign, an incalculable damage has been done to the psyche of the Nigerian youth. They no longer seem to be able to distinguish between good and bad, between virtue and vice, and between right and wrong. They seem to have lost faith in the adult society, in the leadership and even in their parents and teachers.

How can you demonstrate to our young people that human life is not cheap, expendable and disposable when (in the absence of a truly functional film censorship body) even the youngest and the most vulnerable among them are exposed to the most outrageous celebration of violence on TV by way of home videos? How can they accept the rule of law and respect the rights and freedoms of their neighbours, when everyday they watch innocent people humiliated, tortured and eliminated, while the culprits who are often well connected, go scot-free? How can our young people be made to value human life and respect the rights and dignity of persons when their leaders and elders have demonstrated to them that wealth and power are the ultimate values, when these leaders and elders would stop at nothing in the pursuit of these values, when they would blackmail, kidnap, torture or even eliminate anyone who may be on their way to the acquisition of maximum wealth and power. How can they accept that secret cults are bad when they observe that access to wealth and position is often guaranteed and safe passage through the corridors of power is often secured through one's enlistment in one of such adult cults as the Ogboni Confraternity or the Rosicrucian? These are the questions that need immediate answers.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Youth all over the world are an important segment of the society in which they live. Youths who are determined to succeed, disciplined, focused, and law-abiding can create a bright future for a nation. On the other hand, lawless, indulgent, and violent youths are a great threat to national peace and security. Unfortunately, recent media reports and personal observations indicates cases of armed conflicts, killings, cult clashes, ritual killings, wanton destruction of lives and properties kidnappings, lootings, pipeline destructions among others in most Nigerian States. The issue of insecurity in the country is uppermost concern to the Nigerian government and religious leaders. Several times, we have seen cases of Federal and State legislators being killed in cold blood in the country. Churches have been bombed in the Northern parts of the country. Mosques have also suffered similar fate in states like Borno and Kano and therefore making it impossible for one to categorise restiveness as religious. One wonders who the perpetrators of these evil acts are. Security reports show that most of those involved in these acts.

Similarly, Unemployment is a hydra-headed monster which exists among the youth in all developing countries. The last time the unemployment rate in Nigeria was adequately documented and reported was at 23.9 percent in 2011. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has put the figure of unemployed Nigerians in the first half of the year at 23.9 per cent, up from 21.1 per cent in 2010 and 19.7 per cent in 2009. The National Population Commission (NPC) has said the country’s population has risen from the 140,431,790 it was five years ago when the last national headcount was taken, to 167,912,561 as at October 2011. This represents an annual population growth rate of 5.6 million people. The problem that is facing the nation is how youth restiveness can be curbed in Nigeria. It is on this basis that this study seeks to examine strategies for curbing societal unrest by using youth restiveness in Alimosho area of Lagos State, Nigeria as a case study.

1.3   Research Questions

This research will be carried out to answer the following research questions:

i)              What are the reasons for youth restiveness in the Alimosho area of Lagos State, Nigeria?

ii)            What are the effects of youth restiveness on national security in Nigeria?

iii)          What are the strategies adopted by the government in curbing youth restiveness in Alimosho area of Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole?

1.4   Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to examine strategies for curbing societal unrest by using youth restiveness in Alimosho area of Lagos State, Nigeria as a case study. However, the specific objectives of the study are:

i)              To understand the reasons for youth restiveness in the Alimosho area of Lagos State, Nigeria.

ii)            To study the effects of youth restiveness on national security in Nigeria.

iii)          To determine the strategies adopted by the government in curbing youth restiveness in Alimosho area of Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole.

1.5   Research Hypotheses    

The research hypotheses to be tested include:

i)              There is no significant relationship between youth restiveness and unemployment.

ii)            There is no significant correlation between national security and economic growth in the country.

iii)          There no significant correlation between youth restiveness and education.

1.6   Significance of the Study

This study examines strategies for curbing societal unrest by using youth restiveness in Alimosho area of Lagos State, Nigeria as a case study. Findings from this study will be beneficial to the Youths, Government and all concerned Nigerians to know and understand the functions of government to its citizens in the area of maintenance of law and order and the protection of life and property against external and even internal attacks. It will enlighten the government to understand the demands and importance of the youths in the country and thereby enabling them to engage the youths through a scheme called Youth Empowerment Programme. This will make them to more engage and have something doing and make better use of their lives as they say ‘an idle hand is the devil’s workshop.’

It will also serve as a foundation upon which further research can be made. It will therefore contribute to body of knowledge in the area of national security.

1.7   Scope of the Study

This study investigates strategies for curbing societal unrest by using youth restiveness in Alimosho area of Lagos State, Nigeria as a case study. For the purpose of reliability and validity, therefore the respondents to be covered will be residents of Ikotun, Idimu, Isheri, Egbeda, Iyana Ipaja, Abesan Ipaja, Aboru Ipaja, Abule Egba and Alagbado.

 

 

1.8   Limitation of the study

The study will be faced with a lot of challenges and one is the problem of finance. There is nothing like research grant to aid self-sponsored study. Consequently, there is not going to be enough funds to print questionnaires and to also transport the researcher to meet the desired respondents. Another one is time; the researcher is currently busy with the demand of his academics. A lot of assignments are available for the researcher to do and coupled with his desire to read and learn at the same time. These are the major challenges of this study.

1.9   Definitions of Terms

The following terms were used in the course of this study:

Government: This refers to an institution vested with the supreme power to make and enforce law within a state.

State: An organized political community having supreme authority over the people in a given territory.

National security:  is a concept that a government, along with its parliaments, should protect the state and its citizens against all kind of "national" crises through a variety of power projections, such as political power, diplomacy, economic power, military might, and so on.

Youth restiveness: a sustained protestation embarked upon to enforce desired outcome from a constituted authority by an organized body of youths.” It is marked by violence and disruption of lawful activities.

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