BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Criminality or criminal activity is part and parcel of human nature and society. That is why no society can claim to be completely crime free. But the types of criminal behaviour tend to follow the pattern of social and economic development of every given society or community. It is therefore not unexpected that a society at a low level of development tends to experience an upsurge in the rate of violent crimes such as armed robber, politically motivated killings, the use of illegal weapons, ethnic and religious clashes and the like (Ohijini 2005). Crime causes loss of live and property as well as overwhelming fear of insecurity in the society. These have serious implications for democracy, economic development, social development, capital development and associational life generally. Individual and societal aspirations for democracy, development, human rights, high standard of living are negatively influenced by high level of crime in the society. Increase in violent crime and delinquency like kidnapping amongst others are common features of countries in transition. Countries that have invested more in social crime prevention and in finding peaceful solutions to their political problems through transparent processes appear to have managed rise in criminal activities when compared to their contemporaries. (Shaw 2001; Shearing & Kempa 2001 in Etannibi and Chukwuma, 2005).
The Nigerian experience as regards crime cannot be different. The country has overtime witnessed perceived and real increase in violent crime and disorder like kidnapping, armed ribbery, insurgency and a host of others, so much so that safety and security issues ranked very high among citizens priority concerns. Increasing incidence of kidnap led to a paralyzing fear which in turn affected economic and social life in the country. As a result of the growing rates and severity of criminal activities successive governments in the country since the early 1980s introduced diverse crime control measures, but without much success. Following the introduction of Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) from 1984, the country started experiencing a serious contraction in the labour market. This resulted in a large proportion of youths, searching for jobs under the prevailing harsh economic conditions. The presence of this enormous pool of idle youths, who are both skilled and unskilled and sometimes homeless, created a fertile ground for criminal activities activities like kidnap. This culminated in an increase in crime of different types, including kidnapping.
STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
Nigerians will agree that crime rates and insecurity in the country are very high overtime, the country has experienced a geometrical rise in crime. Among all the crime and attendant vices such as Kidnapping, smuggling of contrabands, especially firearms, counterfeiting, money-laundering, armed robberies, human trafficking; Kidnapping have become sources of concern for the Nigerian government as it has negatively affected the rate of investment into the country thus negatively affecting foreign direct investment. Incidents of high profile crime and kidnapping and politically motivated killings have lately compounded the complexity of the crime situation in the country. The South East and south south geo political zone of the country appears to be the worst hit in terms of kidnappings. Newswatch Magazine (July 5, 2010) in its editorial described the south east and south south zones as a no-go area because of violent crimes which include kidnapping. Scroll Magazine (July 5, 2010) in its cover page story stated that the region has become a goldmine for hoodlums and criminal elements who have mastered the art of 5 abducting innocent individuals including children for huge ransoms. Newswatch Magazine (July 5, 2010) in its editorial went further to state that all these have created one huge spectra of crime and criminality out of a region where people are known for hard work and living peaceful lives. On the recent kidnap of four journalists in Abia State on the 11th of July 2010 and the state of insecurity in the country. Agbese, Dan (2010) succinctly puts it this way. “To state the uncomfortable and the obvious: we are all prisoners and potential victims of armed robbers and kidnappers. We live in cages surrounded by high walls and iron gates. We travel on our roads with two eyes in front and two at the back of our heads. The rich protect themselves with armoured vehicles and armed policemen or private security men. Our hearts are permanently in our mouths because whatever individual precautions we may take, we are collectively unprotected down the length and breadth of the country” The government is on the verge of failing to uphold the sacred constitutional duty to protect the lives and property of the citizens. The increasing rise in crime wave around the country could undermine the current drive by the Federal Government to achieve the Vision 20 – 20 and the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015 if not checked.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of this study is to examine crime and public safety in Nigeria. Other general objectives of the study are;
H0: Crime does not have a significant effect on public safety in Nigeria.
H1: Crime has a significant effect on public safety in Nigeria.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be useful to law enforcement agencies It will bring to the fore the causes, most prevalent form of crime, problems in fighting crime as well as possible solutions. This will help the law enforcement agencies in laying strong foundations in combating crime in the country. This study will provide information on the depth of criminal activities and enable the government to know the need to ensure security 8 to its citizens. It will create awareness on those barriers militating against proper security of lives and properties in major cities. The government will see the need to properly equip the security agencies and the need to provide incentives for the personnel for instance through seminars/workshops, regular in-service training, regular promotions and payment of salaries. This will add to the body of knowledge on causes as well as trends in criminal activities in urban areas and will serve as a guide to other researchers who may have interest in crime study.
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study is restricted to crime and public safety in Nigeria with special emphasis on kidnapping in kogi state Nigeria.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
Agbase D. (2010), “Onovo’s Challenge” Newswatch Magazine, July 26.
Etannibi E. O. and Chukwuma I. C. (2005), Crime and Policing in Nigeria: Challenges and Options. Lagos: Cleen Foundaion Monograph Series, No. 2.1.
Newswatch Magazine, (2010), “Paralysis, Violent Crimes Ground South East” July 5.
Olujinmi, A. (2005) “Keynote Address” in the National summit on Crime and Policing in Nigeria: Challenges and options, Lags: Network on Police Reforms in Nigeria.
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