(ISSN: 2276 - 6928) Vol.2(5) pp. 315-321 Sept. 2012
Available online http://www.ajsih.org
©2012 American Journal of Social Issues & Humanities
Rising Youth Unemployment and Violent Crime in Nigeria
Okechukwu Odinaka Ajaegbu
Department of Sociology
University of Ibadan
Violent crimes such as murder, armed robbery, kidnapping and terrorism are the most inhumane crimes that continue to plague Nigeria. Lately, kidnappings for ransom and terrorism have taken the centre stage leading to bloodshed and economic set -backs. The causes are not farfetched as studies have associated rising youth unemployment to the increase in violent crimes. By using the deprivation theory proposed by Ted Gurr, this study has explored the proximate and ultimate causes involving the youths in violent crimes. If factors that create the feeling of deprivation and frustration created by unemployment are addressed, Nigeria‟s youths will not engage in violent crimes.
Keywords: Youth; unemployment; poverty; violence; crime
Creativity and high energy are the characteristics of young people in any nation and if the energy is channelled positively, it will greatly benefit not only the economic prosperity of nations but also enhance the moral values of the youth. When the same energy is used negatively, it will lead to social unrest and economic instability. Labour force of a country is used to measure unemployment and Feyisetan (1991) defines as a set of people or citizens of a country who are willing and are able to make available at any given point in time their efforts for gainful employment. Therefore unemployment is a situation where people are willing to work but could not find employment. According to the International Labour Organization people who are without work but available for and seekin g work; including those who have lost jobs and those who have voluntarily left jobs (World Bank, 1998). On the other hand, violent crime is defined as a crime in which the offender uses or threatens to use violent force upon the victim. This entails violence including robbery with and without arms (Wikipedia, 2010).
Global unemployment remained stable at 8% between 2010 and 2011, according to Gallup surveys of 148 countries. Unemployment was highest in the Middle East and North Africa (22%) and sub-Saharan Africa 17% (Marlar, 2012). However, Nigeria‟s unemployment rate is above the sub-region‟s average that increased to 23.9% in 2011 compared with 21.1% in 2010 and 19.7% in 2009 (National Bureau of Statistics, 2012); and is projected to hit 25% by the end of 2012 (USA Embassy in Nigeria, 2012).
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (2009:238; 2010:2; 2012), the national unemployment rates for Nigeria between 2000 and 2011 showed that the number of unemployed persons constituted 31.1% in 2000 and it reduced to 11.9% in 2005 but again increased to 23.9% in 2011. Nigeria has a youth population of 80 million, representing 60% of the total population with a growth rate of 2.6% per year and the national demography suggests that the youth
315 | A j a e g b u
©AJSIH Vol.2 No.5. (September 2012) 315-321
American Journal of Social Issues & Humanities Vol.2 No.5. (September 2012)
population remains vibrant with an average annual entrant to the labour force is 1.8m between 2006 and 2011. Yet, majority of the youth has been either unemployed or under -employed between 2006 and 2011. The overall unemployment rose from 12.3% of Labour force to 23.9% (Awogbenle and Iwuamadi, 2010). A surge in unemployment was witnessed in 2009 due to global/local economic meltdown. The World Bank estimates that 74 million people between the ages of 15 and 24 are unemployed, which accounts for 41% of all unemployed person s (UNHabitat, 2008). From 1990-2000 youth unemployment data showed that the largest group of the...