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10 Problems of Juvenile Delinquency in Nigeria and Possible Solutions

The law defines a juvenile delinquent as a child or young person who has violated the ” children and young persons law ” or the criminal code.

Juvenile: This refers to a person who has attained the age of 14 but is under 17 years. That is a young person who is not yet an adult (Oxford English Dictionary).

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Delinquent: It is a person who deviates from or violated the stipulated law that guides code of conduct of a particular country or society.

Read Also: 8 Ways to Prevent Crimes in Nigeria

10 Problems of Juvenile Delinquency in Nigeria and Possible Solutions
Juvenile Delinquencies in Nigeria – Photo Source: http://punchng.com

The Nigerian constitution of 1979 defines juvenile delinquency as “a crime committed by a young person under the age of 18 years as a result of trying to comply with the wishes of his peers or to escape from parental pressure or certain emotional stimulation’.

Before a youth in Nigeria is classified a delinquent, s/he must have been arraigned before a juvenile court and proved to be guilty of some offenses.

Problems of Juvenile Delinquency In Nigeria

Juvenile delinquency is seen as one of the menace that destroys life and property in our society today. Because of the nature of crime committed by juveniles, parents, guidance, sponsors and well wishers are worried and disturbed about our future leaders.

Crime associated with juvenile include: rape, stealing, kleptomania, burglary, disobedience, homicide, habitual truancy, drug addiction, prostitution, cultism, armed robbery etc.

1. Burglary

It is defined as a crime of breaking and entering a building illegally with the purpose of stealing things from it. Taking something from a person’s shop/store, etc. without permission and without intending to return it or pay for it.

2. Armed Robbery

It is defined as a crime of stealing money or goods from a bank, shop/store, person etc especially using violence or threat. It also involves the use of arms or weapons to instill fear and force victims to unwillingly submit their money and goods.

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3. Rape

This is simply a crime of forcing somebody to have sex with him/her especially using threat or violence. It means having carnal knowledge of a person without his or her consent.

4. Homicide

This simply means a crime of killing somebody deliberately.

5. Truancy

This simply means a practice of staying away from school or habitually skipping classes without permission.

6. Disobedience

This is defined as a failure or refusing to do what a person, law, order etc. tells.

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7. Kleptomania

It is simply a mental illness in which somebody has a strong desire, which they cannot control in stealing things. It is common among juvenile.

8. Drug abuse

It is literally the abuse of drug substances. Or taking drugs that either illegal, banned, not prescribed by a medical practitioner or over using the drugs in order to achieve personal pleasure.

9. Juvenile delinquency has also contributed to the bad image of our country (Nigeria). For the fact that most of the delinquent want to get rich quick, corruption and ritual killings has become the order of the day in coming to our political sphere, they have turn politics into a do or die affair where thuggery and fighting is the norm. This has made politics in our country (Nigeria) a dangerous venture.

10. Destruction of lives and properties: Juveniles, either through bad associations, drug abuse, peer pressure, or psychological problems destroy both lives and property and they also retard the growth of this country.

The consequences that juvenile delinquency has caused to Nigerian society are not only devastating but numerous.

Solutions To Juvenile Delinquency

Government and voluntary organization should be involved in the following ways:

1. Government should provide employment opportunities for youths. The saying goes that ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop’. Providing youths with employment opportunities helps occupy the mind thus making it less likely to turn to violence as a pass time.

Read Also: 10 Problems Facing Nigerian Youth And Possible Solutions

2. Greater thought should be given to setting up more amenities in the rural areas. Rural-Urban migration has led to over concentration in the urban areas, bottle neck competition for limited resources and consequently an increase in crime rates.

Provision of amenities like good roads, trade centers, transport networks, schools, hospitals helps curb Juvenile Delinquency tendencies.

3. Stoppage of pornographic films and some American films, where our youths learns techniques in stealing and destroying properties.

Foreign media have been accused as the main culprit in the promotion of sex and violence, some even giving detailed description of methodologies and making them look alluring. Regulations on the circulation of such media content, will help alleviate the practice of what is watched.

4. Parents should adopt method of positive and negative reinforcement.

5. Government should educate or enlightening parent on the effects of unmet needs like starvation (food), parental care and affection etc. on their children to enable them (parents) make adjustment.

6. Parental Guidance: Parents should not neglect their children or abandon them to care givers,as there are cases where the so-called care givers have been the cause of juvenile tendencies especially in teenagers.

7. Campaigns spearheaded by the government, Non governmental organisations on the dangers of drug abuse and strength of family bond will help orientate and even curb the spread and intake of hard drugs and consequently juvenile delinquency.

8. The academic curriculum should include counseling and health education so as to nip problems in the bud even before they occur.

9. Incentives such as scholarship, free food etc should be provided for parents and children to encourage them to get education; as education liberates the mind and expands one’s horizon.

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10. Parents, teachers, counsellors, and the society at large should be actively involved in fighting cases of bullying within and outside school and the society.

In essence, proper care and attention goes a long way in alleviating the social menace of Juvenile delinquency in Nigeria and correcting the negative image or picture it has painted the Nigerian society.

Juveniles fall into destructive acts due to psychological problems, media influence and peer pressure, so when these causes are corrected, juvenile delinquency in Nigeria will be on a rapid decline.

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Jessica Ezenagu

Jessica Ezenagu is a Content Developer at InfoGuideNIgeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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