PERCEPTIONS ON VIOLENT CRIMES IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN NIGERIA (A STUDY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, NSUKA)

ABSTRACT

Violent crime in our tertiary instructions has remained on the increase. Like other social problems, it has led to the loss of lives and properties. Nobody knows who the next victim will be. The consequences of the menace are so enormous that the government, the university authorities and members of the public are making concerted efforts on how to ameliorate it.

A number of factors have been adduced as the causes of violent crimes in our tertiary institutions. These factors include poor family upbringing, peer group influence, poverty, and un-conducive learning environment and material gains. This study examines the nature and extent of violent crimes in tertiary institutions. It also considered the university authority’s efforts in curbing the menace.

The primary and secondary sources of data collection were adopted in the study. In the analysis of data, frequency tables, simple percentage and the chi-square were used. The findings revealed the causes, effects and solutions to the problem.

It is hoped that the findings in this research work would help in curbing the problems of violent crimes in our tertiary institutions. The study would also help to stimulate further research in this area of study.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

In the years of Nigerian Political independence, when there were few tertiary institutions in Nigeria, little was known about violent crimes existing in these institutions. Even in the genera! society, the spate of violent criminal activities was low. Tertiary institutions especially the Universities were truly “citadel of learning”. Those who could not afford to train in these institutions envied undergraduates. Graduates were honoured in the society, and they wasted no time in getting good joes. They were seen as the epitome of knowledge and integrity, partly because they had been educated like the “white-man” and partly because they had been trained in an environment that was less prone to violent crimes, and sc, they did not have criminal tendencies (OdiaKa, 1996:9).

The situat -n in our tertiary institutions today ,s quite different from what it used to be about three or four decades ago. Undergraduates of higher institutions are literally or seemingly besieging their campuses with numerous acts of indiscipline. Their angry shouts of rebellion and violent protests and sometimes destructive actions bear stark witness to the intensity of the growing sense of frustration arid hopelessness.

Violent crimes germinate and thrive in institutions of higher learning in Nigeria. Ezike (1993:2) noted that Universities and polytechnic campuses in most parts of the country a. a nov/ battlefields where all sorts of violent crimes take place. Such violent criminal acts include robbery, murder, violent rape, stealing, burglary, assault, violent demonstration, assassination, car snatching at gunpoint and the dreaded activities of the cultists Ezike further observed that most of the violent crimes in our tertiary institutions ore basically the handiwork of student cultists.

Nchekwube (1999:17) stated thai violent crimes in tertiary institutions such as homicide, rapes, burglar/, office, home and store- breaking offences are now at alarming proportion. He further said that these violent criminal acts have adverse consequences on the academic and social progress of both the University communities and the general society. It is against this background that this study is set to examine the nature and pattern of violent crimes n tertiary institutions in Nigeria with particular reference to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka campus, with the view to identifying the causes, and social implications for the institution in particular, and the Nigeria society in general.

Department, f )N/F/Pharm/0.6) stated that a lecturer in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences was shot dead or; 12th January, 2004 at his residence by unknown person(s). Another circular from the Security Department of the same University (UNN/SEC/15/vol.11: 2004) has it that there have been several reported cases of robbery, rape, duping, car and cell phone snatching on campus. Between 22nd of June and 4th of July, 2004, the University witnessed series of crimes ranging from cell phone snatching, robbery with mask, unlawful possession of fire arms, office breaking and stealing, rape etc. The circular stated that the culprits are students of UNN. The circular also stated that these are just but a few of the reported violent criminal activities on campus. Cases of cell phone snatching, armed robbery and rape, now rank high amongst criminal activities on campus (Security Department, U.N.N., 2004).

Onah, (2003:6) in his own work titled “Varsity students injured as robbers raid female hostel” posits that -he female students of the Cross River State University of Technology (CRUTECH) were injured, and some of them seriously injured when a gang of armed robbers attacked the female hostel of the Institution. Some of the girls were raped and others assaulted physically. Some were fractured in their limbs as the robbers invaded the hostel shooting indiscriminately. However, money and property belonging to these girls were carted away while expanded ca-jidges of the robbers were found. That the building. He further explained that. Some of the robbers were late.-‘ discovered to be students of the same Institution. Omololu, (2005:15) observed that the rate of violent demonstration in our tertiary institutions is on the increase. In his work; titled “Violent demonstration in Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria”, Omololu further observed that property worth millions of naira have been destroyed over the years. He however cited the violent demonstration that took place at University of Lagos in April 1998, as well as the Kogi State Polytechnic in June 2002 where students went on violent rampage, burning down the school buildings, including the library. He went further to explain that most of the students involved in the violent acts are cultist. He also observed thot cult-members are usually very violent and are involved in ail forms of violent criminal acts within and outside campuses.

Irritated by these criminal acts on campuses, President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 directed all universities and other institutions of higher learning to stamp out cultism from their campuses following the death of five students of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) lie – Ife, on July 10th 1999. It was against this backdrop that many Institutions reportedly has many students renouncing membership of secret cults.

Accordingly, over 300 students of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) renounced their membership that same year. Similar cases also occurred at the University of Lagos, Ebonyi State University, Abakiliki, Federal Polytechnic llaro, Ogun State, University of Benin, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria among others (Okoro, 2003:18).

Nigeria’s Tertiary Institutions therefore appear to be bedevilled by insecurity of Wes and property. Regrettably, this situation has adversely affected the social and academic life of both staff and students on the campuses. There is a need therefore to investigate the violent crimes in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, with a view to finding possible solutions to them.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following question are formulated for the purpose of this
study:
1. What is the nature and extent of violent crimes in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, with special reference to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka?
2. What are the reasons for the apparent increase of violent crimes irt tertia *- institutions in Nigeria, particularly the University of Nigeria, Nsukka?
3. To what extent have the tertian/ institutions contributed to the increase of violent crimes on campuses, using University of Nigeria, Nsukka as an example?
4. What are the consequences of violent crimes in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, particularly in University of Nigeria?
5. What factors militate against effective check on violent crimes in Tertiary institutions in Nigeria, with special reference to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka?
6. What can be done to reduce the rate of violent crimes in Tertiary
Institutions in Nigeria, particularly the University of Nigeria, Nsukka?

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

Generally, this study is aimed a: determining the nature, extent net causes of violent crimes in Tertiary institutions in Nigeria, with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka Campus as a case study. Specifically therefore, the study has the following objectives.

To identify, and examine the nature and extent of violent crimes in Tertiary Institution’s in Nigeria, particularly the University of Nigeria, Nsukka?

To identify the reasons for the apparent increase in violent crimes in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, using University of Nigeria, Institutions in Nigeria, and the Nigeria government. By obtaining more information on the nature, patterns, and causes of violent crimes in tertiary Institutions, the authorities will be in a better position to address the problems of violent crimes in Tertiary institutions in Nigeria. In the same way, the information will help the Government to formulate effective crime control measures in Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria. For the staff and students who are potential victims of violent crimes in Tertiary Institutions, the study wii! be of immense help.

DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS

The study has some concepts, which may have different meaning from the popular or everyday usage. Hence there is a need for their definitions in the context of this study.

This refers to any act or omission, which renders the person doing the act or making the omission liable to legally prescribed.

This refers to the formal processes snd agencies (the police, courts and prisons) mandated to apprehend, try and detain/correct criminal offenders

Criminal

This is a person who commits a crime that is considered heinous to the society. It could be referred io as a non-conformist to the societal norms.

Delinquency

This refers to a wide range of anii-soc;al behaviour mostly by juveniles, which could be described as crime if committed by an adult.

Penal Sanction

This refers to the appropriate punishment prescribed by the criminal law for all outlawed conducts.

Crime Control Techniques

These are those systems and measures taken by the society to check the volume of crime. It refers to all policies and strategies which the police adopt to prevent crime from occurring.

Violent Crime

This refers to the use of physical force to commit crime that is intended to hurt or kill the victim.