THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC CORRELATION OF FEMALE CRIMINALITY IN NIGERIA
This study has been able to look into the contributions of different scholars on the issue of female criminality. It has been able to relate findings as they affect the research problem.
The problem of the study was specifically aimed:
To describe the extent and type of female involvement in crimes and analyze the types of crimes in which women have been most visible;
To determine the socio-economic attributes of women in crime. And finally identify factors predisposing women to criminality.
The findings show that most of the female offenders are first offenders. This means that most of these female offenders find themselves in prison once in their life. But there is also a few cases of recidivist of whose frequency does not exceed three times. These recidivists could fall into the category that Lombroso (1894) termed the occasional criminal’ a more frequent criminal type who commits crime at the suggestion or by the influence of a male probably a lover.Data collected revealed that the types of crime females are involved in are armed robbery, kidnapping, murder, theft, assault, cheating, drugs, criminal bridge trust, and conspiracy. But the crimes of which the respondents have been most visible are murder and theft.Based on the findings, it was discovered that a high percentage of these female offenders resided in the rural areas. This is a good enough reason why they engaged in criminal acts or activities. The rural area is known for its homogeneity. Relationships are more at the inter-personal level, and the bond between individuals becomes strong that the. In the rural areas, everybody knows virtually what his or her neighbour is doing and as result one can can easily offend the other and in the cause of retaliation one gets hot. Civilization which is more evident in the urban areas has opened the eyes of many.Bad company is another predisposing factor to criminality. Peer groups have great influence on individuals. When an individual continues to associate more with a group that sees the societal norms of offensive, the individual also tends to violate the values of that society. Hence, a good percentage of the offenders are introduced into criminal activities by their friends.In addition to this, most of the female offenders were brought up by their parents. The family under which one grows up also affects his or her life. The type of upbringing one had during his or her childhood influence his or her behavioural conduct and adulthood. The inference here is that parents no more carry out their responsibilities of inculcating morality in their children. There is laxity in the socialize children. It also serves for religious and moral training. If the family does not carry out these functions, the resultant problem will be moral decadence. The above point seems to agree with the hypothesis that poor socialization process is likely to influence criminality in individuals.
Economic conditions are another contributory factor to criminality. Most of these female offenders are either in the informal sector or unemployed, thus they have no stable means of income. Even those in employment earn meager salary. Where would this get them, with the economic hardship that has befallen Nigeria? The frustration caused by this hardship is enough to make one commit murder.
The basic assumption of the major work on female criminality than seeing it as a physiological or psychological problem. For instance, from the findings, the educational level or attainment of the female inmates countered the argument Lombroso that female criminals look and behave like the primitive males that lacked formal education.However, it does not mean that these assumptions are totally wrong in themselves. The various scholars must be credited for their attempt in trying to understand the issue of female criminality.The main argument in this study is that criminality is caused by social factors and not biological factors. As such, there is a need to carry out a new study on women and crime. And to this, it is necessary to understand the assumptions made by the traditional to understand the assumptions made by the traditional writers and break away from them. Crime should not be seen as caused by factors within the female, rather, crime should be seen as caused by factors external to the females.
In conclusion, this study is not claiming superiority over the already existing literature nor is the argument absolute and perfect. The study is equally open to criticisms and modifications.
This project is not only meant to find out the type and factors that lead to female criminality. It also meant to recommendation because it is not only to study a social problem that matters, there has to be a way to study a social problem that matters, there has to be a way out of the problem. Thus the recommendation is in two angles:
To the family which is the smallest unit of the society where socialization first begins and,
The government whose policies affect the individuals in the society.
In as much as civilization has contributed to the decay of the family function, the family should still see it as its primary function to socialize children, to inculcate sound moral values in them. This sound start right from childhood.On the other hand, unemployment causes a lot of problem in the society. The government should review its policies so as to create job opportunities for members of the society. All hand must be on deck. The government should review the salary scales of workers also. This should be done in such a way that the monthly salaries are able to meet the financial demands and obligation of individuals.
If there is anything the government can do to improve the standard of living of individuals in reducing hardship, the government should do it. At least this effort can go along way in reducing or curbing crime and female criminality particularly, in Nigeria. Thereby, giving the country a face lift.
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