In the fourth edition of the Institute of Child Health, Monthly Seminar held on Thursday the 26th July 2014; Miss Omolara Famuyiwa, a Research Fellow II/ Counselling Psychologist, Institute of Child Health, University of Benin, Benin City discussed ‘Violence and insecurity in the country: the prospect of the Nigerian child’. The lecturer started by highlighting that security is one of the ultimate desire of human beings. In Nigeria insecurity is at its worst form. Political, social and economic insecurity plague the entire nation. Religious Fracas has taken its own turn. The nation is presently going through turbulent times as a result of violence. Human lives and properties worth millions of Naira have been lost. People are turned into refugees. In their fatherland. In short, the nation is in turmoil. Unfortunately, in all these upheavals women and children are the most vulnerable and worst hit. She then went on to highlight some of the causes of insecurity and violence in Nigeria under political instability, economic instability, religious intolerance, the family & violence and then the youth & violence. She stated the historical background of political instability in Nigeria from the independence era, through the military rule and the current political dispensation. Under, economy, the lecturer stated that not only that impoverishment of the people has led to an increase in the violent crimes of murder, assassination, arson and suicide bombing, but also to an increase in the touts phenomenon and school dropout rate. It has also led to an increase in domestic violence, child abuse, drug trafficking, child trafficking, rape and large-scale position involving students and youths. One major factor to this ill-fated menace was corruption which the lecturer stated that tagged as the most dishonest people under the sun. It is said that Nigeria cannot do without corruption.
She said that Nigeria like most countries in sub-Saharan African is still engulfed in increased ethnic and religious conflicts. She examples of those conflicts dating back to the 1960’s up to date. Some of which were the Nigerian Civil War [1967-1970], Kafanchan riot [1987]: Ife-Modakeke Crisis [1992], Zango – Kataf crisis [1999], the on-going Jos crisis etc. She reminded the audience of the surgency of the Boko Haram group (terrorism and violent attacks) which she described as the perhaps the worst conflict that Nigeria has ever suffered since independence. Boko-Haram: Translated from the Hausa Language means “Western education is evil or sacrilege”, and that its ideology is to refuse western Education and abolish the secular form of government. She gave instances of some of the activities of these terrorist group such as the June 2011 bombing of the Abuja Police Headquarters, August 2011 suicide bomber on the United Nations Building in Abuja, killing 25 people and maiming others; and several other attacks in motor packs and the adoption of the over200 of the Chibok School girls to mention but a few.
Miss Famuyiwa then described the role of the family and youth activities as sources of violence/ insecurity in Nigeria. She said that the family is the nucleus of the society, holding within it the power, to either make or mar the society. The family is the bedrock of the society and the first socialization unit for the child. The family provides guidance and support for children to enable them to fulfill basic needs and cope with the demands of the society. When this support fails, it may lead to anarchy.
She said youth restiveness which resulted from huge unemployment, joblessness, poverty, and wickedness was the major contributor to violence/ insecurity in Nigeria. Youths are used as political thugs and later these are dumped and transform into militants, terrorist, area boys, and all sorts in the society. The lecturer stated that the effects of violence/ insecurity on the nation are enormous. For example, the nation is presently going through turbulent times as a result of violence. Human lives and properties worth millions of Naira have been lost. People have turned into refugees in their fatherland and the pains are eternally fresh in the hearts of those who are maimed as a result of the activities of this terrorist sect. Internationally, the “institutionalized” violence has tarnished the image of Nigeria and has brought so many negative impacts as foreign investors no longer want to come to invest in Nigeria because of insecurity. Economically, there is mass unemployment in the country, young graduates, boys and girls roam about with no jobs and no regular means of livelihood. In the families are rendered homeless their hopes and aspiration shattered. Children and teenagers are temporarily put out of school as schools are being burnt down in the North.
She concluded the lecture by recommending that there should be mutual peaceful coexistence and social development among everyone; there should be conflict resolution skills training programmes organized by the government for ethnic, religious and community leaders. Organizations, educational institutions, professionals and trade unions should be involved in this project. Discussion on issues of ethnicity and religious tolerance should be part of the school curriculum. There should be youth empowerment, Government NGO’s and Philanthropist should support our youths with small-scale loans to start a business. If the young graduates can open small-scale businesses and employ two or more youths that can reduce the number of unemployed graduates.

Written and edited by Dr. Damian, U. NWANERI (Research Fellow I, Institute of Child Health, University of Benin)

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