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THE INFLUENCE OF POVERTY ON CRIME

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THE INFLUENCE OF POVERTY ON CRIME

 

 

ABSTRACT

 

The purpose of the study was to establish the significant relationship between poverty and crime in Owerri district of Western Province of Nigeria. The objective of the study was to investigate the influence of poverty on crime amongst the residents of Owerri District in Western Province. The research design for the study was survey research design in which 5 point likert scale questionnaire on poverty and crime was used study to collect data from the respondents. The sample for the study consisted of 124 persons (Male 90 and Female 34). Data collected was analyzed using chi-square statistical method. Results indicated that there was significant relationship between poverty (financial standing, employment, family structure, social support, level of education and poverty) and tendency to commit crime among the people of Owerri district. The recommendation of the study is that improved systems of education and economic empowerment of the people should be enhanced by the government in order to reduce crime in the region among the 240,000 inhabitants of Owerri in Western Nigeria

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1   BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

 

Owerri District has a population of over 240,000 people, 60% of this population live below the poverty line of less than 1 US dollar per day leading to poor standards of living. There is massive population explosion and pressure on the meagre resources like land, water, health, education, infrastructure, agriculture and some micro-finance enterprises in the region.

 

Due to the vicious cycle of poverty, there is gross violation of human rights as per the Geneva Convention that every person has the right to life, liberty and security. Other fundamental human rights violated in Owerri District included article 2 where men and women are to be treated equally which is not the case, instead they are subordinates and not allowed in decision making especially on assets. The area has been a high population growth of youths (70%) who have neither trained, completed school or dropped out of school due to unemployment have resulted to violent crimes in the area such as murder, assault, rape, prostitution, theft, burglary, armed gangsters, banditry, trade in illicit rugs like bhang, changaa (local beer). Article 5 of the Declaration of Human Rights the states that no one shall be subjected to torture cruel inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, economic or political liberty. The rights of the inhabitants of Owerri have been highly contested leading them to fall into traps of violent crimes in the region..

 

Poverty as a social phenomenon has affected the entire population in the region, poverty and inequality often results due to social instability, diseases, environmental degradation, struggle for natural resources and constraints on the basic needs in the society. In 1992 it was estimated that 42% of the approximately 525 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa lived below the poverty line of US $ 370 per capita and the number was expected to increase by 50% in the year 2000. It is noted that women, children, old age, disabled and the orphans are the most affected with poverty. The unstable micro-economic environment, poor development policies which yield to low economic growth not consistent with economic growth, poor infrastructure, dependency ratio in the area is also high. There is need for proper planning, decision making and economic empowerment of Owerri people to alleviate poverty in the region. The District budget allocation should be allocated, reviewed and strategic plans made to oversee the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Local Government Transfer Fund (LATF), Women Development Fund, and Youths Fund to help improve the income of the people for better standards of living. “People must not be allowed to be come so poor that they offend or are hurtful to the society. It is so much that misery and plight of the poor but the discomfort and the costs of the community which is crucial to the view of the poverty. Poverty due to low income creates problems for those who are not poor”. (Martya 1981)[1]

 

Crime as an act of sufficient challenges to the people of Owerri District has created fear for development and investment in the area which has no industry and processing services to bring income and employment to the area. Most of the businesses in the major towns are grocery, and casual labour especially in

 

Luanda, Esibuye, Kilingili, Khumusalaba, Mwichio. Most of the occupation of Owerri is subsistence farming on small holdings mainly done by women to subsidize the family income. There are many crimes counted in the area such as juvenile delinquency as crimes counted be of children less than 18 years who make gangsters/ banditry, rape and murder people in the villages I.e. the Town Down gangsters of Luanda Town, the 42 brothers, and Musumbiji and others. Acts of crime, gambling, prostitution, vagrancy, homosexual are notorious to control in the District and thus referred to as victimless crimes. White collar crimes are committed by respectable persons through corruption. The purpose of this study is to investigate and establish the relationship between poverty and crime in Owerri District and recommend ways on reduction of crime.

 

The purpose the study was to establish the relationship between poverty and crime and make recommendations of helping the Abanyole people of Owerri and the government to alleviate poverty and crime in the area of study. The research is to generate ways of solving poverty through proper planning on investments, implementation of government projects solve unemployment, land tenure problems and enact a good policy legal framework to curb crime in the area.

 

Information from this study will be used by Governmental Departments i.e. Constituency Development Fund (CDF), Youth Fund, District Budgetary allocations, Education Offices, Provincial Administration and Non-Governmental Organizations to make right decisions to empower the economic status of the area to alleviate poverty and violent crimes as well as gross violation of human rights. The Ministry of Planning and National Development, Ministry of finance, The Office of the President and Provincial Administration to promote food security, health and sanitation services, investment and cur b violent crimes in the region. The study will be useful in investigating and establishing factors leading to poverty and how to curb them through the recommendations of the study in accordance to Malthusian’s population Theory on Fundamental Human rights and conflicting theory on crime issues. The findings of this study will enable to put down factors leading to poverty and come up with strategic plans to help reduce it engage the entire population towards positive economic development of the area.

 

1.2   STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

 

Poverty has a great influence on the crime rate in Owerri district of western Nigeria. Poverty can be in state of absolute where there is lack of the basic resources needed to maintain minimum of the physical health, normally calculated in calories, while relative poverty has quantitative dimensions which refer to general standard f living in different societies due to cultural sensitivity and variations between and within societies over time. Poverty is due to massive inequality due to poor allocation of investment, education, planning and policy implementation, inadequate health facilities, human rights violations such as economic empowerment, right for protection, security, children’s rights, and right to life.

 

Owerri area with a population of over 240,000 suffers from poverty and crime due to underdevelopment and expansive population which constraints the meagre available natural resources. There are no investments in the area apart from some small micro-finance investment Nigeria Women Finance Trust (KWFT) which are created to help women start small business holds. The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is also geared towards enhancing small microfinance projects in education, infrastructure, youths, markets, farming in the area to alleviate poverty. There are conflicts over the scarce resources like land ownership, safe drinking water, streams, food, education, health which results into conflicts and criminal activities and offences due to poverty. Crime and violent conflicts is growing due to disparities in wealth, increasing unemployment among the youths, population press he on land and resources leading to environmental degradation which provokes social discontent, polarization leading to social strife in the region. According to vigorous approach theory societal conditions of deep spread and deep poverty is essentially deprivation suffered by a large segment of some important essentials for sustenance such as sufficient income to provide housing, clothing, food and education, health facilities adequate opportunities for production employment which leads to societal stress. Stress leads to increasing the anger and frustration of the poor suffering who are then exploited by violence promoting war bent demagoguery. Indeed scarcities of the basic needs amongst the population causes social segmentation, group formation and strengthen groups identity which creates violent collective action which takes forms from rime war, terrorism, riots, civil insurgencies, political repressions to its ultimate forms.

 

Most of the inhabitants of Owerri live on subsistence farming on small holdings of less than Mi an acre and with poor farming methods, lack of farm inputs and technical agricultural know-how have lessen the yield to sustain the family needs. The are no income generating investments as factories, plantations (cash crops) to employ the youths and e working population in the areas leading to severe unemployment and crime in the region. In 1991 the United Nations crime prevention journals stipulated that crime has accelerated far beyond the current reach of international community. Crime is particularly serious impediment to harmonious development. It dissipates or misdirects the gains of economic growth and impairs the quality of life; crime threatens safety well being a d personal integrity of us all. (United Nations: 1991) Some other criminal offences conducted in the region is chang’aa brewing (local illicit brew)., substance abuse like bhang, cocaine, processor and trafficking of drugs in towns like Luanda, Kima, Ekwanda, Esibuye, Kilingili, Khumusalaba, and Esirulo has granted more crime impediment to investment in the region leading to absolute poverty. The study seeks to address the influence of poverty on crime, the consequences to the population in Owerri District and hence recommends ways to curb the menace.

 

1.3  PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

 

The purpose the study was to establish the relationship between poverty and crime and make recommendations of helping the Abanyole people of Owerri and the government to alleviate poverty and crime in the area of study. The research is to generate ways of solving poverty through proper planning on investments, implementation of government projects solve unemployment, land tenure problems and enact a good policy legal framework to curb crime in the area.

 

1.4     RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

 

The major objective of the study was to investigate the influence of poverty on crime amongst the residents of Owerri District in Western Province.

 

The specific objectives of the study will be:

 

1)                   To determine economic factors that lead to a vicious cycle of poverty in Owerri District

 

2)                   To investigate how poverty causes crime in the area of Owerri District.

 

3)                   To establish development plans to alleviate poverty in the region.

 

4)                   To assess types of criminal offences and when committed in the region and how they are solved.

 

1.5    RESEARCH QUESTIONS

 

Study was guided by the following questions:-

 

  1. What is the relationship between financial standing of the respondents and crime among the Abanyole in Owerri District in western Nigeria?

 

  1. What is the relationship between employment of the respondents and crime among the Abanyole in Owerri District in western Nigeria?

 

  1. What is the relationship between the family structure and crime of the respondents among the Abanyole of Owerri District in western Nigeria?

 

  1. What is relationship between the family support among the respondents and crime among Abanyole of Owerri District in western Nigeria?

 

  1. What is the relationship the level of education and crime of the respondents among the Abanyole of Owerri District in western Nigeria?

 

  1. What is the relationship between possession of property and crime of the respondents in Owerri region

 

1.6.    NULL HYPOTHESIS

 

  1. There is no relationship between financial standing and crime among the Abanyole in Owerri District.

 

  1. There is no relationship between employment and crime among the Abanyole in Owerri District.

 

  1. There is no relationship between family structure and crime among the Abanyole of Owerri District.

 

  1. There is no relationship between family support and crime among the Abanyole of Owerri District.

 

  1. There is no relationship between the level of education and crime among the Abanyole of Owerri District.

 

  1. There is no relationship between possession of property and crime among the Abanyole of Owerri District.

 

1.7     SCOPE OF THE STUDY

 

The study covered Owerri District of Western Nigeria which is one of the most poverty stricken areas resulting to violent crime, crimes against humanity and gross violation.

 

The study was limited to assess or establish the relationship between poverty and crime amongst

 

240,0            inhabitants of Owerri and its implication on the economic development within the region.

 

The study bases its guidelines on Malthusian theory of population to state the rationale on scarce resources leading to youth bulge and violence and conflict theory to explain crime and its effects in the study area. Since it was a wide area the findings were sampled from two major Divisions Owerri and Luanda.

 

1.8   SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

 

Information from this study will be used by Governmental Departments i.e. Constituency Development Fund (CDF), Youth Fund, District Budgetary allocations, Education Offices, Provincial Administration and Non-Governmental Organizations to make right decisions to empower the economic status of the area to alleviate poverty and violent crimes as well as gross violation of human rights. The Ministry of Planning and National Development, Ministry of finance, The Office of the President and Provincial Administration to promote food security, health and sanitation services, investment and cur b violent crimes in the region. The study will be useful in investigating and establishing factors leading to poverty and how to curb them through the recommendations of the study in accordance to Malthusian’s population Theory on Fundamental Human rights and conflicting theory on crime issues. The findings of this study will enable to put down factors leading to poverty and come up with strategic plans to help reduce it engage the entire population towards positive economic development of the area.

 

1.9   DEFINITION OF TERMS

 

Poverty: The vicious cycle of poverty has been defined as the phenomenon where poor families become trapped in poverty for at least three generations. The families have either limited resources or no resources. The concept of the vicious cycle of poverty holds that low productivity leads to low income, low income leads to low savings and low savings leads to low investment and low investment to low productivity.

 

Crime- A crime is a violation of criminal statutory law and a specific punishment applied by some government authority generally accompanies the violation. Criminal activities and crime rates vary in different legal jurisdictions which accompany differences in rates of enforcement.

 

 

 

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