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1.1 INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The effects of Poverty on Nigerians are multidimensional. This is to say its has negative influences amongst others on the socio-cultural, economic, political, moral, health, security and educational lives of the people using the multidimensional schematic framework of underdevelopment, the effects of desolate poverty manifest in, low per capita income, low consumption level, poor health services, high death rate, high birth limited freedom to choose between variables that satisfy human wants, poor educational and other social services with its attendant consequences of lack of shelter, homelessness, hunger, both the body and the mind, malnutrition, target for diseases and sickness, short life expectancy, mental retardation, and political alienation, to mention but a few. This situation which is a self-reinforcing phenomenon tends to perpetuate undesirable consequences which leads to other social vices.
As noted by Adams (2004: 54), poverty has several consequences. One of such consequences is that poverty creates social vices such as armed robbery, stealing, prostitution, drug peddling etc. This is because every human being wants to get the best out of life, and when such basic necessities of life are hard to come by, the natural tendency is to engage in illicit activities in other to make ends meet. Cases of prostitution armed robbery, stealing and drug use that abound in Nigeria today arise from the biting ‘Pangs’ of Poverty, among the populace particularly in the rural areas.
In his final analysis, Adams has remarked that, poverty induces corruption in the sense that people who indulge in corrupt practices, at both the private and official levels, do so to shield themselves from poverty. Political and bureaucratic corruption thrive in our society today because of the need to secure one’s life and that of one’s immediate and, in some cases, extended family, against poverty.
Supporting the above view, Huntington (1968:59), has contended that in modernizing states such as Nigeria, poverty interfaces with corruption, and corruption subsist because of weak political institutionalization. As a modernizing state, Nigeria, with weak political institutions, lack the capacity to curb the excesses of personal and parochial interest exhibited by public office-holders. Public-office-holders therefore cash-in on these weaknesses and loot as much as they can from the national tilts. Such stolen public funds are stached away in foreign vaults, far way from the Nigeria economy.
With Calabar South Local Government Area as our study area, this work will be interested in investigating the impact of poverty on the level of crime rate in the area.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Though successive governments have tried to address the issue of poverty, the effect of the strategies and programmes has been that of mixed feelings.
Every government embarks on one form of poverty reduction strategy or the other. However, what has not been answered is the extent to which these programme have impacted on the poor people that is the target population. Still, it seems that the efforts of various government are ineffective and therefore not much has been done to actualized the benefits.
Also, the most disturbing is the fact that despite the amount of resources committed to those program the poverty situation still get worst, and more and more people region instead of escaping.
The inability of government efforts to reduce the level of poverty in the society has led to some undesired consequences, and one of such is the increase in crime rate in the society. It is common knowledge that poverty and crime go, hand-in-hand. Crime prevents so many things from thriving by increasing instability and uncertainty (at micro and macro economic levels) in the market, be it national, regional, municipal or even neighborhood.
The vicious cycle of poverty and crime on the other hand has the capacity to take an economy into a vicious cycle that causes unemployment and low growth which indicates that economic cycles may affect change in poverty and violent crimes. But most important of all, the characteristic of poverty and crime is that they are both geographically concentrated in the same areas, that is where one find poverty is also where crime exist. And this reveals the strong connections between the two issues. This study attempts to examine the following problems: