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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE PROBLEM
The problem of youth unemployment and rural crime has over the years become an Area of interest and great concern to most nations of the world. It is the intention of this nations to completely eliminate or at least minimize youth unemployment and rural crime in their various nations.
The menace of youth unemployment in Nigeria could be said to a recent occurrence because in the pre-colonial days great value and dignity was attached to labour as a means of acquiring wealth but now the end justifies the means. Even if unemployment existed it was not the intractable problem it is today.
According to Balogun (2010:82), he opined that of Nigerian’s 150 million population 40 million are unemployed. As 45% of the population is between the ages of 15 to 40 years this means unemployment mainly affect the youth. The Nigeria ruling class is incapable of solving this problem, only the working class can take on the task of eradicating youth unemployment and rural crime
Balogun (2010), argued that it is estimated that over 3 trillion naira has been spent since 2003 just to combat youth unemployment and rural crime. The question is where has this money gone and why does the menace still persist to solve the problem, the government buy a few thousand pepper grinding machines or five thousand bikes and distributes these to hungry youths numbering millions. These methods gives rise to massive corruption and provide room for political patronage. This methods also has been used for close to 10 years now and what has it been able to achieve or deliver?
With the extent of human and national resources Nigeria possesses, she ought not to know any poverty, let alone this extent of youth unemployment and rural crime.
According to Chigunta (2002:89) these large-scale unemployment among youths is encouraging the development of street youths in Nigeria. the street youths, denied of legitimate means of livelihood, grow up in a culture that encourages criminal behavior in rural and urban areas where they engages in various activities such as petty trading, casual work, stealing, pick pocketing prostitution, touting and other illegal activities.
Ngor Okpala is a local government area of Imo state Nigeria, its head quarters are in the town of Umuneke Ngor. It has an area of 56Ikm and a population of 159,932 at the 2006 census. Ngor-Okpala is a notable place in Imo state because of her locational position. Ngor Okpala is the largest local government in Imo state and one of the largest in Nigeria.
Ngor is the fastest developing local government in Imo state. Ngor Okpala is blessed with natural mineral resources which has not been tapped. This prominent status of Ngor Okpala as a state local government Areas and its consequent of population explosion and the problems of youth unemployment and rural crime makes it unique for this study.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Youth unemployment and rural crime has been a threatening menace in Ngor Okpala as a whole, thus it has became necessary to give full attention as regards how to curb this ugly trend. With over 40 million Nigeria youth effectively unemployed in a population of 150 million, no doubt Nigeria has one of the highest youth unemployment in the figure of the world despite her economic potential. This situation clearly reveals its social essence when we consider it against the fact that Nigeria has 45% of her population between the ages of 15-45 years and due to the extremely low life expectancy of 45 years.
However, Nigerian youth are the hardest hit by this menace of employment. With this figures in mind, it does not need the wisdom of Solomon to clearly understand why there is so much crime, spates of kidnapping, youth unrest and most significantly an extremely unstable social economic structure that has hitherto been bedeviling Nigeria with particular reference to Ngor Okpala.
It is one of the major social problems facing all societies in Ngor Okpala. It creates and perpetuates poverty and frustration and even aids uneven distribution of national wealth.
Moreso, it also contributes to low productivity and lack of economic growth it gradually contribute to increase in the level of crime and other anti-social behaviour in the communities and societies especially in Ngor Okpala local government of Imo State. As a result of unemployment the youth went into different rural crimes like robbing cars on roads leading to different villages in the local government.
Nevertheless, in my community Umuhu in Ngor Okpala local government there are recent cases of unemployed youths who engage in crimes like drug abuse and intake of marijuana, and this motivates them to unleash havoc on innocent villagers . Also, they go ahead to steal domestic animals and disrupt rural market in disguised theft. There are also reported cases of these individuals raping young innocent girls and also committing incest taboo and other abominable acts.
Consequently, the above is against the culture of the people of Umuhu community and Ngor Okpala local government of Imo State. This menace known as youth unemployment and rural crime is potentially dangerous as it sends disturbing signal to all segment of Ngor Okpala local government area of Imo State and Nigeria at Large.
1.3 PURPOSES OF STUDY/OBJECTIVES
(i) This study generally investigate the problems of youth unemployment and rural crime with particular reference to Ngor Okpala local government of Imo State.
(ii) To describe the extent of youth unemployment and crime in Ngor Okpala local government of Imo State.
(iii) To determine crimes that are traceable to unemployment.
(iv) To examine the strategies employed by the government in combating the problems of youth unemployment and rural crime in the location of study as well as the effectiveness of control mechanism employed.
(v) To proffer solution and recommendation to the problems of youth unemployment and rural crime in Ngor Okpala local government of Imo State.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
(i) What is the truth of the assertion that more youths in the society especially in Ngor Okpala take to crime because of unemployment?
(ii) How tenable is it to say that unemployment increases crime in Ngor Okpala?
(iii) Is it tenable to assert that crime is a function of economic situation like unemployment in Ngor Okpala local government of Imo State?
(iv) What is the truth of the assertion that youth unemployment is a function of economic imbalance in Nigeria with particular reference to Ngor Okpala?