Does Poverty Cause Crimes In Nigeria? Part (I), By Shuaibu Lawan

Society is an organised group of persons associated together for religious, benevolent, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes. As society moves from one stage to another i.e. from simple to complex, homogeneous to heterogeneous society, that led to the emergence of crime and deviance. Crime is regarded as an inevitable nature of human life. Crime as a concept is rooted from the Latin word “Crimen” meaning accusation or fault. Crime has become a social problem in all societies. Despite this, groups and individuals within society differ in their perception of crime. Some would equate crime with all ant-social behaviour, while others would argue that crimes are such acts as racism, sexism and imperialism that violate basic human rights.
Similarly, some use moral rather than legal criteria to define what is or is not a crime.  There are religious people, who regard certain behaviour as a crime, if it meets their criteria for sin. Crime is defined in various contexts. For some people, crime could be defined as something that causes serious injury to the community, or something generally believed to be capable of doing so, or something committed with evil intent; or something forbidden in the interests of the ruling class, that is, the powerful persons in the society. Crime could also be seen as something, which offends the morality of society, or something which violates the divine law.
Crime is a universal social phenomenon in that it threatens the safety and security of people, their property, and their sense of well-being, social order and most importantly, it reduces people’s quality of life.
Crime impacts on society in a variety of ways according to the nature and extent of crime committed. It constitutes a problem when its incidence is as rampant in the society as to constitute a threat to the security of persons and property, as well as social order and solidarity (Onoge, 1998).
Crimes have always plagued every society in human history. The history of crime is as old as history of mankind. The first crime was committed by Cain, the first son of Adam and Eve, when he murdered his brother Abel out of jealousy, Mahmood, et,al (2009). However, there is no universal definition of crime, this is as a result of changes in social, political, psychological and economic conditions. An act may be a crime in one society, but not in another. Therefore, the perception of an “act” to be a crime varies with time and space. In addition, many scholars have defined crime in different views, mostly bordering on ethical and ideological orientation, on the definition of crime, a United Nations Research Institute (UN, 1995). Perceptions of crime are not determined by any objective indicator of the degree of injury or damage but by cultural values and power relations (UN, 1995). In a strict legal definition, however, a crime is a violation of criminal law which in most societies can be defined broadly as any act or omission forbidden law on pain of punishment.
Nigeria as a nation, with multi religion, multi ethnic and multi region, she also suffers from act of crime and criminality. Crime rate in Nigeria has assumed a worrisome dimension. In the light of the worsening crime situation, and the ineffectiveness of the crime control apparatuses, Nigeria can be deemed if crime problems persist. Nigeria is among the developing countries of the world, and she is experiencing a prevalence of rising crime waves, criminal intentions and varying degree of delinquencies.
Lawan writes from Kano


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