Several commentaries have been passed by individuals, national and international organizations about the possible causes of the peaking crime and violence in Nigeria, but none seem as strong as “social injustice” as the major cause among others, in spite of the complexities and confusion surrounding this pressing issue. Even though, social injustice might exist in other societies at various levels, the situation in Nigeria is apparently different from what might be obtainable in any side of the world; ranging from the nation’s economy and resource management, to her political and leadership profile, education and human development- the sounds of the themes of justice and equity are long dead. Over the years, there has been structural violence inflicted by the Nigerian government which touch the very foundation of living of average Nigerians, unsustainable and tough economic policies that harden survival in the country, public lies and unfriendly national responses to issues which anger human discretion-and these among many other immoral actions by the government have forced reprisal responses from Nigerians against the failing leadership.
The scarcity of justice in Nigeria has essentially increased the threat and danger of crime and violence- assessing the fact that quality education is very expensive to get, admission into federal universities is very tough and the hardship that follows passing through the school is thoroughly exhausting-yet graduates poor out of school in thousands annually without job, even as millions are living in poverty, small scale businesses close down by the day primarily because of high cost spent on generating electricity by the business owners; the leadership of Nigeria has practically denied the masses basic needs to survive especially in this modern age and also gradually normalized ‘pain’ on the populace, the masses are angered and the broad consequence is that, they have to survive through any means available to them, violence and crime are potential options in this situation. Many social issues and controversies in Nigeria if subjected to moral debates, it would not be difficult for anyone to conclude that the federal government is immoral, denying the people who own and deserve public resources their rights which has led to increased crime and violence in the nation.
Thoughtfully reflecting on Late Obafemi Awolowo’s political injunction which states that “Nigeria is seated on a keg on gun powder which can explode anytime.” Yes! Nigerians will not continue to live in pain! Nigerians will not continue to watch and wait on God! Nigerians will not continue to allow the interest of the few over the majority! Nigerians are radically translating their dreams of a great nation into actions to secure the glorious future of this nation. If norms, rights, entitlements, obligations, responsibilities, and duties that shape our sense of justice and guide our behavior with others are not enacted by the corrupt ruling class, the people need not wait as they have to fight for Nigeria and march her into greatness.
Crime and violence in Nigeria have been tightly tinged with social injustice and economic inequalities; in societies where there’s peace, check it, the concept of social justice and economic equality is enforced to possible level, such society is led by a government who has the masses at the peak of its agenda. In the same way, if Nigeria is fairly ruled, the rule of law is carefully followed and implemented to the fullest, economic reforms relaxes the grievance of the masses, quality education and health care can be accessed, youths are empowered and employment opportunities are practically created, accountability and genuine transparency become a culture, competence and intelligence override ethnic and religious identities in political appointments etc, crime and violence will be reduced to the minimum.
Rotimi Ogungbola is a Post Graduate Student, Department of Religions, Univeristy of Ilorin.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters