Opinion:Kwara Youth involvement in crime, call for concern
With Joke Adeniyi Jackson
Few days ago, I was at the Magistrates' Court in Ilorin, Kwara State, what I witnessed within two hours stay made my heart bleed. A large percentage of the population of suspects brought for prosecution, were youths mostly in their early 20s. It was a sorry sight to behold the young suspects in hand and ankle cuffs.
I felt the pains of a mother who wept uncontrollably on sighting her emancipated son trudging towards the courtroom in ankle cuffs with a warder in tow.
Findings revealed that these youths were involved in various crime ranging from drug abuse, cultism, rape, burglary, robbery, politically motivated violence, conflict related violence such as involvement in communal clashes etcetera.
This development, no doubt, reflects the growing rate of youths involvement in crimes and social vices in Kwara State, in the contemporary times. The issue of drug abuse among youths in the state particularly Ilorin, the state capital is a sad narrative, which calls for concern.
Still fresh in our memories is the Indian hemp carnival organised sometime ago by a group of secondary school students in Ilorin, who also had the audacity to print flyers to create awareness for their herrondous expedition, which however served as their undoing because they were rounded up by the police during the ungodly ceremony.
Cult war and gang violence has also exacerbated insecurity in the state, threatening peaceful ambience, Kwara at large is widely known for. Many promising lives have been cut short in their prime as a result of cult attacks, most of which were carried out in broad daylight.
Cultism which was hitherto confined to tertiary institutions in the past has infiltrated the society; artisans, miscreants and secondary school students among others have swell up membership of fraternity societies. This is a worrisome trend which calls for concern of government and the good people of Kwara State.
Another problem besetting the society is the problem of internet scam popularly known as Yahoo Yahoo. A large number of youths in the State have taken to this social vice. The rich yahoo boys are seen as role models and many of their peers fancy their lifestyle and want to be like them. It is for this reason that our society is breeding a generation of internet fraudsters.
Surprisingly, some parents are aware that their children are involved in the new trend of scam without cautioning them against it. The trend has even advanced beyond the ordinary cyber crime level to what is generally known as Yahoo Plus, which entails rituals.
Various rituals, which sometimes require killing, use of body parts etcetera, are employed to get regular income from their victims.
It is saddening that youthful exuberance is fast destroying the lives of potential future leaders.
Aside youthful exuberance, peer pressure is also a factor of youth involvement in crime. Unfortunately parents nowadays do not mind the company their children keep. The declining moral latitude is as well contributory factor.
Nevertheless, the role of the family cannot be undermined in stemming social crime in the society, as parents must brace up to their responsibility of instilling high moral values in their children. The exuberances and excesses of youth can be checked by parents and guardians as it strongly believed that charity begins at home. Laxity on the part of the parents, in terms of training their children, is largely responsible for the unfortunate situation. Parents must therefore find ways of engaging their children productively because an idle hand is the devil's workshop.
Since drug abuse is said to be the root cause of most social vices, it behooves the state government to curtail free access to hard drug.
Since it is known fact that the youth have raw energy which could be channeled to vices if not harnessed positively, the state government can also promote active involvement of youth in maintaining peace and security.
This is essential given the fact that we are approaching the election year and the fear is that some of these unemployed youths may make themselves available as ready tools to disgruntled politicians for political violence and election malpractices.
The Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed led administration should look at ways of addressing the problems militating against youths generally, chief among which is unemployment. Most youths are pushed into social vices as a result of the myriad of problems and harsh realities which include poverty, unemployment, conflicts, that pose great challenges to them and their survival.
The role of youth in development of any society cannot be downplayed or undermined, hence the reason premium attention should be paid to their welfare and well being by government at all levels.