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Insecurity: Adopt non-violence approach to end banditry, youth violence, University Don tells Buhari, Govs

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President Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to adopt a non-violent approach to solve increasing wave of youth violence across the country.

Professor of Development Psychology at the University of Ibadan, Grace Adejuwon who gave the advice said while it is good to invest in weaponry, Governors and President Muhammadu Buhari should adopt indigenous forms of conflict settlement and engage warring groups to de-escalate violence in the country.

Delivering the 494th University of Ibadan Inaugural lecture entitled ‘Where Art Thou?’ she said: “Cultures that do not provide non-violent alternatives for resolving conflicts appear to have higher rates of youth violence.”

While reporting her research findings on youth violence in Nigeria, Professor Adejuwon stated that growing “income inequality, rapid demographic changes in the youth population, and urbanisation have all been positively linked with youth violence.”

The Professor of Development Psychology, who identified many missing links in the way Nigeria is organised and governed, added that government must urgently check the growing number of out-of-school children and substance abuse prevalent in the country stating that “many predictors of violent behaviour are predictors of other problems, such as substance abuse, delinquency, school dropout, and teen pregnancy.”

She noted that broken homes and poorly managed family conflicts have contributed to juvenile delinquency and initiation of many youths into violent gangs involved in armed banditry, kidnapping, and terrorism.

She said: “Another factor parental conflict in early childhood a low level of attachment between parents and children for example a mother who had her first child at an early age experiencing parental separation or divorce at a young age. Some other factors are low level of family cohesion, low socioeconomic status of the family. Associating with delinquent peers has also been linked to violence in young people as well as membership of a gang. Today, in Nigeria, more people are more likely being lost daily to brutal killings than recorded for the globally ​dreaded COVID-19.

“Perhaps, this tendency to derive benefit from causing harm to other people as expressed in kidnapping, banditry and ritual murders have been developed as externalising behaviour​ ​ in childhood. Externalising behaviour (‘acting out’) may include physical aggression, non-compliance, verbal bullying, lying, under-controlled behaviour, disruptive behaviour, vandalism, defiance, theft and antisocial behaviour directed at others. Childhood externalising behaviour has been described as a behavioural problem that is a major risk factor for later juvenile delinquency, adult crime, and violence.”

She then asked governments at all levels to increase social support targeted at frustrated Nigerian youths who are battling unemployment and poverty, saying that provision of employment opportunities would improve their psychological being and the nurturing of non-violent youths.

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