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Juvenile delinquency is seen as one of the menace that destroys life and
property in our society today. Because of the nature of crime committed
by juvenile parents, guidance, sponsors and well wishers are worried and
disturbed about our future leaders. Crime associated with juvenile
include: rape, stealing, kleptomanism, burglary, disobedience, homicide,
truancy, vandalization and robbery etc. therefore, this study seeks to look
at the nature and consequences of juvenile delinquency. The objective of
this study aims at finding out why juvenile engage in delinquent act, why
juvenile offenders continue in crime after being punished or sanctioned,
what Nigeria government needs to do inorder to improve or educate
juvenile about crime and the negative impact of crime on individual and
society at large. However, the expected outcome of this study is that to
reduce or eradicate juvenile delinquency in our society government and
voluntary organization should be involved in the following ways:
Government should provide employment opportunities for youths,
greater thought should be given to setting up more amenities in the rural
areas, stoppage of pornographic films and some American films, where
our youths learns techniques in stealing and destroying properties,
parents should adopt method of positive and negative reinforcement and
government should educate or enlightening parent on the effects of
unmet needs like starvation (food), parental care and affection etc. on
their children to enable them (parents) make adjustment. Method of data
collection used in this study was only questionnaire.
Title Page – – – – – – – – i
Approval Page – – – – – – – ii
Dedication – – – – – – – – iii
Acknowledgement- – – – – – – iv
Abstract – – – – – – – – vi
Table of Contents – – – – – – – vii
1.1 Background to the Study – – – – – 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem- – – – – 3
1.3 Research Questions – – – – – 5
1.4 Objectives of the Study – – – – – 5
1.5 Significance of the Study – – – – – 6
1.6 Definition of Terms – – – – – 7
2.1 An Overview of Juvenile Delinquency – – 9
2.2 Causes of Juvenile Delinquency in Nigeria – – 10
2.2.1 Biological Cause – – – – – – 10
2.2.2 Parental Cause – – – – – – 11
2.2.3 Societal Cause – – – – – – 12
2.3 Consequences of Juvenile Delinquency in Nigeria – 14
2.4 Review of Related Theories – – – – 15
2.4.1 Social Learning Theory – – – – – 15
2.4.2 Social Strain Theory – – – – – 16
2.4.3 Behavioural Theory – – – – – 17
2.5 Theoretical Framework – – – – – 18
3.1 Research Design – – – – – – 19
3.2 Study Area – – – – – – – 20
3.3 Population of the Study – – – – – 20
3.4 Sample Size – – – – – – – 21
3.5 Sampling Technique – – – – – 21
3.6 Instruments for Data Collection – – – – 21
3.7 Method of Data Collection – – – – 22
ANALYSIS – – – – 23
4.1 Presentation of Personal Characteristic of
Respondents- – – – – – – 24
4.2 Analysis of Research Questions- – – – 26
5.1 Summary – – – – – – – 37
5.2 Conclusion – – – – – – – 38
5.3 Recommendation – – – – – – 38
REFERENCES – – – – – – – 40
APPENDIX – – – – – – – 42
1.1 Background to the Study
Juvenile delinquency is that behaviour on the part of children
which may, under the law, subject those children to juvenile court.
Tappan (1972:12) assert that “the nature of juvenile delinquency sprang
up from different abnormal behaviour such as stealing, drunkenness,
burglary, robbery, rape, homicide, idleness, truancy, prostitution,
disobedience, running away from home, kleptomanism and sexual
promiscuity. Furthermore, it is nothing but a fact to say that juvenile
offenders who after serving a good or complete numbers of his or her
punishment in prison and still continue in deviance is because they are
associated with adult prisoners. In this regard Mr. Sanusi, project
Director of Lawyers continued Education Project (LAWCEP)
maintained that “in our society, where the process of trial is delayed
unduly, the young offender spends more time with hardened criminals
than elsewhere.
Different forms of delinquency have been with man as far back as
we can think but modern trends have made them take a very sharp rise.
Glucks (1959) found out that juvenile delinquency is not a new
occurrence during adolescent years but rather a continuation of antisocial behaviours from childhood due to environmental subjections or
family problems affecting his mental development. That is to say that
there exit a close link between delinquency and the home environment of
the juvenile. The earliest known code of laws (the Code of Hammurabi)
took specific note of the duties of children to parents and prescribed
punishments for violations. As legal systems were elaborated, the age of
offenders continued to be important in defining responsibility for
criminal behaviour.
The Nigerian constitution of 1979 defines juvenile delinquency as
“a crime committed by a young person under the age of 18 years as a
result of trying to comply with the wishes of his peers or to escape from
parental pressure or certain emotional stimulation’. Before a youth in
Nigeria is classified a delinquent, he must have been arraigned before a
juvenile court and proved to be guilty of some offences. Examples of
such offences are habitual truancy, drug addiction, prostitution, stealing,
cultism, armed robbery etc. The consequences that juvenile delinquency
has caused to Nigerian society are not only devastating but numerous.
They destroy both lives and property and they also retard the growth of
this country.
Juvenile delinquency has also contributed to the bad image of our
country (Nigeria). For the fact that most of the delinquent want to get
rich quick, corruption and ritual killings has become the order of the day
in coming to our political sphere, they have turn politics into a do or die
affair where thuggery and fighting is the norm. This has made politics in
our country (Nigeria) a dangerous venture.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
If an investigation or a study is carried out about juvenile
delinquency in Nigeria, the result will definitely show that cases like
rampant stealing, armed robbery, prostitution, manslaughter, drug
addiction, vandalization, truancy, murder, rape, cultism, burglary and
kleptomanism and many other crimes and delinquent behaviour are
common among the youth.
Because of the alarming rate of juvenile delinquency in our
country today, governments, parents, guidance, sponsors, teachers,
moralists and well meaning Nigerians have all picked interest on its
adverse effects in our society. Also the increasing waves of juvenile
delinquency in our country place lives, properties and future of our
youth at stake. For example, in 1989, records of crime as reported by the
Lagos state police command revealed that youths between the ages of
thirteen (13) and twenty one (21) were responsible for adult. 13,782 out
of 26,259 crimes committed this year i.e. 1989 were juvenile. Such
crime ranges from shop looting, drug abuse, fighting, raping and stealing
The similar report also indicated that in the same year (1989) out
of 43,000 prisoners serving in various Nigerian prisons, over 23,000 of
them were aged between the ages of thirteen (13) and twenty five (25)
years. Therefore, this study seeks to look at the nature, consequences and
extent of juvenile delinquency in Nigeria among our youth.
1.3 Research Questions
The following research questions were used to guide this study:
1. Why do juvenile engage in delinquent acts?
2. Why do juvenile offenders continue in crime after being punished
or sanctioned?
3. How can Nigerian government improve or educate youth or
juvenile about crime?
4. What are the negative impacts of delinquent or crime on
individual and society at large?
1.4 Objective of the Study
The objective of this study is as follows:
1. To find out the extent why juvenile engage in delinquent acts.
2. To ascertain the extent juvenile offenders continue in crime after
being punished or sanctioned.
3. To find out what Nigerian government need to do in order to
improve or educate juvenile about crime.
4. To determine the negative impact of crime on individual and
society at large.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study looks at the nature and consequences of juvenile
delinquency in Nigeria. In all ramifications, the study does not claim the
fact that all Nigerian juvenile are criminals or culprits or law violators so
to say.
The study is very beneficial to learning and development
processes and helps our youth to be aware of those things that may lead
them to delinquent acts and avoid them. The study will also help parents,
guidance, sponsors etc to know those things they need to do inorder to
prevent their children from so called delinquent acts.
The study goes a long way to unleash those things our government
needs to do inorder to educate our juvenile and prevent them from future
delinquent acts. In conclusion, this study is significant because it seeks
to determine to what extent juvenile commit crime, why they continued
in delinquent act and as well as the result of their delinquent acts to
themselves and society at large.
1.6 Definition of Terms
Nature: This is defined as the usual way a person or an animal behaves
that is part of their character.
Consequence: This simply means a result of something that has
Juvenile: This refers to a person who has attained the age of 14 but is
under 17 years. That is a young person who is not yet an adult (Oxford
English Dictionary).
Delinquent: It is a person who deviates from or violated the stipulated
law that guides code of conduct of a particular country or society.
Juvenile Delinquency: Andy (1960:30) defined it as any social
deviation by a youth from the societal norms which results in his contact
with law enforcement agents. It is an act committed by a young person
which violated the stipulated law of that country or society.
Burglary: It is defined as a crime of entering a building illegally and
stealing things from it.
Robbery: It is defined as a crime of stealing money or goods from a
bank, shop/store, person etc especially using violence or threat.
Rape: This is simply a crime of forcing somebody to have sex with
him/her especially using threat or violence.
Homicide: This simply means a crime of killing somebody deliberately.
Stealing: This means an act of taking something from a person’s
shop/store, etc. without permission and without intending to return it or
pay for it.
Truancy: This simply means a practice of staying away from school
without permission. It is a crime to juvenile.
Disobedience: This is defined as a failure or refusing to do what a
person, law, order etc. tells.
Kleptomanism: It is simply a mental illness in which somebody has a
strong desire, which they cannot control in stealing things. It is common
among juvenile.


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