Nanaghan Adesola Peter, PhD

Nigerian College of Accountancy, Kwall, Jos, Plateau State.

Omiepriye Idiong, PhD

Institute of Governance and Development Studies

Nasarawa State University Keffi,


Gbadamosi Bolanle Iyabode, PhD

Institute of Governance and Development Studies,

Nasarawa State University Keffi

Phone: +234-8039454878



Most of the poor are led to crime because of their relative deprivation and acute sense of want (Townsend, 1970). This observation seems to tally largely with the existing reality in Nigeria today where a person’s worth in life and his contribution to society is solely measured by his wealth. This study examined the Consequences of Poverty and Youth Criminal Behavior in Jos South Local Government Area, Plateau State, Nigeria. Te major objective of this study is to examine the Consequences of Poverty and Youth Criminal Behavior in Jos South Local Government Area, Plateau State, Nigeria. From the findings of the study, parents play down their parental responsibilities by dehumanizing the youths and exposing them to hazards and risks of criminal behaviours, it shows that poverty is the root cause of youth criminal behavior in the study area, since the household’s financial standard of their parents is low. The study adopted the Anomie and Social Control Theories. The study therefore, recommends that Government should look at the factors that led to the vicious cycle of causes of poverty and criminal behaviors of youths in the study area, parents should not neglect their responsibilities of taking good care of their children.

Keywords: Youth, Criminal Behavior, Poverty


The incidence  and  severity  of  poverty  are  higher  among  households  in  Nigeria (Akerele et al. 2012) and a greater percentage of the Nigerian population lives in poverty, despite the huge wealth in the country (Holmes et al., 2012). This is because high poverty income and poor asset distribution, unequal access to basic infrastructure and services like education and health still persist in Nigeria (Holmes et al. 2012). Poverty  remains  a  socio-economic  problem  that  may  increase  criminal  risk  as  rapid urbanization  is  taking  place  in  Nigeria  (Odumosu, 1999). Criminal activities in a society are characterized by prolonged poverty (Huang et al. 2004). That is, crime related matters may disrupt the development course (Mehlum et al., 2005) like economic growth (Mauro & Carmeci, 2007). More so, studies have shown relationship exist between crime and poverty.

Jos South is a Local Government Area in Plateau State, Nigeria. It houses the Governor’s office in Rayfield and can thus be described as the de facto capital of plateau state. Its headquarters are in the town of Bukuru at 9°48′00″N 8°52′00″E. It has an area of 510 km² and a population of 306,716 at the 2006 census. Poverty has a great influence on the crime rate in the Jos South Local Government Area. Poverty can be in state where there is lack of the basic resources needed to maintain a good quality of life. Most of the inhabitants of the area are regarded as the privileged, as accommodation and other things are expensive there, as well as the imposing lifestyle of those who live there. However, the area is not devoid of pockets of settlement occupied by the poor such as Mai-Adiko, Fwavai, Area One, Rayfield resort area where there are poor youths that are prone to criminal behaviors. Part of the economic activity of the city has also moved to Rayfield due to the civil unrest in other parts of the city and as expected there has been an increase in crime rate in this part of Jos in recent times because the less privileged youths who have potential for crime find their way there, day and night, as the environment provides them the opportunity to carry out their criminal activities.The seriousness of youth offences in Rayfield today therefore calls for urgent solution. There is therefore the need to assess the relationship between poverty amongst the youths in Jos South Local Government Area and their criminal behavior in order to proffer meaningful solutions to reduce crime in the State.

Currently, there has been an upsurge in the frequency of unemployment in Nigeria which has caused fear among the citizens as security of lives and properties can no longer be guaranteed because idleness is the devils workshop (Egwu and Nwogbo-Egwu, 2016). Youth (people who fall in the age bracket 15-35 years) can be said to be or understood as a stage of transition between childhood and adulthood. Nearly half of all people in the world today are under the age of 31 (ICRW 2001).The youth stage is the middle rung in the ladder of life in a human population, it links the infancy and `adulthood’ stages together (Webster 2004). They often constitute a major part of the total population of any nation. The success of a vibrant society is based on youth development and any stumbling block to this could constitute a limitation to youth education and hence national development. When there is a growing crime rate among the youths there is hence a serious problem that must be tackled. The various offences committed by youths as identified by Hirschi (2002) and Simatwa (2012) are homicide, rape, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, larceny and based on the Nigerian society include stealing, loitering about and burglary, murder, abortion, keeping fire arms, sexual harassment among others. The causes of these offences according to researchers are unemployment, broken home, peer influence personality traits and bad environment (Hirschi, 2002).

Government through the Plateau Peace Building Agency, has set up machinery to stem the activities of youth criminal activities within the Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State.

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