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NIGERIAN DEMOCRACY AND CHALLENGES OF VIOLENCE AMONG SECONDARY


SCHOOL STUDENTS: IMPLICATIONS FOR EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN
NIGERIA

BY
BASHIRU MUHAMMAD LIMAN
08065878471
bashirulimandingyadi@gmail.com
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIOS, SCHOOL OF EDUCATION,
SHEHU SHAGARI COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, SOKOTO
&
BASHIRU USMAN DINGYADI
07066696535
DINGYADI BODINGA LOCAL GOVERNMENT, SOKOTO STATE.

BEING A PAPER PRESENTED AT 2ND NORTH CENTRAL ZONAL ANNUAL


CONFERENCE.
THEME: DEMOCRACY AND THE POLITICAL CLASS IN NIGERIA: A CHALLENGE
FOR SOCIAL STUDIES AND CIVIC EDUCATORS.
VENUE: GADO NASKO HALL, NIGER STATE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION.
DATE: 2ND-6TH NOVEMBER, 2013.
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Abstract
Education and democracy appear to operate on the same pedestal. They are inseparable, each
complimenting the other. They seem to share nexus of social relationship in a form of two-way
traffic if viewed from the perspective of achieving an egalitarian society. Education is considered
to be the best investment any government can give to its citizens, which finally results in human
capital development through capacity building for self-actualization. It is an agent of social
change, political culture and moral standard, for self-discovery and the right to be assertive
especially in political participation. But this assertion seems to be story because of the adverse
effect of violence among students in most of the Nigerian institutions. Students who experience
violence exhibit a variety of behavioral and emotional problems that ranges from academic
difficulties to approval of violence as a problem solving method, poverty, racism, displacements
and hunger as well as involvement in religious, ethnic, economic and political crises. The paper
suggested that: There is also need for private and non-governmental organization to introduce
programmes that are aimed at sensitizing the youths and entire society on the danger of violence
on our national life, thereby providing some programmes that will facilitate leaving in peace and
harmony so as to compliment government efforts in that direction.

Key words: Democracy, Violence, Educational development


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Introduction

Nigerias return to Democracy in 1999 rekindled new hopes and expectations among the

populace about the possibility of new political arrangement providing the institutions context for

the resolution of many and varied challenges that have stunted the process of National

development (Mahmud, 2010).such challenges include ( but not limited to ) endemic corruption,

fallen standard of Education, widespread incidence of violent crimes, the lingering crises in

Niger Delta, high rate of poverty and Unemployment, gender inequality, infrastructural decay,

ethnic-religious crises, Boko haram problem in the North-east, prevalence of diseases such as

malaria, poliomyelitis, HIV/AIDS among others (Obanya, 2008). In the context of Democratic

Government one of the major duties of Government is to provide social amenities as well as

enabling environment for citizens to acquire quality academic training that would enable them to

realize their full potentials for the sustenance of viable economy.

Education and Democracy appear to operate on the same pedestal. They are inseparable,

each complimenting the other. They seem to share nexus of social relationship in a form of two-

way traffic if viewed from the perspective of achieving an egalitarian society. Mimiko (2010)

speaking on the importance of Education for national development, he stated that; there is no

ground to contend the fact that Education is very crucial to a productive human life because it is

a systematic, intellectual and moral training that is geared towards obtaining the development of

character, mental power and qualities that will ensure human survival. From the above fact, it

could be inferred that Education is a key factor in the transformation of any society

educationally, socially, politically or otherwise. Ironically Education as currently observed in

our society has been bedeviled with so much problems, inadequacies, irregularities, decadence
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and abuse. Though Education is regarded to builds the foundations for good citizenship, respect

for self and others, democratic values and tolerance of opinions.

The occurrence of violence in one form or the other permeates our life today, and

majority of the perpetrators are youths. Children who grew up in a family or society where there

is violence, often become violent themselves and in a bid to curtail the aggressive behavior either

by parents or school authority become frustrated and may either leave home or drop out of

school, life is no longer secured as these youth serve as instrument of violence in political

matters, or hired as assassins; partake in armed robbery, bullying, raping and cultism. (Shinding,

2005).Violence has adverse effects on individual, families, and society in general, the multi-

dimensional effects of violent, socially; educationally; psychologically and physiologically; has a

case for serious investigation in recent times.

Nevertheless, Secondary School Students seem to constitute the greater percentage of

the recipient of the adverse effect of violence. A study conducted by the office of Juveniles

Justice and Delinquency Prevention in Geneva Switzerland, found that 70% of adolescents live

in families with parental conflict, and self-reported violent delinquency, compared to 49% of

adolescents from household without this conflict (Carter, 2004). Secondary School adolescents

are saddled with the vigors of acquiring an Education, which is multi-dimensional in nature,

comprising of knowledge base, society based, subject based, teacher and learner oriented and of

course extra curricula based. This implies the challenges of dealing with acquisition of

knowledge and its integration in the midst of the traumatic period of adolescence.

Education is considered to be the best investment any government can give to its citizens,

which finally results in human capital development through capacity building for self-
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actualization. The importance of Education in the socio-economic transformation of any nation

cannot be overemphasized. It is an agent of social change, political culture and moral standard,

for self-discovery and the right to be assertive especially in political participation (Onyetube,

2010). As the oldest industry, Education act as the major instrument used by society to preserve,

maintain and upgrade its social equilibrium, as such since Education provide training in physical

character, intellectual, social and vocational development, societal future depends largely on the

quality of its citizens Educational attainment.

Concept of Democracy

Currently, Democracy is a very popular term, and people have not always found it very

attractive. However, evidence tend to suggest that people are more likely to express support for

Democracy when they see it working to provide genuine political competition, rule of law, and

when it has some effect in controlling corruption and meeting the basic needs of the society

(Diamond, 2009). As a concept Democracy has been subjected to strong academic debate by two

groups- the process democrats and the principle democrats. Based on these theories process

democrats do not see Democracy as having any theoretical base, rather they argue that

Democracy is simple way of making decisions and that it is nothing more than an agreement

among citizens that the majority vote will carry the issue or that one branch of government will

not encroach into the functions of another branch. While principle democrats argue that

Democracy has a very important theoretical base. The procedure of Democracy they believe is

important though secondary to the basic intent and objective of Democracy as expressed in

democratic theory (Baradat, 2008).

In liberal Democracy, the basic principles hold that the individual is of major importance

to the society, and that each has certain inalienable right such as life and liberty. As such,
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ultimate philosophical goals of democracy appear more important than the means to achieve

those goals. Diamond (2009) noted that democracy creates the economic space that enlarges the

middle class and raises level of education and information among the general public.

Concept of Violence

The concept of Violence has no single and generally acceptable definitions, it depends

largely on individuals perceptions and understanding of the concepts, violence is widespread

and occurs among the entire socio-economic group. UNIFEM, (1997:1) sees it as a pattern of

abusive and threatening behavior that may include physical, emotional, economic and sexual

violence as well as intimidation, isolation and coercion. This Violence have continued

manifesting themselves in different forms such as religious, political, ethnic, tribal resources

control and communal land disputes. Violence is simply a tool, with this framework, that the

perpetrator uses to gain greater power in the relationship to deter or trigger specific behaviors,

win arguments, or demonstrate dominance.

Imam (2002), described the Violence as the application of which injures or hurts people.

According to article 1 of the declaration of the U N General assembly, Violence against women

includes any act of gender-violence that result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or

psychological harm or suffering to women including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary

deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life (UN General Assembly, 2006).

Ethnic Violence therefore implies the physical, psychological and moral violence inflicted on

individual which is meant to the community as a whole specifically the identify group of which

that individual is a member. Campus Violence according to Olurode and Soyombo (2004) as

unruly behavior by its perpetrators to express dissatisfaction or anger against some social issues

deemed to have negatively affected them. It is an aggressive behavior which usually involves
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physical and coercive force inflicting wounds on erring and innocents persons. Violent behavior

among adolescents may be as well being in the characteristics of adolescents. Violence is defined

as an intentional behavior aimed at causing either physical or psychological pain

The World Health Organization (WHO, 2002), defines Violence as the intentional use of

physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself and another person, or against a

group or community that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death,

psychological harm, mal-development or deprivation. Since the last decade, there have been

reported cases of Violence on Nigerian Students such as torture, kidnapping, shooting, sexual

harassment, rape, corporal punishment and so on. In response to a global in-depth study of

Violence against children was commissioned by the united nation secretary general as directed

by the general assembly resolution 57/90 of 2002 to provide a global picture. The report

provided information that various types of Violence exist against children within the family,

schools, alternative care institutions, detention facilities, places where children and adolescent

work for communities.

Challenges of Violence among Secondary School Students

Violence has severe implications for Students development. It can affect Students

health, their ability to learn or even their willingness to go School. It can lead Students to run

away from home, exposing them to further danger. Violence also Destroy Childs self-

confidence and esteem and undermines their ability to grow into well-adjusted adults. Students

subjected to violence are prone to depression and suicide in later life. In most cases, Violence

Lead to injury and death (UNICEF, 2007). According to UN Secretary generals survey on

Violence against Children, the consequences of violence can be devastating. These include, brain

injuries, bruises and fractures, poor interpersonal relationship and communication, learning
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problem, emotional/psychological problems like anxiety, depression, aggression or attempted

suicide, use of drugs, sexual indulgence and health problems such as HIV/AID and sexually

transmitted infections (STDs). Above all, most of the impacts can result in early death while

those who survive lives with physical and emotional scars.

There are numerous challenges of Violence among Secondary School Students in

Nigeria, which include but not limited to; James and Guilliland (2005) behooved that, Students

who experience Violence exhibit a variety of behavioral and emotional problems that ranges

from academic difficulties to approval of Violence as a problem solving method, poverty,

racism, pollution, displacements and hunger. Other challenges of Violence include Students and

teachers strike that lead to epileptic change in the academic calendar, arm- robbery, in which

some Students have become professionals in looting and killing instead of healthy academic

competitions; sexual harassment from both randy Teachers and as well as Students in moral

laxity to sort out their academic failures and of course, the serious violent actions of cultism in

the Nigerian campuses, Truancy, Violence at school, drug use, alcohol, runaways, teen

pregnancy.

In an attempt to give out the possible challenges of Violence, Ellsberg (2006) maintained

that violence have physical, social, economic, behavioral, health as well as psychological

consequences on Students. UNICEF (2007), point out that Violence is more likely to

compromise learning because it increases fear, anxiety, and absenteeism as well as dropping out

of school.

Generally, the effects of Violence in the society are numerous, which ranges from, loss of

lives and property; the displacement of people from increasing tensions in inter-community
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relations; development of culture violence; and so on. Violence in the society mostly affects the

weaker ones and in most cases it is the Women and Children who suffer most. It is confirmed

that exposure to events that are so extreme or severe and threatening, that they demand

extraordinary coping efforts, which are always not adequate in many individuals. In many cases

such developments lead to the death of the abused individual. The phenomenon produces general

aggressive behavior in the society, the incidence of one form of Violence in the society lead to

another form of Violence; many children who are physically abused in the society have the

greater tendency of being involved into violent crimes during adulthood and in later life.

Children who grew up in a family or society where there is Violence, often become violent

themselves and in a bid to curtail their aggressive behavior by Parents, School authority and

societal members, become frustrated and may either leave home or drop out of school (Liman,

2012).

Violence and Education

The School which is a social institution is meant to transmit the culture of the society

from one generation to another and improve the culture by producing generation of peoples

capable of making meaningful contributions to the development of the society. The School helps

the Child to develop the desired moral values, which are necessary for his acceptance and

survival in the society. The School provides the child with skills necessary for the survival.

In line with the above functions of School in the society, the Violence in the School have

significant effects on the academic achievements of Secondary School Students, which will in

turn affect the Educational Development, in fact School is the central agent of any School

academic achievement, the effect of Violence in the School directly or indirectly tend to

compound or worsen the situation and disposition to Educational achievements. Kolawole and
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Maureen (2009) in their research title effects of domestic violence on the academic achievements

of Secondary School adolescents in Jos metropolis revealed that growing up in a domestically

Violent environment; jealousy and poverty are the major causes of Violence among Secondary

School Students. They further went ahead to say that domestically violated Secondary School

adolescents are psychologically traumatized in class and they live in fear, perform poorly in their

academics, they lack the required moral supports in their Educational pursuits, their Educational

is inhibited as a result of their Parental financial squabbles and they also suffer from inferiority

complex and low self-esteem.

On the economic side, there are indications that the issue of the failure of Democracy in

Nigeria to spur socio-economic development has been blamed largely on the poor state of the

economy. The direct challenges of political violence to the countrys Education manifest

themselves in connection to the following: strikes and closure of Schools, moral decadence in

Schools, curriculum, and Educational policies as well as provision Educational infrastructure. In

a similar vein, Obanya (2004) argued that Education and Democracy are closely related, since

Democracy implies access to basic human rights and Education is one of the human rights.

Democratic Education should provide equal opportunities to all irrespective of state, religion,

ethnicity, economic or social status, and mental capacity. In fact, the relationship between

Education and Democracy cannot be under estimated.

Conclusion

Viewing from the discussion so far made on the relationship between Democracy and

Violence among Secondary School Students, it is very clear that violence among Secondary

School Students has significant impact on the Educational development of the Students

especially in the Nigerian Democratic dispensation, such that the direct challenges of political
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violence to the countrys Education manifest themselves in connection to the following: strikes

and closure of schools, moral decadence in schools, curriculum, and Educational policies as well

as provision Educational infrastructure. Based on this fact that, the paper discusses the concept of

violence as the application of which injures or hurts people. According to article 1 of the

declaration of the U N General assembly, Violence against women includes any act of gender-

Violence that result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering

to women including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether

occurring in public or private life.

Democracy as a concept has been describe as a simple way of making decisions and that

it is nothing more than an agreement among citizens that the majority vote will carry the issue or

that one branch of government will not encroach into the functions of another branch. Violence

among Secondary School Students and relationship between Education and Democracy such as

the violence in the school have significant effects on the academic achievements of Secondary

School Students, which will in turn affect the Educational Development, in fact School is the

central agent of any School academic achievement, the effect of violence in the School directly

or indirectly tend to compound or worsen the situation and disposition to Educational

achievements.

Suggestions

Based on the above discussion on the Nigerian Democracy and Challenges of Violence

among Secondary School Students: Implications for Educational Development, the paper

suggests the following:


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1. There is need to promote sense of responsibility and fight corruption and sectionalism

right from the basic level of our Educational Institutions as well as among our political

leaders.

2. There is need for private and non-governmental organization to introduce programmes

that are aimed at sensitizing the youths and entire society on the danger of Violence on

our national life, thereby providing some programmes that will facilitate leaving in peace

and harmony so as to compliment government effort in that direction.

3. Government should post guidance and Counsellor to each and every Secondary School in

Sokoto State, so as to reduce the menace of violence among Students.

4. Good moral values should be inculcated in our School curriculum, where all the social

vices and ills such as sentiments, regionalism, ethnic and religious differences should be

taking care up, so as to leave in peace not only among Secondary School Students but the

entire nation at large.


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