THE EFFECT OF INSECURITY ON THE EMOTIONAL BEHAVIOUR OF SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN THE NORTH CENTRAL STATES OF NIGERIA
This paper examines the effect of insecurity on the secondary schools in the north central states in Nigeria with particular focus on the students’ emotional behaviour. In the last decade, Nigeria has witnessed various potholes of insecurity and some kind of religious or political war that has greatly influenced the sensibility of every sane individual across the globe. The effect of this, especially on the female gender, children and the aged had been grievous and devastating. Recently, the abduction of over 200 school girls from a government college in Chibok, Borno state, Nigeria by a religious fundamentalists group gave terrorism and other criminal violence a new dimension and trend in Nigeria. It also portrays a great danger not only to Nigerian child but to all humanity residing in Nigeria. Unfortunately, instead of the situation to mitigate, it is rather worsening and the psychological effect on genders can only but imagined – from loss of life, displacement of persons, mental stress amongst others. The paper calls for a holistic approach including building a synergy amongst security agencies, enhance security awareness within the society, partnering with foreign forces and using concerted dialogue to end the menace amongst others as way forward in tackling the menace of political violence and war in Nigeria.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In any education system, peace and tranquillity is an antidote for a successful teaching and learning. In recent times, however, millions of school children in Nigeria are caught up in conflicts that result to insecurity not only of their school attendance but to their lives and property. Regular school attendance is crucial to education and development of school children in any country. There is always negative impact on the educational development of the child, the school and the community when children do not attend school regularly.
Because of this, there are laws in many countries that require a child to attend school until eighteen years of age. A child who attends school regularly is likely to learn more and become more successful in school than those who do not. Parents who make regular school attendance a priority also are helping their children to learn. In addition, regular school attendance is an important ingredient for academic success and a successful life.
School attendance habit is formed early in life. A child who develops good attendance habit in the early years of education is more likely to continue throughout the school career. In addition, a child who misses school has missed a carefully planned sequences of instruction. Patrick (2012) observes that such a child misses active learning experiences and class participation, the opportunity to ask questions and is more likely to fall behind and drop out of the school. It is in the light of this that Fafunwa (1983) notes in the early 1980s that dropout was one of the most serious problems that have continued to bedevil the Nigerian educational system from the colonial administration up to independence in 1960 and even beyond. Different organizations and governments have advanced a variety of definitions of human security. The United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) defines human security as freedom from fear and wants (Okorie, 2011). Japanese foreign policy’s view on human security may include all the menaces that threaten human survival, daily life and dignity – for example, environmental degradation, violations of human rights, transnational organized crime in illicit drugs, refugees, poverty, anti-personnel land mines and other infectious diseases such as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
There are no agreed definitions of what precisely insecurity is, but there is a general agreement that insecurity is linked to chronic threats of disease, hunger, terrorism and poverty. Therefore, insecurity and poverty cannot be divorced from each other. Severe levels of poverty may expose people to all kinds of security threats. Poor people in developing countries frequently face relatively high risks from such things as domestic violence, crime, sickness and unemployment (McCawley, 2004). Nigeria in our current democratic dispensation is faced with different kinds of threats such as armed robbery, kidnapping, political thugs, ethno-religious conflicts, organized violent groups, economic based violence, gender-based violence, sexual abuse, trafficking and recently the menace of Boko Haram (Ibrahim, 2002).
In recent times, Yobe State and Damaturu Metropolis in particular and some parts of northern Nigeria have been experiencing security threats because of the activities of Boko Haram, which means ‘western education is sin’. The activities of this group alone have forced many children of formal education to abandon school in an already ill-educated and disadvantaged region. Eric (2012) reports that it is not just the pupils or students at the targeted schools that end up being affected, teachers and others are also affected. As a result of insecurity, school enrolment in the region has gone down by 28 percent more than any other region in the country (Bwala, 2012). According to the Nigerian Education Data Survey (NEDS, 2010) as cited in Saleh (2011) constant attacks makes it even harder for teachers and other stakeholders to persuade parents to allow their children stay on at school. The issue of insecurity in northern Nigeria has compelled school children to drop out of the school. Fafunwa (1983) notes that dropout is one of the most serious problems that have continued to bedevil the Nigerian educational system from the colonial administration up to independence in 1960 and even beyond. This view is supported by Patrick (2012) who observes that in the west coast of Africa, a considerable proportion of student dropout of schools each year. The effects of insecurity on school attendance in northern Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. Survey by both the print and electronic media indicates that over 85% of the school children in Borno State do not attend school due to insecurity in the State (Bwala, 2012). Criminal activities perpetuated in Nigeria are always attributed to youths who dropped out of school. Sadly, the dropouts of schools in Damaturu metropolis of Yobe State are on the increase daily because of insecurity in the State. Scenario tends to suggest that the future of the Nigerian child especially in the north and Damaturu in particular who drop out of school is in serious danger and thus, need a very serious attention.
Apart from negative impact of insecurity on school attendance leading to school dropout as well as economic and social problems it has caused the nation, Okorie (2011) observes that Nigerians are constantly bedevilled with fears of one attack by one extremist group or the other. Hostage taking, bomb throwing (explosion) and violent crimes are now part of the daily life of Nigerians (Fasan, 2011). It is in light of the above that Okpaga,
Chijioke and Innocent (2012) observe that Nigeria as a nation must make concerted efforts to raise the educational attainment of all its youths who are the leaders of tomorrow especially those that are deprived of regular school attendance because of insecurity and conflicts. The hope for the country seems to be grim if children cannot go to school.
There has been a lot of worry over the present insecurity in the country and its effect on the emotional behaviour of secondary schools in the north central states, Nigeria in particular. No one can deny the fact that economic activities, movement of people, goods and services have been seriously hampered by the activities of terrorist from 2009 to date. The worst of it all is that pupils of school age in their millions are out of school in the State due to insecurity situation. This is due to frequent bombing, killing of young and old, male and female including school pupils, burning of worship places, schools, and sound of gunshots. The effects of insecurity in the State seem to be enormous not only on parents, the school and the society but especially on the school pupils.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Studies have shown that insecurity on the emotional behaviour of secondary schools and war have negative effects on the children, and these include heightened aggression and violence, revenge seeking, anxiety, depression, withdrawal, sleep disorder, fear and panic, poor school performance and involvement in criminal violence (Sagi-Swartz, Seginer & Adeen, 2008; Quota, Runmaki & El-Sarraj, 2008). More so, children are found to be victimized by or witness to different kinds of political violence and war especially in the community where the family lives (Richters & Martinez, 1993b). In most African countries like Liberia,
Congo, Sierra Leone, Algeria, Angola, Ethiopia, Senegal, Sudan, Uganda etc. children are seen to have been recruited into militant camps and actually carry gun to kill their fellow citizens. About a third of world’s children soldiers are found in Africa. It is important to understand that child soldering which is rampant in Africa is a result of war, insurgency, insecurity, and others. Parents have the hard task of monitoring the behaviour and activities of children to avoid the risk of anti-social behaviour during moments of insecurity and war (Mazefsky& Farrel, 2005; Okolie, 2005). The risks in which children, women and the aged are exposed to and the effects can be long lasting in the society. It is against this background that the study seeks to ascertain the effect of insecurity on emotional behaviour of secondary schools in the north central states of Nigeria and to proffer possible solutions to curbing insecurity.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Survey by the print and electronic media on insecurity in the State has showed insignificant empirical evidence. Based on this knowledge gap therefore, the study raised the following questions:
1. What is the level of school attendance under the crisis situation in the north?
2. Do Parents and teachers significantly differ on impact of insecurity on attendance of school pupils? This question was amenable to hypothesis testing.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The effect of insecurity on the emotional behaviour of secondary schools in the north central states of Nigeria is significant in the following ways:
The study would assist the government to be proactive in tackling insecurity and insurgency in Nigeria as a whole.
The study would be of immense benefit to the secondary schools student in the north central states of Nigeria to be very conscious of their environment and to report any security challenges to the appropriate security personnel.
The study would be of immense benefit to the various stakeholders in security matters for policy making.
The study would also be of immense benefit to the scholars who want to carry for research on the same subject matter in the nearest future.
1.6 STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESES
The following hypothetical statement were tested for the purpose of this study.
H0: Parents and teachers do not significantly differ on the effect of insecurity on secondary school in the north central states of Nigeria
Ha: Parents and teachers significantly differ on the effect of insecurity on secondary school in the north central states of Nigeria
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Insecurity- is a feeling of uncertainty, a lack of confidence or anxiety about oneself
Emotion- ‘‘is a complex psychological state involves three distinct components; a subjective experience, a physiological response and a behavioural or expressive response’’
Insurgency- a usually violent attempt to take control of a government or a rebellion or uprising.
Terrorism- is unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government or its citizens to further certain political or social objectives.
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