EFFECT OF MARITAL INSTABILITY AND DELINQUENT BEHAVIOUR. A STUDY OF ORIUZOR COMMUNITY

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

          We are aware of the dramatic change and destabilization of an age-long traditional system. The general acceptance of divorce since twentieth century has gone a long way increasing the number of marriage breakdown in a society today. Marital instability has not been treated as sin by most religious leaders and it is being accepted by various denominations. The rates of marital breakdown are uncounted because of the breakdown in the traditional norms and values of every society.

          Initially, nuclear family was the best family institution when it is properly engaged but the legalization of polygamous family by government in a society has developed the issue of sharing love to different women and creates hatred among them. There is variant of personalities in polygamous families. It is because of all these things that have been threatening social stability in a society.

          According to Anderson, (1971:36), since the family is the beginning and the most primary institution, where the child first makes his/her social contacts and from where he/she learns the rudiments of social behaviour; its disruption would have far reaching consequences both on the individuals or members of the family and society.

          Marriage institution is an institution established as a social system in the world which its formation is for the purpose of procreating new members of the family. It can be stipulated that without marriage there would not be any thing  like family and the progress of the society would be threatened.

          There are quite an enormous volume of literature on the problems of marital instability and disintegration of family structure. This issue has been extensively and largely analysed in a sociological books. The research will not waste time on the existence of marital instability. Efforts shall be rather being addressed towards examining and constituting the dimensions and pragmatic consequences of this malady.

          Marital instability in Nigeria is not a contemporary problem; it has been existence since the formation of the entity called Nigeria. This always observes when couples fail to successfully sustain their marital promises. Such failures result from factors such as super structure and emotional incompatibility. As society keep on modernizing, the cases of marital instability increases its rate.

          According to Okonkwo (1998:16), in Nigeria, the age for marriage among women from southern part of slightly over 15years, but in my area of study, Oriuzor community, it is about 20years now. Men get married between the ages of 20 and 40 years for the first? In life. Many marriages in Nigeria do not start out with so much love, many of them are contracted under customary law which guides marriages in the custom of the place where the women come from.

          To Haralmbus and Herald (1980:360), the lack of love and interference of culture between spouse added to the disruption in  marriage and has been categorized into family disorganization, which may be as a result of divorce, separation or what may be called empty shell marriage, where the spouses line together, remain legally married but their marriage exists in name only.

          In Nigeria, these forms of marital instability or breakdown exists in all community, especially Oriuzor in Ezza-North local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Marital instability has effects on, children behaviour which results to juvenile delinquency. Delinquent behaviour has increasingly presumed dangerous proportions of the society. It has been deemed to be the most problematic social fact in our present day society. Children no more give respect to their elders nor do they take instructions from their parents and teachers. Young men now engage themselves in stealing, excessive taking of alcohol, smoking, illicit sex dealing, truancy in schools, rioting , fighting, cultism etc.

  • STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

In this era, cases of husband and wife who are married, separate from each other for reason best known to them, which of course increases the rate of juvenile delinquency. The problem of marriage breakdown has prompted marital instability, since marriage is the foundation upon which family relationship is established. The union of man and woman in marriage leads to procreation of children. As a result, and instability in the relationship between the spouse affects significantly the up-bringing of such family.

One of the major social problem of Nigeria contemporary society is marital instability which leads to family breakdown. As a matter of fact, most social vices in our society today is attributed to the family. Psychologists like Bandura, Eysenek, Cattle and Murray believed that early childhood experience of the child at home has an enduring influence of his/her earlier personality.

Marital instability which seems to be household word now has been on the increase in Nigeria. It has brought dramatic and psychological problems to the parties involved. Often, there are more physical fights which culminate in injuries, ill-health and hospitalization of one of the spouses or their relatives. More over, the disrupted families are left with emotional threat which may be accompanied by some material or economic deprivations.(poverty).

Broken homes as an aspect of family disruption or marital instability affects the children in such a way that many of them lack proper up-bringing, hence, making the increasing rate of a child is primarily the responsibility of parents. There is no doubt that the environment of the child, especially at home could have manifold effects on the child’s development. A child born in a disrupted family will most likely see the world as full of conflict and instability. Moreover, the child will be denied of the congenial emotional and even marital needs for stable personality growth. Social scientists believed that a child born under such condition will grow up to be social misfit (Perhia 1975:14).

Marital instability does not only affect the emotional stability of the child, but even the general life chance. A child born under such circumstances may not have the opportunity of going to a better school or even to a school at all, since he/she may be abandoned to one of the parents who potentials may be unrealized, some times he/she suffers serious health hazards and malnutrition. In the light of this development, the questions that come to mind which the researcher sees as a problem that needs an empirical investigation are, what are the causes of marital instability that leads to juvenile delinquency and how? How could marital instability and juvenile delinquency be controlled? These and more questions prompted this research work.

  • RESEARCH QUESTIONS
  1. What are the causes of marital instability and delinquent behaviour?
  2. Are environmental factors responsible for delinquent behaviour and marital instability?
  3. Is poor educational background one of the factors for delinquent behaviour and marital instability?
  4. Is there any solution to delinquent behaviour and marital instability?
    • OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The research is bound to determine:

  1. The causes of marital instability in Nigeria especially in Oriuzor community in Ezza-north Local Government Area.
  2. The impact of marital instability in Nigeria, especially in Oriuzor Community
  3. The consequences of marital instability on the individual, family, society and especially children.
  4. How marital instability leads to delinquent behaviour.
  5. The relationship between marital instability and juvenile delinquency.
  6. The features of juvenile delinquency in society.
  7. The ways of inhibiting or curbing family disorder and juvenile delinquency in Nigeria especially in Oriuzor community.

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

          The word significance is a relative concept when we used it. The question is always important to whom and what? It is conviction of the researcher that this study shall be of great importance to different people for multifarious reasons.

          In the first place, it would help in no small dimension, in providing sound data charged with the responsibility of formulating policies on family planning, social welfare, and social control. This research finding shall also help in the area of public orientation and those in social control. They will not only see delinquents and deviants as biologically inferior but as people under social pressure generated by decaying social structure and this especially as witnessed in the feeble of marriage and family.

          For those who are intending to get married and even those already married, this research will help to educate them further about things to guard against and possibly far reaching consequences of such conditions. Marriage guidance and counseling units as well as family planning agents shall no doubt find this research invaluable. This research is significant for students, social workers, law enforcement agents etc.

          The findings of this research will help to enhance social workers’ knowledge of the causes of marital instability and its negative effects on delinquent behaviour in society, its impact on society and possible ways to inhibit it. They will be able to formulate relevant preventive measures as well as solutions for such social problems.

          Finally, it could be stated that this research shall also be significant to students and scholars interested in social problems. It will provide a basic frame work for researchers and hopefully open up a new areas of further research or for any replication.

1.6 STUDY HYPOTHESIS

          For the purpose of investigating some of the variables that are involved marital instability and juvenile delinquency in Oriuzor community, a number of hypothesis are put forward, to help research and buttress this work.

          These hypotheses are as follows:

Ho:- There is no relationship between delinquency and marital instability.

Hi:– There is a relationship between delinquency and marital instability.

Ho:– Juvenile delinquency and marital instability is not a consequences of poor parentage.

Hi:– Juvenile delinquency and marital delinquency is a consequences of poor parentage.

Ho:– Lack of quality education does not contribute to juvenile delinquency and marital instability.

Hi:– Lack of quality education does contribute to juvenile delinquency and marital instability.

Ho:– Poor socio-economic background does not lead to juvenile delinquency and marital instability

Hi:– Poor socio-economic background leads to juvenile delinquency and marital instability.

Ho:– Environmental factor does not contribute to juvenile delinquency and marital instability

Hi:– Environmental factor contribute to juvenile delinquency and marital instability.

Ho:– There are no measures to curb juvenile delinquency and marital instability

Hi:– There are measures to curb juvenile delinquency and marital instability.

1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS

          In order to make this research transparent, the researcher has deemed it necessary to define certain concepts that is in this study.

MARRIAGE

          Marriage is recognized to have some related qualities, it varies from one culture or group to another and every where new relationship are formed through marriage.

          Alyward (1973:181) defined marriage as a special and ultimate union between man and woman as such in which mating is an essential expression, in some sense sacred, which establishes enforceable rights between the partners which result in a special status for children, and generates relationships of consanguinity and affinity, and which implies that other forms of mating or intimacy are deviant. In other words, in this research, marriage will be taken to mean that union of man and woman for the purpose of developing a human family.

FAMILY:

          Hornby (1950:140), defines ‘family’ as parents and children; a group who are related. He also talks about a group of who are related. He also talks about a group of related plants and animals or things as animals of the cat family. This research is not looking into the family of animals nor plants but family of human beings .

          Therefore, family should be seen as being made of man and his married wife or wives and the children who are natural or adopted.

          In this research, the researcher will look at the situation where family is ridden with conflicts. It is a condition whereby the members are fighting or quarreling all the time to such an extent that we can use Chinua Achebe’s terminology to describe it namely; Things Fall Apart, and the members are longer at ease, think of a situation where the man expels the wife from the family or the wife deserts the husband and the children for independents living in her family. The research will this happens, there of choice . when this happens, there is no longer peace in the family. The research will attempt to constitute the dimensions or occurrences of this type of troubled family situation in Oriuzor community and to attempt to find out the causes. The research will establish all the variables that bring about instability and delinquency.

MARITAL INSTABILITY

          Hralambus and Herald (1980:36), defined it as the loss of marital vows which may lead to divorce or the separation of spouses or even empty shell marriage based on the individual conviction about marriage relationship. Also it is a breakdown of family unit (the smallest unit of social group), the dissolution of fracture of a structure of social roles when one of members, failed to perform adequately their assigned roles and obligation.

          The break-up can be physical or psychological. The physical break-up is the structural fracture of family unit such as separation, divorce, assertion and death of one of the partners. While the psychological break-up is the structural intact but indesirable domestic condition such as the “empty shell” family

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY

          Wash and Pool (1983:241), defined a juvenile as one who has attained the age of ten (10) years and is under seventeen (17) years. Juvenile delinquency is regarded as out of norm attitude of the children under seventeen years of age. An acts of prostitution, assault, rape, pick-pocketing, truancy, fighting, running away from home, being beyond parental control etc. It is measured and determined by the children of Oriuzor community in Ezza-North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

DELINQUENT BEHAVIOUR

          According to Caven (1962:12), delinquent behaviour is an act of any child or youth whose conduct deviate sufficiently from normal social usage to warrant his being deemed menace to himself, to his future interest, or to the society itself. It can also be seen as behaviour of a child (less than 18 years) which the people of a state and their leaders believed to be a threat to public safety or hindrance to the best development of the child and whose prohibition they have incorporated into law.

1.8 STUDY AREA

          For the purpose of this research, the area with which the research will be tested has to be explained; its features and the geographical locations of the area.

          The study area is Oriuzor community in Ezza-North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. In terms of their occupation, they are well known for their craft making, farming and engaged in a petty business.

          Coming to their population, they have total population of twenty five thousand inhabitants (25,000) according to 19991 census data. The area is made up of four villages namely; Umulgboke, umuezeali, Umuome and Umuoru respectively according to their ages.

          In terms of their mode of worship, they practice traditional religious system and Christianity. They have these oracles they worship and appease for help from time to time include “Ebo”, “Ngamgbo”, “Ibina Ukpabi” “Aliobu” and host of others.

          Their legal system is traditional and these laws are made out of norms and values of the society. Their legal system is regulated by sanction and it is being implemented by the elders. And offender in the community is either he/she is fined, sanctioned, ostracized etc. for the punishment of breaking the laws.

          The area also adopted polygamous family system. Every body is allowed to marry as many wives as he wants in accordance to the custom of the land.

          They also have festivals they celebrate every year or annually, such as “Onwu Eke” , “Eke Okpoto” and New yam festival. They highly respect and adhere to these ceremonial festivals in  each year.

          The area have some markets where buyers and sellers meet for business transactions. Such markets includes Nworie Ikechi, Odeligbo, Nweke Onu-oji, nwelikoro etc.Oriuzor is a descendant of Ezekuuna in old Ezza local Government Area Onueke Ebonyi State. Geographically, Oriuzor have common boundaries with these various communities such as umuoghare in Ezza north local government Area beside Umuoru and also Izzi Umuhu in Abakaliki local government Area beside Umuonu and umuezeali and finally Amuzu in Ezza south local government area beside Umuome Oruizor respectively.

          Conclusively, the community has educated and uneducated people occupying the entire area. They equally have a traditional ruler as the head of the community.

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