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This research titled, “Poverty and Youth Restiveness in Nigeria was studied with a particular attention to Boko-Haram Insurgency” this research was aimed at ascertaining the causes of poverty, to determine the linkage between poverty and youth restiveness and establish the impact of youth restiveness on sustainable development. The researchers adopted frustration aggression theory to guide the study, while survey research design were used, data were collected and analyzed through a structured questionnaire. The findings revealed that unemployment is one of the factors that causes poverty in Nigeria and also the study indicates that youth restiveness limits sustainable development. Based on the findings it was recommended that government should create more employment opportunity to reduce poverty, government should ensure adequate security in the Northeastern State to ensure the safety of lives and properties, government should create more employment opportunities in other to discourage youth restiveness, government and Non-Governmental organization should try and establish more industries in order to discourage the indigenes from endangering their lives in the northern state in search for greener pasture and government should try and investigate the course of insurgency in Nigeria and find a lasting solution to it.



  • Background of the Study

Restiveness among youths globally and those in Nigeria has become a behaviour pattern which has degenerated into a topical global issue. Youth restiveness portrays man’s negative side of social development. This negative development is rather unfortunate and has become one of the many security challenges facing man in the contemporary society. In many occasions, lives and properties worth millions of naira have been lost or vandalized and some razed down by restive youths.

Agbara (2010), human society and in fact the entire universe is simply and squarely a complex entity. In view of this, individuals and groups have their complexities, needs, aspirations, hopes, goals, opinions, views and values which could be social, economic, religious, psychological or political. Consequently, there is bound to be restiveness among different groups of people especially youths who are at their prime age.

The term youth has been variously defined. Ndu (2000) and Yusuf (2001) saw youths as neither adolescents nor children characterized by excessive energy that needs to be exerted, which if not guarded, is channeled into negative tendencies. The United Nations General Assembly and World Bank cited in Adewuyi (2008) defined the youth as people between ages 15 to 24 years. In Nigeria, the people within the age limit of 30 years are considered as youths hence they are allowed to participate in the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC).

For this research work, the NYSC definition of youth is adopted. Youths are filled with energy and when this energy is positively channeled or guarded, they are highly productive, and hence they are likely to contribute to the overall development of the society. On the other hand, when the energy is negatively channeled, restiveness and its resultant effects are likely to be felt. Onyene (2010) observed that to be restive is to be unable to stay still, or unwilling to be controlled especially because one is bored or not satisfied with certain decisions, changed or existing laws considered to be unfavourable.

Youth restiveness involves the combination of actions, conducts and behaviour which constitutes unwholesome, socially unacceptable behaviour exhibited by youths in the society. Youth restiveness has been a device used by the youth to get what they want from the relevant authority. Chika and Onyene (2010) asserted that youth resistance to conditions, issues and unwelcomed leadership regimes dates back to 1934 when Herbert Macaulay floated a political party to kick against dependency with fellow elite youths that had contact with the West.

In addition, political parties like the National Council for Nigerian Citizens (NCNC), the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), the Action Group (AG), has their youth wings as vibrant as the other parties. Since then, there has been proliferation of youth association like students’ unions, ethnic cliques and cleavages as well as clannish orientation among students which appear to have legitimized restive reactions among the youths on campuses.

The phenomenon of ethnic militia such as the in the Odua People’s Congress (OPC) in the west, in the northern part the Boko-Haram, Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in the East, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in the North and Tiv Youth Organization (TYO) in the North Central, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) both in the South-South.

These local forces which chain relevance in crime prevention and control but whose activities are parallel with State recognition are threats to national security. Youth restiveness may be caused by a number of factors. Chukwuemeka (2008) observed that composite unemployment in Nigeria increased from 3.% in 2006 to 4.2% in the first half of 2011. He further stated that structural unemployment results in talents not being used where they are available, hence idle mind is definitely the devil’s workshop.

Similarly, Coleman (1996) observed that psychological variables and deprivation is the basic product of conflict and restiveness of any kind. He further argued that the more widespread and intense deprivation is among members of a population, the greater is the magnitude of violence in one form or the other. In the foregoing therefore, one can argue that the unequal socio-economic development of the various ethnic groups in Nigeria led to inter ethnic and intra-ethnic conflicts.

For instance, Chukwuemeka, Anazodo and Nzewi (2011) found that dissatisfaction of the people of South-South especially the youths on the level of attention given to development of their region and the damages to their ecology by oil spillage are the major causes of the alarming rate of youth restiveness. Youth restiveness may occur as repraisal attack. For instance, the Tiv youths did a repraisal attack on the Jukuns in Makurdi following the Tiv massacre in Taraba State and in Zaki-Biam by Nigerian soldiers.

Chika and Onyene (2010) in their study attributed youth restiveness to adults’ coercive control over their children, denial of participatory opportunities to youths, resource scarcity and financial constraints and leaders failures, peer groups, and foreign interferences. The obvious effects of youth restiveness on the Nigerian society are loss of lives and properties, which constitute a major threat to security of the state as well as its corporate existence.

It also discourages genuine economic and democratic development. Strategies employed include mass agitations, protests, demonstrations, looting, vandalism, cultism, ethnic militia, political thuggery among others. This trend of events demands for urgent and timely intervention. Therefore, counselling intervention becomes a compelling necessity for the Nigerian youths. Hence youth restiveness stems from thinking (cognition), the use of cognitive behaviour restructuring is eminent. It is therefore to examine the conception of poverty, establish its link with youth restiveness and perhaps Boko-Haram Insurgency that this research is undertaken.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Recent media reports and personal observations indicates cases of armed conflicts, killings, wanton destruction of lives and properties, kidnappings, lootings, pipeline destructions, among others, in most Nigerian States are as the result poverty and youth restiveness. Disproportionate attention to the security sector by the Nigerian leadership is another challenge to sustainable development.

There is also the problem of micro-economic instability, distortions and leakages in the Nigerian economy with the attendant problem of infrastructural constraints and hyper-inflation. The implication of this scenario for sustainable development is that more people are trapped into the vortex of interlocking vicious circle of poverty. This constitutes a dismal performance of the economy with devastating implication for sustainable development in Nigeria.

It is in a bid to eradicate these incessant chaos and destruction which has often led to loss of assets, that three research question were formulated to guide this study.

  1. What are the causes of poverty?
  2. What is linkage between poverty and youth restiveness?
  3. What are the impact of youth restiveness on substantial development?

1.3 Objective of the Study

The objectives of this study is to examine poverty and youth restiveness in Nigeria with particular references to Boko-Haram Insurgency: Specifically the study intends to:

  1. Ascertain the causes of poverty
  2. Determine linkage between poverty and youth restiveness.
  3. Establish the impact of youth restiveness on substantial development.
    • Research Hypotheses

H1: unemployment is a factor that causes poverty.

Ho: unemployment is not factor that causes poverty.

H1: there is a linkage between poverty and youth restiveness.

Ho: there is no linkage between poverty and youth restiveness.

H1: youth restiveness significantly undermined substantial development.

H0: youth restiveness do not undermined substantial development.

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study will definitely put the 1cmp on the cake to already exuding literatures of poverty and youth restiveness in Nigeria. Its importance lies in the fact that it is currently a prevailing cancaworm and it is very spontaneous and topical. Moreso, it will act as a guide to the government in their guest the problems associated with poverty in Nigeria.

1.6 Theoretical Framework

The relative deprivation frustration aggression theory will stand as the theoretical framework of this study. Dollard (1939) submits that the primary source of the human capacity for violence appears to be frustration aggression mechanism. According to him, anger induced by frustration as a motivating force that disposes main to aggression. Frustration as an interference with goal directed behaviours.

According to Gurr (1998), he defined relative deprivation as “a perceived discrepancy between relative deprivation and their value capabilities”. Value expectations are the goods and conditions of life to which people believe they are rightfully entitled. Value think they are capable of attaining and maintaining given the social means available to them. He also suggests some variables that affect the intensity of emotional respond to the perception of deprivation.

The first proposition is that the greater the extent of discrepancy the man sees between what they seek and what seems to be attainable, the greater their anger and consequence disposition to aggression. A second proposition relates to “opportunities”. Men who feel they make many ways to attain their pals are less likely to become angry when one’s blocked than those who have few alternatives.

A third general proposition is that the greater the intensity of men’s expectations, the creator their anger when they meet unexpected or increased resistance. Gurr further states four interviewing variables thus: the legitimacy of the political regime in which violence occurs, coercive potential, institutionalization and social structures which they condition the perception of deprivation. In a related manner, James Davies attributed violent outbreak to the frustration that result from short term decline in achievement following a long term increase that generate expectation about continuing increase.

Basically, a person thwarted in the attempt to reach a goal is made angry and likely to protest against the imputed source of frustration. This, Dowse and Hughes observe in social life, men come to value many things, status, power, security, equality, freedom, wealth etc. when they cannot achieve those value means loosing another, angry, dissatisfactions and in the cases aggression occur, Mayer (1976), argue in support that the normal tendency towards violence aggression or dispute is increasingly frustration desires.

To him, when a goal presumably attractive two or more individuals is made available in such a way that it can be obtained looser. Those frustrate actors in political system can become sponsors of things, kidnappers. Davies (1973) observes that aggressive action required four (4) main steps namely activation of demand, frustration of demand, mental processes of deciding how to overcome the frustration and action.

It is important to note that various individuals or groups involved in political and or religious sects such as the Boko Haram, engage in such violent activities because they perceive a sense of disloyalty and injustice on the part of the government. This is often due to the fact that their needs are not properly met, and as a result of this, they stoop to violent means inform of rebellion against the government that has lost their popular support and legitimacy hence this leads to restiveness among youths and invariably there is lose of lives and property.

Kerlinger (1977) a theory is a set of interrelated constructs (concepts) and propositions that presents a systematic view of phenomena by specifying relations among variables with the purpose of explaining and predicting the phenomena. Having said these, among all the paradigms drafted by various schools over the years, the focus therefore, so on the Boko Haram crisis and its effect on property and youth restiveness in Nigeria.

1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study

The scope of this research work is quite broad that it encompasses the investigation of “poverty and youth restiveness in Nigeria‟, a case study of the Boko Haram crisis” from the year 2002 till date. This is because of its spontaneous nature. In view of the limitations of this study various factors contributed in affect no the researchers comprehensiveness and totality in carrying out the study. Among these factors are scarcity of relevant materials on the issue due to its continuous evolving nature and virginity, financial constraints and other taxing campus engagements and the fact that the crisis experienced its apex in the course of the research interval. Despite, the afore mentioned shortcomings and hindrances, the research study no doubt turned out to be successful.

1.8 Definition of Terms

This entails stating the meaning of various concepts used earlier, so as to give a better understanding of the meaning and also give a vivid picture of these concepts in the minds of the readers.

Poverty: this can be defined as the lack of sufficient resources with which to keep the body and soul together, which often leads to disparity and inequality within societies. It can also be defined as the state of being financially ambalanced which makes the individual unable to associate fully in economic activities.

Youth Restiveness: this can be defined as a combination of any action or conduct that constitutes unwholesome socially unacceptable and unwortwhole activities engaged in by the youths in any community. It can also be referred to as a desplicable act which is being perpetrated by a significant proportion of youths whose activities have led to a near breakdown of law and order, low productivity due to disruption of production activities.

Marginalization: This can be seen as an unfair discrimination of a group of people, making them feel unimportant and powerless.

Subjugation: As the name implies, this can simply be referred to as the act of defeating a person thereby making the victim to obey the oppressor. It is similar to the term oppressor.

Conflict: This can simply be put thus; a state of disagreement or argument between people groups, countries e.t.c. it can further lead to war, loss of lives and properties or even outright death if not properly controlled and resolved.


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