JUVENILE GANG MEMBERSHIP AND VIOLENCE: AN EMERGING PERSPECTIVE IN SOME SELECTED COMMUNITIES IN RIVERS STATE, NIGERIA

Destiny E. Agwanwo (Ph.D), Chioma Joseph-Obi (Ph.D)

Abstract


Juvenile gang violence has become a serious phenomenon the world over. Recent researches on gang violence focused on youth gang violence. This study, therefore, examines juvenile gang violence as an emerging form of violence in many rural areas of Rivers State. Insight into this emerging reality was gained through unstructured interview, personal observation and review of related works on gang violence. The survey design was adopted for the study. The population of the study covered five purposively selected communities that have witnessed increasing rate of cult-related violence in the Rivers State.  A sample of 100 respondents were purposively selected and interviewed. The study revealed that, although youth gang violence such as cult and armed robbery have been on the increase, juvenile gangs violence further exacerbates the violent situation in the study area through inter and intra gang rivalries/wars and other violent social vices. Resulting from these phenomena, lives have been lost, property destroyed, buildings set ablaze; and many people have been displaced in many places in Rivers State, including Ibaa, Rumuodogo, Omudioga, Omademe, Omarelu, Ahoada, Ogoni, Omoku and Abua, among others.  The study further revealed that the breakdown of family values/ties, peer group influence and poverty, among others factors, are at the root of this social problem. The study recommended that proper parental control as well as parents’ watchful eyes on their children would help reduce the incidence of gang membership and its consequences on society.


Keywords


juvenile, juvenile gangs, gang membership, violence, and family,

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