NIGERIA TODAY

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with a population of over 170,000,000 (CIA.gov – 2012). Despite the country’s bountiful resources, recent studies show 70% of the population earning less than one dollar a day.

The disenchantment and frustration of young people, much due to mass poverty and unemployment, has further increased the number of aggrieved youth and resulted in the emergence of “Area boys” and “Almajiris”, who target the very society that has alienated them.

With unemployed millions, the net effect has been a tragic precipitation of violent crimes: assault, burglary, extortion and kidnapping. Other highlights of Nigeria’s prolific crime syndicates are economic fraud – usually in the form of innovative Internet schemes; money laundering and racketeering.

SAVE NIGERIA’S CHILDREN

Nigeria’s population is predominantly young.  41% of the population is under the age of 14, approximately 64 million. The median age is 19.3 (CIA.gov – 2012).

Child and youth involvement in armed violence deeply harms not only the intended victims, but also their families, friends and communities. The effects of such violence are seen not only in death, illness and disability, but also in terms of the quality of life of those living in affected areas. The involvement of young people in armed violence greatly increases the cost of health and welfare services, reduces productivity, decreases the value of property and, disrupts a range of essential public services.

Newspapers and broadcast media report daily on violence by militias, vigilante groups, armed robbery gangs, in schools or by young people on the streets. Since 1999, when Nigeria returned to civil rule, there have been problems of violence resulting in over 10,000 deaths and the internal displacement of over 300,000 people. The majority of victims were children and youth.