Over the years, Nigeria has experienced series of attacks and blests in most parts of the country. The violent agitations by militants in the Niger Delta” (MEND). So many splinter groups hide under this body to carry out their nefarious acts of rebellion against the Nigerian state to express their grievances over the degradations of their environment through the operation of the multinational oil companies.

Similar groups exist in other parts of the country and they include; the “oduduwa people congress (OPC) which is located in the south-west. They are often called the Afeinifere group. There exists also the “movement for the actualization of sovereign state of Biafra” in the south-East while the „Boko Haram” uses the Northern part of the country as their operational base.

This research study will critically scrutinize and evaluate the activities of the latter amongst the afore mentioned political and religious sects, because that is the thrust of this research. It can be deduced that poverty

and youth restiveness are instrumental to the incessant crisis that has bedeviled our beloved country „Nigeria‟. People are said to be poor when they experience lack of sufficient income to purchase material needs which often excludes individuals from partaking in generally accepted activities of daily life in the society at large. According to ALI MASRUI in his „paradox of retardation”, Africa is not the poorest of the regions of the world but it is the most retarded. He argued that Africans are richly endowed and as such, they have no reason to be poor.

Despite the fact that June 10,2006 marked 50 years of oil exploration and production, and over $400billion accrued to the Nigerian state in terms of revenue, Nigeria is still referred to as one of the poorest countries in the world. This often makes one to wonder how much of this revenue actually found its way into the region where this oil is produced in the way of investment in infrastructure or the development of human capital. Such economic growth is yet to be translated to economic development and an appreciable increase in the standard of living of the Nigerian masses. The economic, social and cultural

rights of the people in the Niger Delta which is the main oil producing region in the country, continous to be unrealized thereby increasing and escalating the level of frustration and tension both within and between communities. This increasing marginalization, environmental degradation and the attendant with the multinational oil companies, preserve poverty, perceived insensitivity on the part of the state and failure of the state to ameliorate the sufferings of the people, have pushed or rather forced the inhabitants of the region specifically the youths to the edge.

These amongst other perceived injustice have made the youths to become very hostile and restless therefore creating an atmosphere of fear, chaos and tension. This drift to violence has unleashed a monster that is now a nuisance to everyone irrespective of personality. The attack are so indiscriminate that even babies, the aged, oil companies and asset to pipelines are frequently targeted for attacks and sabotage.

Having established a relationship between poverty and youth restiveness, we shall now take a look at the

Boko Haram crisis for a comprehensive understanding of the research study. Boko Haram as the name denotes, does not have one particular meaning. The name more or less connotes different meanings to different people. The group is a Nigerian Islamic group that seeks the imposition of Shariah group belief (Shariah law) throughout the whole of Nigeria. Figuratively, members of this group believe that “western education is a sin”. Presently, the group has an undefined structure and chain of command. It is of a paramount importance to note that the official name of the group is „Jama‟ Atu Ablis Sunna Lidda‟awati Wal-Jihad‟, which means or rather is tantamount to “people committed to the propagation of the prophet‟s teaching and Jihad.

Since its formation in 2002 in Maiduguri by the leader of the group Mohammed Yusuf, the Boko Haram has been a thorn the flesh of Nigeria‟s security agencies, precisely the police force, over its opposition to western education that it believes is a sin. In the year 2004, the Islamic fundamentalists group relocated its base to Ranamma, Yobe state. The new location was named‟

Afghanistan”, and from there the group set about attacking and leaving members of the Nigerian police lifeless.

In and interview with BBC in the year 2004, Yusuf the leader of the group was quoted as saying that “this war that is yet to start would continue poor a very long time. Five years later i.e. in the year 2009, Yusuf was killed under the police custody in a violent clash between the Boko Haram and the security forces. Nevertheless, his demise did not quell the activities of the group he founded, it rather made them grow more in aggression.

Amongst the various crisis due to bombings carried out by Boko Haram are;

The Nigeria sectarian violence in the year 2009.

The Bauchi prison break 1st Abuja – 2nd Abuja the northern Nigeria bombings in the year 2011.

The attack on the police headquarters on June 16, 2011.

The attack on the ………………….Madala Catholic Church (St Theresa) on the 25th of December 2011 just to mention but a few.

In conclusion, at this juncture, this research work will critically analyze the three concepts i.e. poverty, youth restiveness and Boko Haram in order to create a better understanding in the minds of the readers and more so to contribute to existing knowledge of literature.


It is no longer news that the activities of the Boko Haram and other similar politically religious sects have often led to loss of property, lives and even the breakdown of law and order, peace and security in the Nigerian society at large. From the foregoing, it has been observed that a lot of attacks have been made on so many states which includes even the state capital (F.C.I)

What puzzles most observers is that most of these attacks appears not be executed by suicide bombers, yet the culprits often get away unharmed. This leaves a big question mark in our security agencies as regards their duty in the protection of lives and properties, and the procurement of weapons of mass destruction to combat this menace which is eating deep into the Nigerian society today.

Opinions are however divided over the propelling force of this group, for instance while some argue fact. It is in a bid to eradicate these incessant chaos and destruction which has often led to loss of assets, that we pose a few research questions in a view of obtaining reasonable and positive answers. Thus:

  1. What is the relationship between poverty and youth restiveness in Nigeria.
  2. Does the Boko Haram crisis pose a threat development and Nigeria‟s corporate existence?

iii. Is military option capable of lacking the Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria?


The main thrust of this study, is to establish the following significance:

  1. To ascertain the relationship between poverty and youth restiveness in Nigeria
  2. To find out if Boko Haram crisis poses it threat to development and Nigeria‟s corporate existence.

iii. To explore whether military option is capable of lacking the Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria.



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.



This review is precisely concerned with pre existing views and perceptions of various scholars and academicians as regards their contributions to the subject matter, which is the research study. It is as a result of this, that we will take two major variable into review/ these related variables are poverty and youth restiveness.

When talking about poverty, organizations often use different definitions. According to the World Bank organization; it

Poverty is defined relative to the standards of living in a society at a specific time. People live in poverty when they are denied an income sufficient for their material needs and when these circumstances exclude them from taking part in activities which are an accepted part of daily life in the society (UKCAP, 1997; Galloway, 2002).

What the world bank organization is saying in essence is that poverty cannot be defined separately without talking the economic situation into keen consideration. When individuals or a given greater number of citizens in a country cannot purchase their insatiable needs (both material and non-material), then they can be referred to as wallowing an abject poverty. This, according to the world bank organization, is as a result of the denial of their income as a result of the fact that the principles of „PAYE‟ i.e. pay as you earn, is not always applicable to

every society; therefore, individuals tend to pay higher taxes than they earn, and this leaves the bourgeoisies richer while the peasants and proletariat keep on getting poorer.

According to the House of Commons Scottish affairs committee: “These are basically three current definitions of poverty in common usage”, these in clued: absolute poverty, relative poverty and social exclusion. They not only mentioned the afore listed, but also went ahead to elucidate on them.

Absolute poverty is defined as the lack of sufficient resources with which to keep the body and soul together. Relative poverty on the other hand, defines income or resources in relation to the average. It is concerned with the absence of the material needs to participate fully in accepted daily life. Social exclusion as the third division of poverty, is a new term often used by the government.

According to the prime minister, social exclusion can be defined as …… a shorthand label for what can happen when individuals or areas suffer from a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low

incomes, poor housing, hich crime environments, bad health and family breakdown. From the afore mentioned, we can see that the farmer i.e. WBO, concluded or rather condensed the absolute and relative poverty definitions of the latter into a single meaning. Nevertheless, the definition given by the House of Commons Scottish affairs committee is more comprehensive because it encompasses all facets of human existence. We must note that definitions differ according to their narrowness or breath that is in terms of whether they are confined to the material core.

The nature of that material core and whether they embrace also rational/symbolic factors associated with poverty.

Nolan and Whelan (1996:193) are among those who aroue for a definition towards the narrower end of the scale on the grounds that too broad a definition runs the danger of losing sight of the distinctive „core notion of poverty‟.

Following Townsend (1996:188), they define poverty in terms of the inability to participate in society (which is

broader than more absolute‟ definitions confirmed to subsistence needs), but emphasize that what is distinctive is the inability to participate owning to lack of resources. This confines their definition to those areas of life where consumption or participation are determined primarily by command over financial resources (1996:93) veit-Wilson, 1998,2004). By implication they exclude non-material elements found in broad UN definitions, for example, ‟lack of participation in decision making”, “a violation of human dignity‟, powerlessness‟ and susceptibility to violence‟ (cited in Langmore, 2000:37) similarly, they exclude some of the non-material aspects emphasized by people in poverty themselves, such as lack of voice, respect and self-esteem, isolation and humiliation (UKCAP,1997, Galloway, 2002).

At this juncture, we must note that it makes sense to pitch the definition of poverty towards the narrower end of the spectrum of non poverty. Another source of variation is definitions of poverty reflected in the literature on measurement, lies in whether they are rooted an conceptualizations that are concerned with; on the one

hand, a person‟s material resources especially income, and on the other, with actual outcomes in terms of living standards and activities (Nolan and Whealan,1996).

Stein Ringer (1996) defined poverty from two dimensions namely; the first case and the second case. In the first case poverty is defined indirectly through the determinants of ways of life, while in the second case, he defined poverty directly by way of life (1987:146). Practically, these two approaches are often treated as complementary (as in Nolan and Whelan‟s definition above.

Ringers own definition is not unusual in combing the two: “a low standard of living, meaning deprivation in way of life because of insufficient resources to avoid such deprivation‟ (1987:146). Put simply, someone is “poor” when they have both a low standard of living and a low income‟ (Gordon etal, 2000:91). A.B. Atkinson in his definition of poverty, make a related, but more fundamental distinction between a concern with standard of living and a concern with a citizen‟s right to minimum level of resources (1989:12). He also added in 1990, that

poverty is increasingly being conceptualized as a denial of human and citizenship rights. This conceptualization of poverty is also helpful from the perspective of understanding and combating written poverty.

Millar and Glendimning (1991:464), propounded the feminist definition of poverty, saying that the feminist concept of poverty can be described in terms of an individual right to a minimum decree of potential economic independence. This view, focuses on the individuals capacity to be self-supporting on the grounds that people who are financially dependent upon others must be considered vulnerable to poverty (1992:9). We must note that the notion of vulnerability is helpful to understanding the situation of women without an independent income who nevertheless enjoy a comfortable standard of living. From these, we can now gather information that poverty is the inability to participate in society involving both a low income and a low standard of living.

Sen. takes a step backwards from both income and living standards to ask why they mother. His answer is

that they don‟t matter in their right, for they are simply instrumental to what really matters, namely the kind of life that a person is able to lead and the choices and opportunities open to her in leading that life. At the heart of this approach as an understanding of living as involving being and doing‟. Sen uses two key words to express this idea. „functioning‟s and capabilities‟. The former refers to what a person actually manages to do or be; they range from elementary nourishment to more sophisticated levels such as participation in the life of the community and the achievement of self-respect. The latter on the other hand, denote what a person can do or be, that is, the freedom people enjoy to choose between different ways of living that they can have reason to value (1990). He argues that money is just a means to an end and that they goods and services or „commodities‟ it buys are simply particular ways of achieving functioning‟s.

According to Karl Max, money may be instrumental but it is also insparable from the power that it confers: I can carry (money) around with me in my pocket as the universal thing into the hands of the private person, who

as such uses this power (1987). Therefore he of the view that one danger of downplaying income when defining poverty is that it can be used to justify a policy stance opposed to raising the incomes of those in poverty.

The European commissions definition of poverty which was adopted in 1984 goes thus: the poor shall be taken to mean persons, families and groups of persons whose resources (material and cultural, social) are so limited as to exclude them from the minimum acceptable ways of life in the member state in which they live. Poverty is a crisis that is habitual and it conveys message of hardship which is difficult to deny. It speaks publicly through visible misery, persisting destitution, endemic hunger and visible malnutrition (Akanmidu, 2004).

Due to its nature, the endemic poverty afflicting the people of the Niger-Delta amidst plenty, has led to a state of hopelessness and the recourse to violence against the state and multinational oil companies operating in the region. Although poverty is central to the concept of social quality, its reduction represent an indicator of social quality, it is only one of a number of conditions that serve

to diminish social quality and cannot serve as the sole measuring rod (Beck etal; 1997:11:2001).

Relative poverty places poverty in the context of inequality within societies. The act of comparison between those on lower and inphering ethnic groups, inevitably highlights any inequalities of material resources that may exist between the groups being compared.

At this juncture, we must note that relative poverty and inequality are not necessarily synonymous as they are sometimes juxtaposed. Inequality is concerned solely with the comparison between groups, while relative poverty adds to that comparison, the notion of the incapacity to meet certain needs, broadly defined to include participation in society. Thrust of these findings is that it directly leads to restiveness of youths all over the country (Nigeria).

Moreso, failure to give quality attention to the review of the meaning of youth restiveness as propounded by scholars, will render this review incomprehensive. This is because by so doing by reviewing the concept of “youth restiveness”, we will be able to establish a relationship

between the two variables (poverty and youth restiveness).

On the 14th of January 2010, the former inspector of police Mr. Mike Okiro identified; marginalization, unemployment, youth exuberance and above all poverty as a major attribute of youth restiveness in the country. Okiro said this in a lecture which was titled “youth restiveness and electoral process in Nigeria”.

In the past, youths were perceived as heroes of nationalist movement. As students, they were the militant wing of the anti-colonial struggle. The Sikist movement, popularized the anti-imperialist consciousness theorized by the earlier elder nationalist (onoge) in the year 2004. the famous political bureau report of 1986 also affirmed linkages of youth and national destines without recourse to philistine, pejorative slander. In the context of Nigeria‟s historical experience, youths and students have rendered very valuable and vital contributions to the struggle for liberation and national development. They can constitute a reservoir of energy and dynamism. For any national struggle or campaign if they are correctly guided,

mobilized and fully integrated into the social fabrics of the nation. They may also, constitute a threat to national survival and stability if they are allowed to drift, are unemployed, if they are undisciplined and morally bankrupt. We must note that there is no nation upiring to major national greatness and success that can afford to ignore the youths and allow them to often constitute a major social problem in the society. This is because of the fact that they i.e. the youths happen to be or rather constitute a very vital source of manpower and they have in their possessions the existence of availability of leadership potential.

The youths can also acquire knowledge and are so full of future promises and positive expectations. It is often believed that once these innate potentials in them are fully exploited and properly channeled, only then can their contributions to national development be immense. The youths can also be referred to as the most committed group in the organization of voluntary social work or community development (CD) projects in their various localities. They often engage in these acts of nation

building during their service years in the (NYSC) that is “national youth service corps that is “National youth service corps”.

As student, they are always in the fore front as regards the struggle against injustice oppression, subjection, subjugation and exploitation. They therefore constitute a militant force in any political system. Many of these activities have been recognized and acknowledged in Nigeria. Unfortunately, however, their positive contributions have tended to be drowned by rather frequent and sometimes violent protest actions. These incessant protest actions are promptly suppressed by authorities and sometimes by ruthless means.

So far, it has deduced that the youths still remain one of the greatest asserts that any community can posses. Potentially, they are the greatest investments for a society‟s sustainable development and future. This among others is the reason why it is universally acknowledged that positive fundamental and meaningful changes ineered, ofostered and or shaped by the generation of youths in the society.

Therefore we can now say that any culture or community, whether macro community or a micro community i.e. big or small community, that allows a good percentage of her youth to be misdirected or misled, risk her future viability and survival into jeopardy. The activities of the youth is now perceived as a social problem or menace. This is because they have been alleged defilement of traditional “core values” and have rather stooped or resorted to carrying out public or societal vices.

In Nigeria today, economic problems have provided a platform for expression of violence and conflict be it political, ethics or religious. Most significant of such conflict is the crisis in the Niger Delta, which at the onset was economic but has become a hydra-headed monster that threatens the political and economic security of the nation-youth restiveness is a despicable act being perpetrated by a significant proportion of the youth an various communities that can no longer be ignored. As the name denotes, it is a combination of any action or conduct that constitutes unwholesome socially unacceptable and

unworthwhile activities engaged in by the youths in any community. It is a phenomenon which in practice, has led to a near breakdown of law and order, low productivity due to disruption of production activities, increasing crime rate, intra-ethnic hostilities, and other criminal tendencies. In the oil producing areas in Nigeria, the communities still lack basic social infrastructures or infrastructural facilities culminating largely into high levels of poverty, mass unemployment, environmental degradation and other social vices.

The resultant future of this today, is that we have a near dicey situation in our hands as far as youths population now abounds and there is now a national crisis on the youth front. When considering youths questions, they are often grouped into categories. These include the following:

The national dimension is reflected in formal bodies such as the OPC, Arewa youth, Massob, Egbesu boys of Africa etc. These are publicly acknowledged bearers of structured political and economic agendas of geo-ethnic divisions.

There is also a rise in organized youth delinquencies in Nigeria cities today popularly known as “area boys” resident mostly in Lagos. They often operate under the umbrella of a specific city turf.

There are a number of smaller youth association in the states, local governments and towns across the country today.

There is emergence of cult gangs on computers which has facilitated the assimilation and sub assumption of students in the inclusive category of the youth.

There is an increase in the number of youth and flee the country through illegitimate means in order to make a living in other countries, facilitated by global network.

It is often perceived that these restiveness in youth is usually caused by certain factors which can be individual or societal. These include: marginalization – youths often stoop to restiveness or rather tend to be restive when they perceive marginalization by selfish government personnel.

Unemployment: they contribute a large army of the unemployed, therefore they tend to look at their plought

as the making of a cruel society that does not seem to care for them.

Exuberance: They often channel their raw energy into wholesome and socially unacceptable vices. Having said this, we can see that it is only a thin that separates poverty from youth restiveness.


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, 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.

According to 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.




In accordance with the research questions and founded on empirical verifications deduced from the research study, 1 hypothesize this:

  1. There is a relationship between poverty and youth restiveness in Nigeria.
  2. The Boko Haram crisis seems to pose a threat to development and Nigeria‟s corporate existence.

iii. Military option appears to be capable of tackling the Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria.


The method of data collection used in this research study is the secondary source which is also known as documentation. Due to the spontaneous nature of the issue under investigation, we gathered information from magazines, journals, newspapers, textbooks, internet materials which are relevant to the study.

Method of data analysis

The framework of content analysis is what will adopted due to the fact that it will aid us in giving better

appreciable acknowledgement to the study and make us knowledgeably acquainted to the subject under analysis.



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.


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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