The world over, delinquency among youths especially between the ages of 12 and 35 have been on alarming rates and this, according analysts is detrimental to futuristic projection of ‘youths as leaders of tomorrow’ if not checked and drastically arrested before it gets out of hands.
According to the United Nations World youth report 2013, statistical data indicate that in virtually all parts of the world, with the exception of the United States, rates of youth crime rose in the 1990s. In Western Europe, one of the few regions for which data are available, arrests of juvenile delinquents and under-age offenders increased by an average of around 50 per cent between the mid-1980s and the late 1990s. The countries in transition have also witnessed a dramatic rise in delinquency rates; since 1995, juvenile crime levels in many countries in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States have increased by more than 30 per cent. Many of the criminal offences are related to drug abuse and excessive alcohol use.
Available data show that delinquency and crime have strong gender associations. Police records indicate that the crime rates of male juvenile and male young adult offenders are more than double those of young females, and conviction rates are six or seven times higher. The number of male juvenile suspects for every 100,000 members of the designated age group is more than six times the corresponding figure for females; for those in the youth category the male-female suspect ratio is even higher, at 12.5 to 1. The report indicates the following as possible causes of delinquent behavior among youths: Economic, cultural and social factors, urbanization, family, migration, the media, exclusion and peer influence among others.
Driven by these alarming rates and as part of his determination to rid out this menace in the society and his effort towards raising godly youths, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) ‘C’ Division, Akwa Ibom State Command, Superintendent of Police (SP) Celestine Umeh embarks on aggressive ‘Catch Them Young’ (CTY) project in Secondary Schools within his jurisdiction of operation to educate them on dangers involved in the use of hard drugs as well as kidnapping.
(SP) Celestine Umeh who was at the Bright Stars Model Secondary School along Aka Itiam road in Uyo while addressing a cross section of the students on the topic, “dangers of drug abuse and kidnapping” told them that the essence of the talk was to raise awareness so that they will not be lured by unsuspected criminally minded elements, noted that given his experiences in the Police Force and available records, teenagers and middle aged men are often used to perpetuate these acts.
After explaining different types of hard drugs and the dangers of taking them as well as the laws of the land that criminalizes them and went ahead to narrate the evil effects of kidnapping, “using cannabis and other hard drugs destroy peoples’ lives and damage brain cell”. He maintained that violation of the law of the land will attract punishment and police will not fold its arms to watch people who violate the law but is always ready to arrest, prosecute so that laws and orders could be maintained and upheld in the land. He urged the students and staff alike to be good citizens by obeying the laws of the land so that they will not fall into the angry hands of the law enforcement officers.
The DPO identified prayer, hard work, positive confession, being focused and faith in God as the sure way to succeed in life and acknowledged the participants, especially those from the disadvantaged homes, “your background is not the reason for your back to be on the ground”, adding that greater number of renown people today came from poor and disadvantaged homes but did not allow that to becloud their sense of hard word for success.
Also speaking, the head of Juvenile section of the Nigeria Police Force, ‘C’ Division, woman Inspector Maria Edet. Added that the students should report through their parents or Principal to her any form of abuse by adults or any other person as according to her, “abuse is punishable by law and that Police will deal decisively with anybody that indulge in abuse”.
In his remarks, the Principal of the school, Mr. William David Blackson thanked the DPO for inspite his crowded schedules found time to interact with his students. Charged the students to heed to the advice given by the security experts as the talk was a timely warning so that they do not fall victim of any of those points raised.
In their curiosity, two students – Ndumo Akua Akan a Junior Secondary School (JSS 2) student and Theodora Armstrong Nathaniel a Senior Secondary School (SS 3) student engaged the security officials with heart touching questions, which were adequately responded to by the officers.
Present at the event were Inspector Godwin Uket; woman Inspectors Mary Nwaeyen and Rebecca Willie among others. It could be recalled that the DPO has so far visited other schools for similar talks including Federal Government Girls Technical College, Uyo and is also billed up for other schools within his jurisdiction.