YEAC-NIGERIA SENSITISES STUDENTS AGAINST ORGANIZED CRIME IN OYIGBO, RIVERS STATE
The Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC-Nigeria) has carried out a sensitization campaign against organised crimes ranging from drug abuse, cultism, exam malpractice, and violent extremism in the Niger Delta to secondary school students in the Oyigbo local government area of Rivers State.
The programme took place on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, at the Government Secondary School, Oyigbo, in the Oyigbo local government area of the state.
The Executive Director of YEAC Nigeria, Mr. Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, during a sensitization workshop for students of Community Secondary School, Bori, described organized crimes as a category of transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals to engage in illegal activities, most commonly for profit.
Fyneface blamed the rising cases of exam malpractice in secondary schools on parenting failure, a corrupt educational system, poor students’ attitudes, societal failure, undue emphasis on academic results and certificate acquisition over knowledge, and inadequate preparation by students.
According to him, organized crimes are continuously maintained through the corruption of public officials and the use of intimidation, threats, or forces to protect their operations. He added that YEAC-Nigeria would carry out the sensitization in more secondary schools in the state and beyond in the year 2024.
“Organized crimes manifest in the form of pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft, artisanal refining, illegal bunkering, kidnapping, banditry, insurgency, racketeering, cybercrimes, internet fraud (aka Yahoo-Yahoo), drugs/human trafficking, arms smuggling, sea piracy, illegal, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, other fraudulent activities, and environmental crimes, including illegal logging and even examination malpractice.”
YEAC-Nigeria described examination malpractice as deliberate wrongdoing contrary to official examination rules designed to place a candidate at an unfair advantage or disadvantage and warned the students that the penalties for exam malpractice under the 1999 Examination Malpractice Act include a five-year jail term or a fine of N100,000.
“Examination malpractices include dubbing, sorting, girraffing, copying, writing on the body, use of sign language, impersonation, leakage of exam questions, tampering with results, bribery, sex-for-marks, use of mercenaries, computer fraud during computer-based exams, and fraudulent practices by invigilators, among others.
“Effects of examination malpractice include dismissal, termination, loss of position, lack of self-confidence, loss of trust in the educational system, reduced enrolment of students in school, cancellation of results, discourages good students or candidates from studying hard, deprives innocent students’ opportunity for admission, decreases job efficiency, prostitution, stealing, and armed robbery.”
On drug and substance abuse, YEAC-Nigeria cautioned the students against involvement in drug abuse by not succumbing to peer pressure or using drugs illicitly, noting that the United Nations has set aside June 16 every year as a special day to raise more awareness on drug abuse.
“The effects of drug abuse on youths can be physical, psychological, and social. Drug abuse contributes to academic difficulties and severe health-related problems, including increased risk of mental health disorders, damage to vital organs, poor peer relationships, and involvement with the juvenile justice system; it drives poverty to you and even to your family; it makes you unemployable, etc.”
Fyneface said violent extremism is the use of violence to achieve ideological, religious, political, or any kind of goal, including terrorism and other forms of politically motivated and communal violence, warning that violent extremism undermines peace and security, human rights, and sustainable development.
According to him, there are violent and non-violent extremisms; the former involves illegal acts of violence, while the latter is oftentimes protected by the right to freedom of speech and civil rights concerns. “Thus, when you insist on the right thing being done according to constitutional provisions, it means that you hold extreme views about what is right in a non-violent manner.”
“Factors that push individuals toward violent extremism include marginalisation, inequality, discrimination, persecution, and limited access to quality education; the denial of rights and civil liberties; and other environmental, historical, and socio-economic grievances; the confluence of weak and illegitimate governance; economic decline; and the worsening effects of climate change. Other root causes include arms proliferation, high unemployment, the poverty rate, the politicization of security agencies, the misappropriation of resources, etc.
To prevent violent extremism, he said, “Education and sensitization are powerful tools that build learners’ resilience to violent extremism and mitigate the drivers of the phenomenon.” Education and sensitization help strengthen the commitment of youths to non-violence and peace, in particular, by addressing hateful and violent narratives. It is not enough to counter it. We must prevent it through advocacy like this workshop brought to you by YEAC-Nigeria.”
Mr. Fyneface urged the students to “SAY ‘NO’ TO ORGANIZED CRIME, EXAMINATION MALPRACTICE, DRUG ABUSE, CULTISM, AND VIOLENT EXTREMISM IN RIVERS STATE, THE NIGER DELTA, AND NIGERIA”.
Only 492 students wrote their names on the attendant register out of over 500 students in the hall, according to the teachers, who said some of them said they did not want to enter their names on the attendance list for reasons best known to those of them.
FYNEFACE DUMNAMENE FYNEFACE,
Executive Director, YEAC-Nigeria
November 21, 2023