Clement Ovokeroye Paul, Online Media Practitioner

20/03/2018

Gadd in 1976 posited that, as the conditions of opportunities expand in the urban areas, they, however,dialectically worsen in the rural areas as people are continuously attracted into the urban areas where they are dangerously forced to abandon rural life to seek a means of frivolous livelihood in the towns. The rural residents apparently see the attractiveness in the towns with seeming better opportunities. But in actual reality, many people abandon rural life in preference to the crowded and often substandard, squalor and shanty housing in the towns where they cannot find suitable employment opportunities. The upsurge of crimes and criminality in Yenagoa is a resultant effects of rural-urban migration orchestrated by centralisation of development couple with lack of opportunities in rural and urban communities for young ones in Bayelsa State.

Right from the time Yenagoa assumed the status of a state capital there has been geometric influx of people into the state capital for search of greener pastures. The influx of people from rural communities and neighbouring states has caused acute population growth in the city at the detriment of rural communities. A development orchestrated by lack of will on the part of successive governments to create urban centres in rural communities. Centralisation of development in urban areas, leading to rural urban migration and lack of opportunities to support livelihood for young ones is a major cause of crimes and criminality in the city.

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There are prevailing push and pull factors that promote rural-Urban migration in Bayelsa state, thereby causing crimes and criminality in Yenagoa and its environs lately. These PUSH and PULL factors include but not limited to;
1. Absence of social amenities like good roads, electricity, pipe-borne water, hospitals etc, contribute in compelling people to leave the rural areas;
2. Availability of Recreational Facilities in the Urban Areas,
3. Higher Education,
4. Employment Opportunities,
5. Marriage,
6. Business Activities,
7. Natural Disaster,
8. Ostracism,
9. Political Reasons.

The search for greener pastures like employment and business opportunities, quest for higher education and lack of social amenities as well as lack of government will to create urban centres in rural communities are major factors promoting rural-Urban migration. The increase in population in Yenagoa occasioned by rural-Urban migration and inadequate opportunities have given birth to high rate of crimes and criminality in the city.

Adedeji & Rowland, (1973: xi) opined that, grave problems bordering on social issues faced by urban Nigerians include inadequate job opportunities which give rise to growing incidence of insecurity; resulting from crimes, theft, house breaking, armed robbery etc – as the only attractive options left to those who cannot legitimately make ends meet to sustain themselves. However, even those legitimately employed engage in intense fraudulent activities because the condition has forced them to find that crime is necessary in order that they may continue to afford to live in the high – priced urban areas. The assertion is apparently a true reflection of current happenings in Yenagoa where Keke thieves, handbags phones snatching, incessant killings etc, are on the high side.

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There is therefore an urgent need for government to deliberately create urban centres in the 8 Local Government Areas of Bayelsa state, by providing social amenities, recreational centers, higher education facilities, banking services, internet and communication facilities in rural communities, to induce urban-rural migration. Such facilities and efforts to make life meaningful for rural dwellers particularly young ones would reduce crimes and criminalities in cities. And citadel of learning like Niger Delta University, Amassoma, Africa University, Toru-Orua, Federal University, Otuoke, Isaac Boroh College of Education, Sagbama, Bayelsa State College of Health Technology, Otuogidi, School of Nursing, Tombia, etc should be well funded and equipped with modern facilities to promote academic excellence; standard staff and students quarters with internet facilities should be adequate constructed to encourage students to domicile in those areas, and encourage business and social activities in the areas. Multinational companies, government and individuals can as well ignite development in rural communities by making their offices in rural communities functional and provide opportunities for young school leavers, to discourage them from leaving for cities in search of greener pastures.

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For Adedeji and Roland (1973), “the problems of urbanization are the problems of the young one whom the future progress of our country depends. It is the youth who are rejecting the rural life for the attractions of the urban areas. It is the youth who arrive with high hopes in the urban areas for a better way of life. It is the youth who are most greatly disillusioned when no jobs, no housing, inadequate services and all too few prospects for a better way of life, await them in the town. It is in our youth that the crisis of expectations is at the highest and the disappointment and frustrations will be most heavily felt. And it is the youth whose morals are put at greatest risk. In failing our youth we fail ourselves and our country.” Hence, government must support and encourage local farmers and make the sector very lucrative and viable for young minds. Efforts must be made by government and multinational companies to collaborate with rural communities to engage rural folks in agriculture and make them productive and useful for society.

Clement Ovokeroye Paul is an online Media Practitioner; he can be reached through paulclementovokeroye@gmail.com

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