Background of the Study
Insecurity has gradually become a prominent issue in the contemporary Nigerian state. The country is immersed in confusion as acts of violence are now characteristic features of the society. Despite claims to be on top of the security situation by the government of the day, security of lives and property has continued to elude Nigeria. According to Otto and Ukpere, (2012) security refers to protection against crisis, threats or injury. Security is a vital infrastructure upon which other infrastructures are built.
There is no section of Nigerian society that is violence free and Ukwa-Ngwa land in Abia state is not exceptional. Ukwa-Ngwa land, the once serene and hospitable environment, was thrown into chaotic state of insecurity of lives and property which crumbled economic, social, and religious activities. According to Nwamara, (2009) Aba and other parts of Ukwa-Ngwa land was haven for tourist and entertainment buffs in the 1940s and 1950s. He further stated that the trend continued after the Nigerian civil war in the 1970s till in the 1980s. However, the peaceful atmosphere experienced in the area took a different dimension in the 1990s especially in between 1997 and 1998. Human Rights Watch and Centre for Law Enforcement Education (HRW/CLEEN) (2002), Jones (2008) and Ukoha, Henri-Ukoha and Emole (2012) stated that there was high level of insecurity in Aba and its environs by a group of hoodlums known as the mafias in the late 1990s.
The Mafias went about killing and robbing people of their belongings. While these were happening, (HRW/CLEEN) (2002), Jones (2008) and Ukoha, Henri-Ukoha and Emole (2012) observed that the police force, saddled with responsibility to maintain law and order, was found incompetent of handling the situation. In their argument, the lack of willpower by men of Nigerian police increased the tempo of criminal activities, led to loss of confidence in the security agency, and a spontaneous revulsion by traders at Ariaria Shoe Plaza, Aba to take care of their security themselves. That act by the traders marked the advent of the vigilante group, widely known as Bakassi Boys.
Bakassi was ruthless and barbaric in her activities, and ended up creating more problems for the society than it was established to solve. It took brutality to its peak, thereby introducing the culture of bloodshed with impunity into the system. According to Harnischfeger, (2003) the activities of Bakassi was a clear case of gross human rights abuses. Whereas the individual as affirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (1948) has certain inalienable rights, which include right to life, liberty and security of person, right to a fair and public hearing, freedom from degrading treatment, arbitrary arrest and detention, Bakassi Boys did not have any respect for the rights and dignity of man. The HRW/CLEEN further stated that the group went as far as meddling in the areas of social and political control. Similarly, Onah (2005: 299) reported that they “enforced debt payment, chastised women who strayed in marriage and harassed the critics and opponents of their respective governors”.
There was no system of organized justice in their actions. Cases abound where people were arrested arbitrarily. Suspected criminals were tortured, mutilated, decapitated, and the victims burnt in public. As expected, these disreputable acts affected the psyche of the people. It made them to lose their sense of humanity, especially the younger generation, and dealt a heavy blow on the value system of Ukwa-Ngwa society.
The security threat in Ukwa-Ngwa land resurfaced sometime in the year 2008 in a more dreadful way. The area was affected by incessant armed robbery, abductions, rape, wanton destruction of lives and property, and all sorts of social vices. Ukwa-Ngwa land was once again made a perfect example of communities under siege. There was no class of human existence that did not feel the holocaust. The wave of insecurity according to Ukoha, Henri-Ukoha and Emole (2012) was brought to national limelight with the abduction of four Executive Committee Members of the Nigerian Union of Journalist, and the abduction of fifteen pupils of Abayi International School, Aba in July and September 2010 respectively. The abduction of these pupils attracted widespread condemnation which forced markets, banks, hospitals, and schools to shut down. The situation in effect made federal government to deploy the military in the area to help bring the situation under control.
Looking at the havoc committed over the years in Ukwa-Ngwa land, one would wonder if the people have values at all. If they have, what values do they profess? Values contribute immensely in shaping the behavior of a people. It distinguishes one community from another. According to Amaele in Halima (2011) values are standards of conduct endorsed and maintained by a society. Similarly, Okafor (2006) asserted that values are fundamental to all human societies, in human activities and actions. Values are of different hierarchy. There are spiritual values, human values, economic values, social values and political values as enunciated by Nkokelonye, (2005).
The people of traditional Ukwa-Ngwa have qualitative value system. One of the distinct traditional Ukwa- Ngwa values as stated by Nwaguru (1973) is resilience. This can be seen in the Aba women riot of 1929; a courageous protest against taxes imposed by British officials, the 1943 fracas between traders and soldiers and their role in the 1949 Coal Miners Shooting Riot. The people received the Europeans in the 1850s with open arms; signifying hospitality. This value of hospitality persists till date as the area, especially Aba, harbours people from virtually all the communities in Igboland today and people from other tribes without any molestation. Other traditional values of Ukwa-Ngwa, which are observable in other traditional Igbo communities, include dignity of labour, liberty, filial piety, honesty, responsibility, knowledge, modesty, freedom of expression, respect for elders, respect for life and property, faith in spiritual beings, among other values, Nwaguru maintained.
The values mentioned above were instrumental in shaping the behavior of traditional Ukwa-Ngwa society. They helped maintain cordial relationship among the people; a condition sine qua non for controlling security challenges in human existence. Like in every other Igbo community, the contact with the Europeans and the subsequent colonization got these values twisted. In addition to the European influence on Ukwa-Ngwa values, the thirty months Nigerian civil war also did more harm to the values of the people as the area was badly hit.
Education is vital in shaping and maintaining the values of a people. It is the life wire of every society. Nkokelonye (2005) perceived education, as the process of bringing the individual in agreement with past, present and future civilization; with civilization as the art of living in harmony, and transmitting to the individual the moral content of that civilization and methods of self control. He further noted that education can be used to reform the society; and the best education is that which trains the character of its citizens. Education is the greatest force for positive change. In line with this, Alawa & Osinem (2009) observed that education brings about permanent change in behaviour gained through activity, training or observation.
The people of traditional Ukwa- Ngwa are known to be lovers of education, and education had great impact on their lives. This according to Nwaguru (1973) can be attested to by the huge investment made, and success recorded in the field of education, through different educational programmes. There was education accountability in traditional Ukwa-Ngwa society. According to Nakpodia and Okiemute, (2011) education accountability implies investing on education, and having returns on such investment. Nwaguru posited that Ukwa-Ngwa produced the first Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Jaja Nwachukwu, who also served as federal minister at different capacities with some other Ukwa-Ngwa sons like Ubani Ukoma. Furthermore, education helped traditional Ukwa-Ngwa society to maintain her core values, which played crucial roles in checkmating violent behaviors among the people.
Values, education and security of lives and property are closely knitted. Education is like a vehicle that drives values. In line with this view, Halima (2011) stressed that education is responsible for the transmission of societal values. Values on the other hand play a crucial role in shaping human behavior. He further maintained that value ensures adequate integration of members of the society into the society. This integration of members brings about shared responsibility and sense of belonging among members; conditions necessary for peace, stability and security of lives and property.
The researcher is therefore motivated to conduct this study to examine the impact of education and values on security of lives and property in Ukwa-Ngwa land between 1991 and 2011in relation to what was obtainable in the past.
Statement of the Problem
Evidences abound of the high level of insecurity of lives and property in Ukwa-Ngwa land. The importance of security of lives and property in human existence can never be over emphasized. This fact has a direct relationship with the education and values of a particular community. Education and values are both sides of a coin and are major contributors in moulding human behavior. The security of lives and property in a given environment is dependent to a large extent on the behavior of the people inhabiting the said environment. Arguably, education and values are determinants of how secure or insecure an environment can be.
The high rate of insecurity witnessed in Ukwa-Ngwa for upward of two decades now brings to question, the behavioural tendencies of the people of Ukwa-Ngwa. Hence, there is need to examine the impact of education and values in Ukwa-Ngwa within the period under study. It is against this backdrop that this study is to be carried out to ascertain the education and values in contemporary Ukwa-Ngwa land, with respect to the already acknowledged impact created by education and values in the past. This will hopefully give insight on how best to tackle the security challenges in Ukwa-Ngwa land. Thus, the problem of the study is: what are the impacts of education and values on security of lives and property in Ukwa-Ngwa land?
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to ascertain the impact of education and values on the security challenges facing Ukwa-Ngwa land. Specifically, the study:
- Examined to what extent education was encouraged in Ukwa-Ngwa land between 1991 and 2011.
- Ascertained the dominant Ukwa-Ngwa values between 1991 and 2011.
- Ascertained the determinants of these Ukwa-Ngwa values.
- Assessed if there were differences in the impact of education and values between the traditional and Ukwa-Ngwa and the period under study (1991-2011).
- Determined the perception of the people of Ukwa-Ngwa on the role of education and values on security of lives and property.
- Ascertained in what ways education and value re-orientation would assist towards solving the security challenges in Ukwa-Ngwa land.
Significance of the Study
The benefits that accrue from this study will be of both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the study will help in providing a dependable theoretical framework that can have positive impact on education, values and help in improving the security challenges facing the country. Practically, the study will be beneficial to community leaders, parents, teachers, church leaders, government, researchers and the entire society.
The findings of this study will help raise the interest and consciousness of community leaders and parents as it regards education of the young ones. The findings of the study will expose them to the level of investment made in the field of education over the years, and the impact of such level of investment on security and welfare of individuals, families and the community at large. The findings of the study will also encourage them to demand for accountability in education.
The study will bring community leaders, parents, religious leaders, and teachers in tune with the prevailing values in the community. The findings of the study will motivate them to work on the inculcation of enduring values on the young ones. The enduring values can be inculcated by community leaders and religious leaders through organizing fora where people will be reminded of the norms of the society. Parents and teachers can inculcate these values by teaching the young ones that there are consequences for every decision, action or inaction in life.
The problem at hand is not peculiar to Ukwa-Ngwa land but manifests itself virtually in all parts of the country. The findings of the study will also help inspire the government to be more proactive in tackling the security challenges facing the country, through huge investment in both teacher education and education of the citizens. This is true because a well-educated citizen is a constructive member of the society.
Finally, the end result of this research work and its logical conclusions will serve as a beacon of bearing to prospective researchers.
Scope of the Study
This study was conducted in Ukwa-Ngwa land of Abia state, Nigeria and was restricted to a period of twenty (20) years, 1991-2011. The content scope of this study focused on the extent to which education was encouraged in Ukwa-Ngwa land; predominant Ukwa-Ngwa values; determinants of these values; differences in the impact of education and values between traditional Ukwa-Ngwa land and the period between 1991 and 2011; role of education and values on security challenges as perceived by the people of Ukwa-Ngwa; and ways education and value re-orientation would assist in addressing security challenges in Ukwa-Ngwa land.
The following research questions were posed to guide the study.
- To what extent was education encouraged in Ukwa-Ngwa land between the years 1991 and 2011?
- What were the dominant Ukwa-Ngwa values between 1991 and 2011?
- What are the determinants of values in Ukwa-Ngwa land during the period under study?
- What are the differences in the impact of education and values between the traditional Ukwa-Ngwa society and the period under study (1991-2011)?
- What are the perceptions of the people of Ukwa-Ngwa on the role of education and values in maintaining security of lives and property?
In what ways will education and value re-orientation assist towards addressing the security challenges in