Communal violence has become a reoccurring event in some parts of the world including Nigeria. There is, therefore, need for continual search of the underlying factors in safety awareness. Therefore, this present study was aimed to investigate gender and self-esteem as a psychological mechanism that could predict safety awareness among the youths. A cross-sectional design was employed and a total of 706 participants aged between 18 to 40 years were drawn from Abakaliki in Ebonyi State and Calabar in Cross River State of Nigeria. Data was collected using a Linkert type, self-report measures of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) and the Safety Awareness Scale (SAS). A two-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used for the statistical analysis and the result revealed that self-esteem as a psychological mechanism did not predict safety awareness among the respondents whereas gender as a factor predicted safety awareness among the participants. The findings of the study are discussed.
The world is experiencing a disturbing surge in security challenges, as violent attacks are reported in one part of the world or the other almost on daily basis. This global phenomenon occasioned by ethno-religious, socio-political and economic motives has resulted in unconceivable loss of lives and properties and have displaced many from their homes. Nigeria as a multi-ethnic and culturally diverse society is not left out of this global trend. Nigeria is at present trapped in the surge of security challenges manifested in the abrupt rise in violent and non-violent crimes (Okechukwu, 2011). Insurgency, kidnapping, rape, armed robbery, ethno-religious and farmers-herders crisis are among the violent conflicts that are currently bedeviling the peace and unity of Nigeria as a nation.
Previous studies have examined the trends and patterns of the security challenges in Nigeria vacillating from rape, terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, communal clashes and violent protests (Attoh, 2012; Okafor, 2011; Adebayo, 2013; Ajufo, 2013; Azizi, 2012; Okonkwo, 2009; Eso, 2011; Walker, 2012; Awonyemi, 2012; Bassey & Dokubo, 2011).
This present study is focused on communal conflicts which refer to non-state violence between communities sharing a common boundary. Over the years, reoccurring communal conflicts in some states of Nigeria has assumed potential threat to the security of lives and properties in many communities in Nigeria. Communal violence, although a global phenomenon, has constituted one of the major reoccurring security challenges witnessed in Nigeria. The trend of communal killings spreading through the states of Nigeria in recent years has left hundreds of people dead and thousands displaced from their own community. States such as Taraba, Plateau, Benue, Adamawa, Cross River, Akwa-Ibom Delta and Ebonyi have witnessed a tremendous surge in communal crises which is mostly occasioned by longstanding rivalries, chieftaincy matters, market, boundaries and land related issues. Communal violence claimed over 1,149 people in 100 incidents across the country in 2017 (Nigerian Watch, 2017).
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