A Doctoral Defense

Daniel Amadin Irabor
Submitted to the Graduate School
Prairie View A&M University
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
Summer 2013
Major Subject: Juvenile Justice
1

Daniel Amadin Irabor
• B.S., (Law Enforcement & Police Science),
Sam Houston State University
• M.S., (Sociology), Texas A&M University,
Commerce
• M.L.S., (Criminal Justice), Fort Hays State
University
• M.L.S., (Organizational Leadership), Fort
Hays State University
2

Doctoral Committee

G. Solomon Osho, Ph.D.
(Dissertation Chair)
Camille Gibson, Ph.D.
(Member)
Harry Adams, Ph.D.
(Member)
William Kritsonis, Ph.D.
(Member)
3

Profiling Juvenile Offenders Among
Street Children In Nigeria

4

Virgil
Had I a hundred tongues, a hundred mouths, and a voice
of iron (lion), I could not sum up all the types of crime
nor all their punishments

Dorothea Dix, 1802-1887
• “Nobody wants to kiss when they are hungry”
5

Dissertation Defense Format
Part I:
Part II:
Part III:
Part IV:
Part V:

Introduction
Review of the Literature
Methods
Findings
Conclusion and Future Work

6

Part I

Introduction

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Statement of the Problem
Juvenile offending among street
children, the world over, is a
global, serious, and ever-increasing
social problem that has since
become a major policy concern to
government of several countries of
the world.
8

Statement of the Problem
This study derives from a perspective that
views crime as a virus.
Like the virus that destroys and kills its
host organism, juvenile offending, if not
checked, destroys the values, sense of safety,
direction, and security of a society
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Statement of the Problem
• The American President, Lyndon Johnson once
Stated:
• Crime is a sore on the face of America. It is a
menace on our streets. It is a corruptor of our
youth’’
• The president emphasized that, it is the
responsibility of government to bring criminal
and juvenile offending under control (Inciardi,
2010).
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Statement of the Problem
In Nigeria for example, the problem of
juvenile offending among street
children cannot be over-emphasized, as
the phenomenon has overwhelmingly
besieged the people and the
government of the country “like a
colossus’’
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The Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to
determine the relationship between
demographic and social characteristics
of street children and juvenile
offending in Nigeria

12

The Purpose of the Study
• Specifically, the study examined the
relationship between gender, age, level of
education and family structure, religious
affiliation, sexual and physical abuse; and
juvenile offending among street children
in Nigeria with the view of identifying
and profiling the typical street child
13

Assumptions
• Consistent with social structural Marxism, the
study presupposed that some (not every) social
order grows to a state of maximum imbalance so
much so that these imbalances produce some
contradictions and weaknesses (such as social
disorganization, strains, inadequate socialization,
unequal distribution of societal resources, man
inhumanity to man) that eventually cause
juvenile offending among street children.
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Assumptions
• Simply put, Social structural positivism assumes and
portrays the offender as the product of his or her
social environment; and his or her immediate social
environment as a consequence of the structure of
society to which the offender belongs.
• As Kubrin and colleagues (2009) argued about U.S
cities: “it is incorrect to state that the residents of a
neighborhood are disorganized. It is the community
in which they reside is disorganized.
• Social disorganization, therefore is not a kind of
people but a kind of place” (p.89).

15

Assumptions

• This study therefore assumed
that if society is the disease
that has afflicted the children
on and of the street, then, the
children on and of the street
must be cured of society.
16

The Research Questions
Three fundamental questions guided this study:
(1) Who is the typical street child that is likely
to offend?
(2) Is the street child living in and on the
streets in Nigeria more likely to offend than
the street child living with a relative?
(3) What social forces seem to push children
into the streets and thereby into lives of crime?
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Operational Definitions
The Street Child
The United Nations Children’s Fund describes “the street child” as
“any girl or boy [...] for whom the street in the broadest sense of
the word, including unoccupied dwellings, wasteland, under
bridges, abandoned and dilapidated building, market places,
underground tunnels, broken down neighborhoods, etc., has
become his or her habitual abode and/or source of livelihood, and
who is inadequately protected, supervised or directed by
responsible adults.”
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Operational Definitions
UNICEF in its 1998 report categorized
street children into two major groups:
1) Children on the Street
2) Children of the Street.

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Children on the Street
 Are street children who essentially worked on the
street to make a living for themselves and for their
families, but went home to their families at night.

Children of the Street.
 Children of the street, on the other hand, have no
homes. They live, work, eat and sleep on the street,
usually under bridges, abandoned and dilapidated
building, market places, underground tunnels, and
broken down neighborhoods.
20

Significance of the Study
•Consistent with most outstanding social science researches,
this study contributes to the existing bodies of knowledge in
the multi-disciplinary fields of criminology, criminal justice,
juvenile justice, human and international relations.
•A review of the literature on street children reveals that
research has been very limited in areas focusing on street
children in Nigeria, and the statistical data on crimes and
juvenile offending are not readily available; and even where
and when they are available, they are grossly inadequate.

21

Significance of the Study
• Most studies portray street children as victims
of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and disease.
Virtually nothing in the literature digs deeply
in to the construction of the juvenile offender
among street children.
• This study provides an introduction to series of
research to follow in the search for the origin,
nature, extent and creation of the violent
juvenile offender among street children.
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Significance of the Study
• Criminal profiling is an attempt to construct
typical characteristics of certain types of
offenders
• The data derivable from this study offer an
insight into identifying and profiling the typical
juvenile offender among street children in
Nigeria

23

Limitations of the Study
• This study has limitations. The results are not generalizeable to a
large population:
• 1) On the basis of a few limited observations;
• 2) Random sampling technique was not used;
• 3) The secondary data utilized in the quantitative section of this
study were obtained from a single youth center in Nigeria and
was not collected over a period of time;
• 4) Casual observations are sometimes inaccurate; and moreover,
people tend to observe selectively

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Part II

Review of the Literature Review

25

Part III

Methods

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Research Method
 In order to examine the three fundamental
questions, the study adopted a data
triangulation technique with a multi – phase
sequential mixed method technique of data
collection and interpretation.
• Data triangulation is a multiple method
approach which herein reflects both qualitative
and quantitative methods.
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Quantitative Data
In the first phase of the study, the
researcher examined the relationship
between demographic characteristics of
street children(such as gender, age, parental
demographics) and juvenile offending
using the secondary data collected at a
juvenile detention and reformation center in
Benin City, Nigeria
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Target Population
The study utilized a sample size of about
300 residents’ records on file at the youth
detention and reformation center in
Nigeria.
Sampling of Participants
 Accordingly, the sample was purposively selected
from the poll of records in the data set to represent the
delinquent street children residents at the center.
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Statistical Technique(s)

• Descriptive Statistics
• Inferential Statistics

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Qualitative Data

In the second phase of the study:
Personal casual observation of the
street children and their activities at a
marketplace in Benin City, Nigeria

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Part IV

Findings

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Research Question 1

Who is the typical street
child among street
children in Nigeria likely
to offend?
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Gender

• In this study, the analysis • Variable– Gender
of the relationship
• Male –
between gender and
juvenile offending among

78%
street children in Nigeria
indicates that the juvenile

Female –
offenders among street
children were
22 %
predominantly male

• Total 100 %

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Age
With the mean age of
approximately 13.1
years, the mode age
at 14 years, and the
standard deviation of
1.65 (see Fig 1),
majority of the
participants in the
study were in the age
group of between 10
& 14

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Research Question 2

• Is the street child living in and
on the streets in Nigeria more
likely to offend than the street
child living at home with a
relative?
36

Living
Arrangement
The study identified
two types of street
children in Nigeria: 1)
Children on the Street
and, 2) Children of the
Street.
The detention center
data indicate that 62%
of street children lived
on the streets while
38% street children
lived at home with at
least a relative
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Living Arrangement
The correlation matrix of the outcome
variable, juvenile offending and the predictor
variable living arrangement has a pointbiserial correlation coefficient of .018 (r=.018)
at a one tailed significant value of .005.
The correlation matrix indicated a positive
relationship between living arrangement and
juvenile offending. This relationship was also
significant
38

Living Arrangement

• When the point biserial correlation
coefficient of r=.018 was regressed, it
provided the coefficient of
determination (R2= (0.018)2) of .0003,
which translates into living arrangement
accounting for 3% of the variability in
juvenile offending among street
children in Nigeria.
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Living Arrangement
• The result of the binary logistic regression indicates that children
living on the streets are more likely to offend than children living
with their parents at home in familiar relationships.
• As children move from living on the street to living with their
parents at home in familiar relationships, the odds of their offending
decrease by a factor of Exp(B) = .700; β = -.357
• Specifically, with the result of the binary regression analysis at β =
-.357 and Exp(B) = .700, the researcher can predict an increase of
approximately 36% probability that a child living on the street would
be more likely to offend than a child living at home with the parents.
• This result is consistent with the findings of the casual observation
conducted by this study.
40

Research Question 3

• What social forces seem
to push children into the
streets and thereby into
lives of crime?

Research Question 3
•In order to answer this question, the
data from the youth center were
analyzed statistically to examine the
relationship between social structural
demographic variables such as family
structure, religious affiliation,
educational level of the participants
and children leaving home

Research Question 3
• The youth center data showed that
approximately 76% of the residents
indicated in their admission form that
they left home because of familiar
problems. Problems but not limited to
hunger, brutality or various forms of
abuse, desire to look for food, clothes,
other basic necessities of life.
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Family Structure

• The residents
indicated that:
• No parent family
home structure”
48.7%
• Single parent
family structure
(Only father
present) 25.7%

• Single family
structure (Only
mother present)
15.7%
• Polygamous family
home structure
5.3%
• Two-parent family
home structure
4.7%

Religious Affiliation

• The data on the religious affiliation of street
children in this study indicate that
• 15% were Christians,
• 3% were Muslims,
• 12% of the street children indicated that came
from homes where idols (objects) are worshipped.
• Approximately 79% of these children indicated
that they were not affiliated to any religious
organization

Level of Educational Achievement

• The youth center data analyzed indicated
that:
• Approximately 57% of the residents had no
formal education,
• 22.3% had some form of primary education,
• 12. 3% had completed primary education,
• while only 8.3% had some form of
secondary education

Physical Abuse

About 73% of the
residents at the center
indicated in their
admission forms that
they had experienced
physical abuse at home
and on the street before
they were brought to the
center

• Yes 73%
• No –
 27%
• Total
• 100%

Correlation Matrix
•An interesting finding of this study is that it
presents significant relationships between the
family structure, level of education, religious
affiliations and juvenile offending among street
children
•Of the seven predictive variables statistically
analyzed; five (“Family structure”, gender, and
physical abuse, age, and level of education) were
statistically significant at the p-value of 0.05 level
(one tailed), while three were statistically
significant at the p-value of 0.01(one tailed).

Family Structure
The binary logistic regression indicates that as change in odds resulting
from a unit change from the “No Parent Family Structure” which is
represented by “0” to the “Two Parent Family Structure” which is
represented by “1”, in the predictor variable “Family Structure” ( Exp (B)),
the output is .710. each additional unit of the predictor variable family
structure (regression coefficient or B= -.343) decreases the odds of juvenile
offending among street children by a factor of Exp(B) or odds ratio = .710.
With the result of the binary regression analysis at β = -.343 and Exp(B) = .
710, the researcher can predict a decrease of approximately 34%
probability that a child that is from a Two Parent Family Structure would be
less likely to offend than a child from a “No Parent Family Structure”. In
this case, Two Parent Family Structure is a protective rather than risk factor
while “No Parent Family Structure” is a risk factor.

Family Structure
The binary logistic regression indicates that as change in odds resulting
from a unit change from the “No Parent Family Structure” which is
represented by “0” to the “Two Parent Family Structure” which is
represented by “1”, in the predictor variable “Family Structure” ( Exp
(B)), the output is .710. each additional unit of the predictor variable
family structure (β = -.343) decreases the odds of juvenile offending
among street children by a factor of Exp(B) = .710.
With the result of the binary regression analysis at β = -.343 and Exp(B)
= .710, the researcher can predict a decrease of approximately 34%
probability that a child that is from a Two Parent Family Structure
would be less likely to offend than a child from a “No Parent Family
Structure”. In this case, Two Parent Family Structure is a protective
rather than risk factor while “No Parent Family Structure” is a risk
factor.

Religious Affiliation
• The binary logistic regression analysis indicates that as the predictor
variable “religious affiliation” moves from religious affiliation
represented as 0 to no religious affiliation represented by “1”, and since
Exp (B) of 1.683 is greater than 1, each additional unit of the predictor
variable religious Affiliation (B= .521) increases the odds of juvenile
offending among street children by a factor of Exp(B) =1.683.
• Specifically, with the result of the binary regression analysis at β = .
521 and Exp(B) = 1.683, the researcher can predict a decrease of
approximately 52% probability that a child that is religiously affiliated
would be less likely to offend than a child with no religious affiliation.
In this case, religious affiliation is a protective rather than risk factor.
51

Level of Education
• The binary logistic regression analysis indicates
that “each additional unit of the predictor
variable Level of Education (B= .099) increases
the odds of juvenile offending among street
children by a factor of Exp (B) =1.103 as the
indicator moves from “some education”
represented as “0” to “no education” represented
by “1”.
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Part V

CONCLUSION AND FUTURE WORK

53

Conclusion

Consistent with the literature and previous studies on the
demographic and social characteristics of juvenile
offending and profiling the typical juvenile offender, this
study revealed that the typical juvenile offender among
street children in Nigeria is most likely to be a male of
approximately 14 years of age, most likely to come from a
non-religious, non-traditional parent family structure (i.e.,
not two-parents) background, and most likely to be living,
eating and sleeping on the street (rather than living at
home with a relative).
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Conclusion Continued
• In addition, the typical street child is most likely to be an illiterate and may
have been physically abused as a child while living at home with a relative.
• An interesting finding of this study is that it presents significant
relationships between the family structure, level of education, religious
affiliations and juvenile offending among street children. Family, education,
economy and government are social institutions that are found in almost all
societies.
• These social institutions are usually responsible for the socialization and
social control of the new generations. When any of these institutions is
dysfunctional, something is not just wrong, everything is wrong.
55

Conclusion Continued
76% of the participants indicated that they left home because of
familiar problems.
It is crucial that political structures pay serious attention to the
serious problems that juvenile offending among street children
creates. Any political structure or society that underestimates the
importance of dealing with or finding solutions to the social
problems of crime is not merely waiting for a train that will not
arrive but is in a wrong station.
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Recommendations
• The study recommends that the governments
of Nigeria must invest on human capital and if
a little proportion of the money countries
spend on unnecessary wars and other
trivialities is directed towards addressing the
plights of the street children, maybe the world
would be a better place for everyone – the
street children would live well and the rest of
the citizens would live with less fear of crime.
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Recommendations
• Decreasing the illiteracy rates among street children
through knowledge is one of the ways a society can invest
in human capital, get children off the streets and a major
key to reducing the rate of juvenile offending among
street children.
• Any investment on education is an investment against
crime.
• UNICEF (2006) explained that education is a fundamental
human right. Every child in every country of the world is
entitled to it. Invariably, education helps to lay concrete
foundation to a successful and productive future.
58

Recommendations
• This study presupposed therefore that if society is the
disease that has afflicted, the children on the street, then,
the children of the street must be cured of society.
• Consequently, the study argued that if society must change
the rate of offending in the society, society must first
change itself.
• When a window is broken, it is usually better to fix it. If
our streets, market places and neighborhoods are
disorganized and disruptive, it is the responsibility of a
good government to make them socially organized and
orderly;
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Recommendations
•if structured inequality is resulting from the exploitations
of the “Have nots” by the “Have”, it is logical that society
finds a way of redistributing its excesses equitably among
its citizens for the sake of peace and order;
•And most precisely, if denial of legitimate opportunity
produces the types of strains that cause juvenile offending
or crime, then, it is only rational that to find the answer to
the problem of such offending is to extend legitimate
opportunities to those in the lower cadre of people in
society.
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