It is very difficult to define what is regarded as a crime, but generally crime is categorized as an act which violate the prevailing legal or criminal code of the jurisdiction of the state in which it occur. Crime in Nigeria is define differently from others, it is regarded as a violation of moral code as well as been seen as a social construct. Crime can only exit when the label and the law are equally applied to an individual act or behavior.
Crime is constructed in Nigeria in such a way that it is not what an individual do that is a crime but how they are perceived and evaluated by others within the society. It is perceived as if one or two percent of the Nigerian population that embezzled billions of Naira have not commit any crime but rather it is the people who commit pretty crimes that worth few thousands of Naira.
Crime in Nigeria is at an alarming rate, while majority of people blame the criminals for their act. The underlining causes of crime and the social construction of what the society considered as crime are some of the factors that needs to be considered. The crime in Nigeria will continue to rise as long as the punishment does not fit the crime, the punishment should be proportional to the crime committed. Everyone should be equal before the law, but the problem is from the top and that is why the Nigerian justice system can decide to choose and pick those to prosecute for committing crimes.
The high rate of serious and violent crimes as we see in our society today is as result of defective social regulation, what am trying to buttress here is that the Nigerian society don’t react alike to the problems and are lacking in collective moral response through a massive disapproval or repression to deviant or criminal behavior, especially if the culprit is from the upper class in the society.
In Nigeria, we tend to easily allocate success and merit to people without recognizing the legitimacy of the manner in which it was achieved. Many young Nigerians were pushed into crime such as yahoo – yahoo, money rituals, kidnapping, robbery and corruption. These individuals mostly faced with the difficulties of acquiring wealth and position through conventional ways and the only available options for such people is through lucrative and unconventional criminal careers or means.
Talking about why people commit crimes, it is imperative to consider other factors that can motivate someone to choose the path of crime. we should therefore be mindful of the fact that not every criminals are forced into this act of criminal behavior because of the reasons given above, some people falls into the categories of criminal minded group based on their rational choices, greediness, or as a reflection of relative poverty rather than abject property.