Background of the Study

The importance of education has been adequately discussed in many fora and in different literature (Nwanne-Nzewunwa, 2009; Ojukwu & Nwanma, 2015 and Ojukwu & Onuoha, 2016; Osanti, 2012). It is in realization of the importance of education of the child that the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in its 1999 constitution made a declaration of the right of every Nigerian child to education, irrespective of gender, tribe, religion or race. It makes sense to state that the lofty vision of education as enunciated in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would be realized in a serene and conducive school environment. According to Lehr (2014), the noble goals of education can never be achieved in a vacuum. They would be achieved in a conducive and peaceful school environment. If there is a feeling of insecurity within and outside the school environment, both students and teachers are likely to be deterred and this may inhibit academic performance of the students.

The concept of school environment has been variously defined by various researchers (Miller & Cunnighan, 2011; Obi, Johnson & Lawani, 2004). According to Obi et al., (2004) school environment connotes all human and material resources available in the school, in which a child can see, hear, touch, smell, taste, feel and respond to. Also Miller and Cunnighan (2011) maintained that the issue of school environment is multi-dimensional. According to them it possesses the physical, social, and academic demons. They listed the physical dimension to include the appearance of school building and classrooms, libraries, laboratories, hostels, sporting games and recreational facilities. Others according to them include instructional materials, school size and ratio of student teacher in the classroom. Others are the order and organization of classrooms in the school, the position of chalk or whiteboard and the availability of resources to afford safety and comfort. They also listed the social dimension aspect to include the quality of interpersonal relationship between and amongst students, teachers and administrators, equitable and fair treatment of students by teachers and staff, the degrees of competition and social comparison amongst students and the degree to which students and teacher contribute to the decision making process of the school. Miller and Cunnighan (2011) also added that the academic dimensions of the school environment include the quality of instruction given to the students and the teachers expectations for good achievements from students. School environment or climate refers to the way students and staff feel about being at school each day. It could be conceived as settings in which young people can learn a sense of membership in and obligation to a group (Glew, Fan, Katon, Rivera & Kernic, 2005). In such environments and climates, we expect that people will be more concerned about fellow students  more inclined to dissuade them from engaging in behaviors that might endanger themselves or others. In this respect, Mcevoy and Werner, (2000) concluded that feelings of trust and respect for students and teachers influenced school environment and Glew et al., (2005) reported that improving student behavior and academic performance generally requires changing school climate.  

Matters of insecurity are topical issues in today’s Nigeria education. Insecurity in tertiary institutions is a social problem that cannot be over-emphasized because of its far-reaching implications and dire consequences on education, the economy and society in general. It is an issue that should be seriously tackled as Nigerians endeavour to forge a strong, just, democratic and egalitarian society. Although the issue of insecurity has attracted much public interest over the years, interest in solving the insecurity equation appears to be waning and even when the issue is addressed, little emphasis seems to be paid on the gory socio-economic, political and spiritual implications. (Nnadi,2000). University, gang warfare broke out between two cults; The Buccaneers and the Mgba Mgba Brothers who engaged in a fatal battle for supremacy with each other on the university campus.

According to a report of the incident in Newswatch of March 12, 2000, during the cult war between the two groups; gun smoke choked the campus, driving students and lecturers into hiding. In the course of the fighting, a student in the department of Applied and Natural Sciences lost his life while another student was critically wounded as a result of stab wounds inflicted on him by errant cultists. In a separate development, a lecturer in charge of verification of students’ result in Rivers State University of Science and Technology reportedly had his office in the two-storey engineering complex in the university burnt by a cult group because he did not heed their warning earlier, to ensure that a member of their cult group did not fail his exams (Okafor & Okafor, 2011). An Optometry student of the University of Benin, who became a victim of campus insecurity, also recounted her gory story to Newswatch. She was going to class by 6am on a fateful day to catch up with some reading before the commencement of lectures, only to run into a convoy of cars carrying cultists all dressed in black; she was repeatedly raped by up to ten of the cult boys. (Newswatch, 12 March, 1990).

The ever present University of Abuja crisis also needs to be put to rest. No one is safe anymore. Parents who have their wards in schools feel very helpless knowing the safety of their children is not guaranteed. In 2012, the same academic community was not isolated from the bombings and killings perpetuated by the Boko Haram: from the deadly attack on Bayero University Kano, on a Sunday morning when worshippers were attending service within the university’s campus, to the bloody Independence Day attacks where more than 40 students of the Federal Polytechnic Mubi, were massacred. This is not counting the many isolated killing of students in broad daylight or at night when they were asleep and at their most vulnerable state. In some cases, just the rumour of an attack was enough to send some institutions packing, like University of Maiduguri and the Federal College of Education Potiskum, which had to start operating from the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) temporarily (Ajibade, 2013).

In any education system, peace and tranquillity is an antidote for a successful teaching and learning. In recent times, however, millions of school children in Nigeria are caught up in conflicts that result to insecurity not only of their school attendance but to their lives and property. Regular school attendance is crucial to education and development of school children in any country. There is always negative impact on the educational development of the child, the school and the community when children do not attend school regularly. Because of this, there are laws in many countries that require a child to attend school until eighteen years of age. A child who attends school regularly is likely to learn more and become more successful in school than those who do not. Parents who make regular school attendance a priority also are helping their children to learn. In addition, regular school attendance is an important ingredient for academic success and a successful life.

A child who develops good attendance habit in the early years of education is more likely to continue throughout the school career. In addition, a child who misses school has missed a carefully planned sequences of instruction. Patrick (2012) observes that such a child misses active learning experiences and class participation, the opportunity to ask questions and is more likely to fall behind and drop out of the school. It is in the light of this that Fafunwa (1983) notes in the early 1980s that dropout was one of the most serious problems that have continued to bedevil the Nigerian educational system from the colonial administration up to independence in 1960 and even beyond. Different organizations and governments have advanced a variety of definitions of human security. The United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) defines human security as freedom from fear and wants (Okorie, 2011). Japanese foreign policy’s view on human security may include all the menaces that threaten human survival, daily life and dignity – for example, environmental degradation, violations of human rights, transnational organized crime in illicit drugs, refugees, poverty, anti-personnel land mines and other infectious diseases such as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

There are no agreed definitions of what precisely insecurity is, but there is a general agreement that insecurity is linked to chronic threats of disease, hunger, terrorism and poverty. Therefore, insecurity and poverty cannot be divorced from each other. Severe levels of poverty may expose people to all kinds of security threats. Poor people in developing countries frequently face relatively high risks from such things as domestic violence, crime, sickness and unemployment (McCawley, 2004).

Statement Of The Problem

Nigerian tertiary educational institutions are established with the aim of giving any student who enrols a very sound and qualitative education to be able to function effectively in any environment in which he/she may find him/herself; so as to become more productive, self-fulfilling and attain self actualization. It has been shown that many of the Nigerian tertiary educational institutions are finding it increasingly difficult to achieve the goals because of the problems of insecurity. However, it is obvious that the Nigerian economic and educational systems subject students to diverse strain and stress individually and as a group.

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Updated: 3rd July 2019 — 10:13 am