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The Dilemma of Post-Colonial Universities

Yann Lebeau
Mobolaji Ogunsanya

II. Public Institutions in Crisis: Conflict and violence on campus

Social Deviance on a Nigerian University Campus: The University of Jos, Nigeria

Sam Smah

Texte intégral


1The development of human societies hinges squarely on their values, norms, laws and methods of skill acquisition and transfer. The socialization of members of any society is a crucial factor in attaining the ideals and goals of such a society. With the process of socialization, members of the society are taught the benefits of conforming to the acceptable standards of behavior prevalent in the society.

2The development of any society is largely shaped by the mutual influence of the educational opportunities available in the culture and the larger society. The university system plays a fundamental role in respect of providing the quantity and quality of the workforce the society needs.

3In recent times, the university system has come under unusual scrutiny by the state and this has affected, in one way or the other, the role the university system is meant to play in the overall development of the nation politically, socially and economically. University campuses have tended to become ‘war camps’, reflecting the increasingly criminal nature of the larger Nigerian society. Campuses have of late become breeding grounds for criminals as well as deviants.

4This paper addresses salient issues that derive from a pilot study of the University of Jos. The study was concerned with the origin of deviant behavior at the University, classification of deviance, the patterns and impacts of deviant behavior as well as with the various strategies employed in the control of deviance among the University population: students, staff (academic and non academic) and petty-business operators.

The problem

5The University of Jos comprises people of diverse interests, cultures and background. And like the larger society, it exhibits a discernible system of relations and behavioural patterns. For example, deviant behavior such as alcoholism, other drug abuse (ODA), prostitution, unprotected sexual relationships (known to result in HIV infection and AIDS), armed robbery, extortion, examination malpractices, admission racketeering, corruption, sexual harassment, rape and assaults occur on the campus.

6Evidence shows that deviant behavioral traits are on the increase in the country generally, and in the university system specifically. For example, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the nation’s civilian president from 1979-1983 expressed concern over the growing incidence of criminality and corruption in Nigeria. He lamented that the country was steadily yielding to the pressures of crime and its perpetrators.

  • 1 The Standard Newspapers, Jos (27 November 1983), 11.

Those who rise through criminal records to the positions of affluence are embraced by the society, merit, honesty and integrity are hardly recognized.1

7Although this declaration was made sixteen years ago, its essential truth persists. There is no doubt that moral and ethical values, and the norms of integrity and honesty have been jettisoned by the society.

8Similarly, a former Minister of Education, Dr. lyiorcha Ayu expressed government concern over these despicable phenomena in the Nigerian school system. He noted that:

  • 2 I.D. Ayu, University System News, Abuja, 4(1) 1994, 1.

Our collective psyche has been assaulted by the tragic wave of secret cults on our school campuses ... Blood sucking members of these cults have no respect for life and property... wealthy enough to be able to purchase guns, pay for expensive midnight parties where they engage in bizarre rituals . …kidnap heads of institutions and force them to sign agreements that violate the rules and regulations of a decent society.2

9From this statement and on-going developments, it is clear that the campuses are witnessing shifts in the nature of student-related problems, i.e., a reduction in incidences of student demonstrations to inter-cult violence where drug consumption is suspected to be high. These have led to a massive expulsion of students across the country’s institutions of learning. Cult violence has also led to a number of deaths and loss of property. An increase in examination malpractices which may not be unconnected to cult members has also led to the dismissal of university staff who have been found guilty of complicity.

10Although public outcry against campus deviant behaviour abounds, these problems are yet to receive adequate systematic and scientific analysis. There is the need, therefore, to study, analyze and explain comprehensively the nature, origins, and dimensions of deviance on campuses and their implications for both and national development aspirations. In doing this, a number of questions are relevant:

  1. What types of deviant behaviour occur on the University of Jos campus?

  2. What are the sources of deviant behaviour at the University of Jos?

  3. What are the pattern and level of deviant behavior among University of Jos campus populations?

  4. What are the formal and informal strategies employed to control deviant behaviour on the campus?

Methodological outline

11This study is a cross-sectional ethnographic survey. Investigation and data collection employed both observation and respondent-information survey techniques. As such, the researchers were involved in observing the natural environment of subjects and viewing the actors as informants. In other words, the investigators were observers of the social life on the campus, using the subjects to employ their own campus language and other cultural devices to provide data covering different aspects of deviance and its control in the university. A random sample of 199 students, 44 workers and 15 business operators and 15 research assistants were surveyed, over a two-month period. Data collection involved ethnographic interviews, recording of graffiti and other behaviour and the examination of ethnographic documents/statistics from the administrative block. One statistical assistant was used for the study. Descriptive statistical techniques, such as percentages and indexes were used to analyze the data collected.

The concept of deviance

  • 3 A.S..Hornby, et al. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English, 3rd edition, Londo (...)
  • 4 T. Parsons, The Social System, New York, The Free Press, 1951, 206.
  • 5 R.K. Merton, The social structure and anomie. American Sociological Review 3, 1964, 672-682.

12In ordinary usage, to deviate is to ‘turn away or leave what is usual, customary, right’; while a deviant is ‘a person, who is different in moral and social standards from what is normal or customary’.3 The concept of deviance has undergone a lot of intellectual or technical scrutiny by divergent perspectives. Parsons4 for example, defines deviance as a ‘departure from the normative standards which have come to be set up as the common culture’. The definition examines the entire normative structure of a community or society. Deviance is thus understood in the context of overall customs as behavior that is acceptable or unacceptable to a group of people. Similarly, Merton5 posits that deviance is that ‘conduct that departs significantly from the norms set for people in their social status’. There are a number of problems that emerge from this definition. First, deviance is only defined in statistically significant terms, but we do not know who specifies norms for people in their social status. However, the definition further reveals deviance as an aberration from the role expectations that are assigned to people in different stages of experiences in their lives.

13Criminological and penal literatures suggest that deviance could be corrected by punitive and non punitive means. By what moral and philosophical guidelines can we judge individuals or groups in a community or society as deviant? Our answers lie in the rules, regulations, laws, values, norms or guidelines that those groups or communities have set for themselves, and through institutions acceptable to them that transmit those norms from one generation to another. These ‘regulatory’ guideposts may change in time due to cultural conflicts arising from contacts with the outside world.

14Against the backdrop of the above, Medawar (1971) observed that:

  • 6 Sir P. Medawar, cited in J.N. Burton, ed. Ethnological Studies of Child Behaviour, Chicago, Chicago (...)

It is not informative to study a variation of behaviour unless we know before hand the norm from which the variants depart.6

15Sellin summarized that:

  • 7 T. Sellin, Culture, conflict and crime. In: Comparative Criminology, Vol 2, H. Mannheim, ed., Londo (...)

Man is born into a culture. He arrives biologically equipped to receive and to adopt knowledge about himself and his relationship with others. His first social contacts begin a lifelong process of coordination during which he absorbs and adapts to ideas which are transmitted to him formally or informally by instruction or precept.7

  • 8 H. Mannheim, Comparative Criminology, Vol 2, ed., London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1965.

16Deviance, therefore, constitutes all attitudes and acts that are contrary to the instructions and precepts that a person receives or is expected to receive, within his/her cultural setting. Mannheim’s remarkable observation is that ‘a society can be understood and judged only against the background of its culture, norms and values, which represent those individual qualities considered to be desirable.’8

Guidelines for student and staff conduct in UNIJOS

  • 9 University of Jos Student Information Handbook, Jos, Fab Anieh (Nig) Ltd. 1991/92 ed, 20.

17According to a University of Jos Student Information Handbook: ‘The university is established primarily to educate. Cultural development and the inculcation of good character are integral parts of that education.’9

18On accepting admission, a student is automatically expected to comply with the rules and regulations governing student conduct. This applies to university staff members too. According to the university document cited above, the misconduct of students is treated in line with the provisions of the courts of the land. The document provides that in cases of minor offences committed by students, a student court can be constituted. Normally, immediately after the elections of the Student Union Government, a court is constituted by the Students’ Affairs Division in conjunction with the new executives of the student union. The court is presided over by the university’s barrister and sits twice every week. It tries minor offences committed by students, such as: fighting, alleged stealing and debt default, among others.

19The University of Jos requires that students of the university should maintain a high standard of personal integrity, pursue their studies peacefully, especially in seeking to bring about changes in the system. Students are expected, therefore, to bring their minor complaints to this court for settlement. The university regards as ‘serious’, any act of unethical, immoral, dishonest, disloyal or destructive behaviour, as well as violations of university regulations. For this reason, the university is naturally concerned about the actions of some individuals or groups of individuals, who have perpetrated acts of deviance without regard to the rights of other members of the community, and which may be in conflict with the welfare and integrity of the institution.

20The legitimate expression of differing opinions is an essential part of the academic community, but the imposition of opinions upon those who, in turn, dissent from them, is deemed intolerable.

21The university has a ban on the following: cooking in students’ rooms; receiving visitors earlier than 10.00 a.m. and later than 8.00 p.m.; students of the opposite sex sleeping in the same room, or seen in the same room after 8.00 p.m.; keeping pets in the hostel; not registering electrical equipment with hall porters; use of radios and televisions and other musical instruments earlier than 6.00 a.m. and later than 11.00 p.m.; disturbance caused by loud electronic equipment, and taking exeat or going on vacation without informing hall porters.

22Other misdemeanours which can be brought before the Student Disciplinary Committee include: absence from lectures, tutorials, laboratory/academic practicals without the approval of the head of department and/or lecturer(s); vacating halls without surrendering keys; going on holiday with university property; keeping untidy rooms; misuse of paper in toilets; fighting in the hostel; and publishing tracts, or bulletins without obtaining the permission from the authorities of the university.

23The disciplinary powers of the university rest with the vice-chancellor through the Student Disciplinary Committee and to a limited extent, heads of department, hall masters and certain officers of the university. Students who indulge in criminal offences are usually handed over to the police.

24Sanctions for the violation of regulations depend on the severity of the offence and include the following: fines, loss of privileges, disciplinary probation, suspension, expulsion. Students have the right to appeal.

25On student demonstrations, the university provides the following:

  1. Peaceful demonstrations are allowed on the campus provided the students give a 48-hour notice in writing to the registrar personally.

  2. The vice-chancellor may permit peaceful demonstration over national or international issues on a 36-hour notice, but in that case, the venue of such a demonstration will be outside the campus.

  3. In all cases of demonstrations, students are responsible for ensuring that the laws of the land are kept.

  4. Demonstrations of any kind are totally prohibited in staff residential areas of the university.

  5. The university forbids any form of demonstration directed against an individual member of staff, a student or any other member of the university community.

26The university expects that the Student Union would be an effective means of training students in leadership roles/positions and as a channel for student involvement in the affairs of the university.

27As we have suggested earlier in this paper, antisocial activities on the campuses of the nation’s universities over the last ten years, including the University of Jos, have increased. For example, table 4 reveals that, although there were fluctuations, theft and fraudulent activities (including official mismanagement of student union funds in 1995) increased by 62.5 per cent in 1991 over the 1983 figures. Examination malpractices also increased by 910 per cent in 1997 over the 1984 figures.

  • 10 University of Jos, Academic Brief, 1996/97 Vom, National Veterinary Research Institute Press.
  • 11 University of Jos Regulations Governing the Conditions of Service of Junior Staff, Jos, Savannah Pr (...)

28In respect of university staff, the Interpretation Act of 1964 empowers the university to make statutes. Section 15(1) provides for the removal and discipline of academic, administrative and professional staff10 (Academic Brief 1996/97). Regulations governing the conditions of service of senior and junior staff of the University of Jos also provide for discipline of staff. Chapter IX of the Junior Staff Regulation Handbook11 spells out the following as disciplinary procedures: formal warning, suspension, deferment of increment, withholding of increment, reduction in rank, termination, dismissal and making good the loss or damage of university property.

29This study found that most of the university staff affected by the disciplinary action had their appointments terminated; those dismissed due to theft of university or public property, were also dealt within the judicial system

  • 12 University of Jos, Governing Conditions of Service of Senior Staff, 1 July 1983.

30Section 71 of the senior staff regulations12 is titled Discipline. From our research, those involved in acts which were classified as ‘undisciplined’ were academic staff who went on ‘leave’, but did not return at the agreed time. Such actions increased by 621.4 per cent in 1997 over the figure in 1991.

31The student demonstration at the vice-chancellor’s house in 1995/1996 was considered a deviant act; likewise, demonstrations that were not preceded by an appropriate notice served on the authorities.

Data presentation and analysis

32Data for this study derive from two principal sources: ethnographic surveys and the examination of statistical information. Ethnographic interviews took place in all students’ halls of residence, as well as the two major permanent staff quarters and the Bauchi Road Campus. The specific students’ halls of residence used were: Naraguta (male and female), Abuja (male and female), Students Village (male and female) and Bank Road Hostel. Bauchi Road and ‘permanent site’ senior staff quarters were the staff residences where the interviews took place. Secondary data collection took place in the administrative complex and involved the examination of files on administrative disciplinary action on staff and students of the university.

33Some of the information contained in some of the files had been published in the official university newsletter, Newsflash. Data were checked from 1983 to 1998 (a period of 15 years). A total of 265 persons from different social/economic backgrounds were interviewed. The analysis that follows the tables presented here undertakes a holistic overview of the samples.

34A total of fifteen student field assistants had just concluded the administration of the questionnaire before the students/administration misunderstandings that eventually led to the closure of the university on 1 June 1998.

Religious affiliation of informants

  • 13 S. O. Smah, Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Violence in Jos, Nigeria, Occasional publication no 1 (...)

35Our survey questionnaire revealed that most of the study informants were Christians (85.66 %). This was followed by adherents of Islam (12.45 %). There was one adherent of Zot, one Rasta and three non responses. In all societies, whether modern or traditional, religion plays a vital role in maintaining social control. Smah (1997) acknowledges the role of traditional religious beliefs in spiritual forces as powerful channels for securing social control among the Migili people of Nassarawa State, Nigeria.13

  • 14 T.M. Gannon, Religious control and delinquent behaviour, Sociology and Social Research, July, 51, 1 (...)

36With almost 100 per cent of the sample indicating their belief in God, deviance was expected to be minimal. Gannon (1967) observed, however, that religious control has little effect on delinquent behaviour.14 Apart from the lack of empirical data or evidence to show the precise line of demonstration between the effects of religion and other factors on delinquent behavior, Gannon notes that belief in and the notion of God held by individuals differed. In addition, the affinity between religious bodies and the state machinery considered by youths as promoting injustice, inequity and corruption, further cast doubt on the faithfulness of religious adherents. The effect of religion on delinquents was apparently minimal. At UNIJOS, in spite of the respondents’ claims to various religious beliefs, deviance was unexpectedly high.

Dimensions of campus deviance

37Table 1 (below) classifies the distribution of deviant activities by type. Seven-hundred and seventeen incidences of deviant behaviour were reported by 265 respondents; they were then grouped into five categories: Substance abuse; economic cheating; sexual deviance; cultism and related violence; and examination misconduct. Under the five categories, the following subgroups were identified: substance abuse (smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse and trafficking, etc.); economic cheating (stealing clothes, shoes, foodstuffs, money; burglary, armed robbery, etc.); sexual deviance (prostitution, rape, immorality, homosexuality, lesbianism, premarital sex, etc.); occultism and related violence (occult activities, fighting, murder, grievous assault, etc); and examination misconduct (forgery, cheating, ‘dubbing’. ‘AACS’ impersonation, etc.).

38From the 717 incidents recorded in this study, economic deviance was the largest single category (217 acts of deviance), constituting 30.26 per cent. This was followed by sexual deviance (25.38 %) and occultism and related violence (21.76 %). Substance abuse was 13.67 per cent, while examination misconduct comprised 8.93 per cent. The data in table 2 were recorded on the basis of gender, except for Bank Road students and the Hotel and Bauchi Road Campus; responses from these localities were not separated on gender basis.

Causes of campus deviance and its control

39In table 2, the respondents were asked to indicate three effective control strategies for deviance control. The 273 responses were grouped into three categories: adequate socialization of offenders by family and university authorities; expulsion and suspension; and reference to the police.

40Table 2 also presents the associated causal factors of campus deviance. The main causes of deviance identified were: poverty, greed, and selfishness and lack of adequate socialization by parents and society. Poverty was cited 131 times as the cause of deviance; it represented almost 50 per cent of the total causes of deviance. Nevertheless, 73.92 per cent of the respondents felt that poverty-related deviants should be handed over to the police; 59.62 per cent felt deviants should be expelled, dismissed or suspended; and 41.92 per cent of the respondents felt they should be rehabilitated by the university authorities and their parents through adequate socialization including lectures, workshops, and other forms of counselling.

41Greed and selfishness were cited by 22.34 per cent (61) of the respondents as the causes of university deviance. These respondents were of the opinion that deviance related to greed and selfishness should be controlled through handing over of suspects to the police (17.39 %), expulsion, dismissal and suspension (17.31 %) and adequate socialization (24.24 %).

42Eighty-one informants (29.67 %) believed that lack of adequate parental and societal socialization accounted for deviance. The majority of the respondents (33.34 %) believed that the control of deviant acts from poor socialization habits should be achieved through adequate socialization of offenders by family and university authorities; another 23.07 per cent thought deviant students should be suspended, dismissed or expelled; while 8.69 per cent felt they should be handed over to the police. While these control measures contribute in varying degrees to the ultimate control of deviant activities in the university community, one wonders whether they can be effective and efficient without a concrete and effective social and eco-political framework. This framework, to a large extent, defines the quality of socialization and control given to culprits and suspects, as well as victims.

Trends in student deviance in UNIJOS (1983-1998)

43The data discussed above represent the observations and perceptions of respondents on deviance in the University of Jos. Table 3 reveals the features of official trends of university deviance for more than 15 years, between 1983 and 1998.

44Incidences of examination misconduct were reported, treated and recorded in all the academic years except 1983 and 1988. Examination deviancy accounted for 72.92 per cent of all cases of deviance treated by the authorities of the university between 1983 and January - May of 1998.

45In spite of the wide variation in the number of incidences of deviance as shown in the tables, the non availability of data in some instances was traced to poor and insufficient record keeping. For example, available information shows that only 12 cases of secret cult activities were recorded between 1983 and 1998, and that these were all in 1984. This figure does not explain or take into account the increase in secret cult activities in the 1990s in the university.

46While examining the files given to us by the Information and Publications Unit of the university, there was no mention of the disciplinary measures meted out to a cult member who shot and killed a student colleague in 1995. This incident resulted from a scuffle that ensued between two cult groups. In other words, we contend that the above table does not reveal the level of student deviance in the University of Jos. From official records, there was a general increase in student deviance, especially in 1997. For example, the number of students involved in examination misconduct rose gradually from 13 to 22 in 1990 and 1991; stayed at 21 in 1994 and 1993; almost tripled to 58 in 1996, and peaked at 101 in 1997. This rapid increase was recorded even though the University Senate granted students involved in examination misconduct between 1990 and 1994 and for 1995/96 session a general amnesty.

Table 1. Distribution of observed campus deviance

Table 1. Distribution of observed campus deviance

Source: Fieldwork, May, 1998.

Table 2. Respondents’ perceptions of deviance and control strategies

Table 2. Respondents’ perceptions of deviance and control strategies

Source: Fieldwork May, 1998.

Table 3. Official trends of deviant activities among UNIJOS students (1983-1998)

Table 3. Official trends of deviant activities among UNIJOS students (1983-1998)

N.B. 1. * Jan. - May only.
2. Each academic year is calculated from the terminal year, e.g., 1993 means 1992/93.
3. Sum total of percentages are rounded up to 100.

47This general increase in exam malpractices points to the fact that the university community is becoming more deviant and calls for a more concerted effort towards deviance prevention. These deviant activities constitute a departure from the institutional requirements for being a bonafide student of the University of Jos.

Official control of deviance

48From 1983-1998 (table 4), official deviance control ranged from expulsion (60.48 %), to suspension (36.07 %), to eviction from halls of residence (3.45 %). While many students were reinstated to their full student status, (due to the general senate amnesty granted for students for 1990-1994 and 1995/96 session), expulsion and suspension were mostly used in student deviance control. In any case, the expulsion of students was recommended on the basis of their assent to charges against them.

Tabic 4. Official trends in student deviance control in UNIJOS-Nigeria (1983-1998)

Tabic 4. Official trends in student deviance control in UNIJOS-Nigeria (1983-1998)

Notes: na = not available, * = January - May, All percentages rounded up to 100 %

Source: Case files, Dept. of Information/Publication, UNIJOS.

49Similarly, expulsions were based on the conviction of suspects who were involved in examination misconduct, acts capable of disturbing the peace of the university, stealing, violence and grievous assault.

50In respect of academic and non academic staff discipline, table 5 shows a picture of staff deviance control by the university. Most of the affected staff was non academic. They were either involved in theft or aided theft, and the manipulation of convocation lists. Some were terminated for various other reasons. Most of the academic staff who were dismissed were those who went on sabbatical or annual leave but did not return in accordance with contract agreements. Apart from those that left in search of ‘greener pastures’, the rest were involved in examination or admission scandals. These took the form of leaking examination questions for personal economic gains or duping innocent students of the fees. The highest incidence of staff deviance (including references to the police and the law courts) occurred in 1997 (45.08 %), 1992 (19.19 %), 1996 (9.82 %) and 1994 (9.37 %).

51That staff of the university would aid and abet cheating, stealing and fraudulence while they were expected to protect/safeguard students and maintain moral values, signifies a dangerous trend and a loss of integrity. The violation of working regulations in lieu of better employment elsewhere in the world should draw the attention of the federal government to the poor conditions of service in Nigerian universities.

  • * Jan. - May only

Table 5. Disciplinary action with respect to deviant staff of UNIJOS (1991-1998)*

Table 5. Disciplinary action with respect to deviant staff of UNIJOS (1991-1998)*

Source: Case-files, Department of Information/Publication, UNIJOS.

Deviance control by graffiti

52Graffiti is one of the informal mechanisms of deviance control, especially among students. Many of the messages scrawled on the walls of the university are meant to draw the attention of the university community to the existence of deviant behaviour. Often, a statement or complaint is written on the wall and then subsequent reactions to it are written beneath it. These are often found on the walls in the bathroom or toilets or walls outside these conveniences.

53A content analysis of the writings found in such places reveals a significant amount of information. What is presented below is a small sample of wall graffiti in the hostels and Bauchi Road Campus. Only a few were selected to illustrate my point.

54Samples of Graffiti

  1. On Premarital Sex/Prostitution

  1. Yeye woman, she dey sleep for boys hostel come bath here.

  2. No mind am, why she no bath there, if shame no dey her face.

  1. On Personal Hygiene & Toilet Manners

  1. See as you dey do guy, your mama no teach you how to use toilet?

  2. Stupid people, they can’t repair the toilets.

  3. Punishment so far: Fasting and prayers is going on to reveal the “goat”. You can’t even pity the hard-working woman who is your mother’s age.

  4. Misuse of the water closet: Stand on seat, don’t sit; shit outside not in toilet; do not use toilet roll to wipe anus, do use your hand; do not wash your hands afterwards, wash your hands before, with sand not water. Thanks, unconcerned.

  1. On Deviance Control by Deviant Means:

  1. Foolish girls una no get time for book, na writing for toilet dey worry una.

  2. “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand”. The response to this reads:

  3. “Na sin to preach for toilet”.

55The research assistants reported that male students’ bathrooms/toilets had more graffiti than toilets in female hostels. Bizarre sketches of female and male sex organs decorated the walls; sexual activities featured mostly on the list of obscene things observed by researchers.

56Reactions to wall graffiti by wall graffiti constitute deviance in their own right. Thus, appeals to stop students from writing on the walls were done through writing on the wall (see no. 3 above).


57The incidents of deviance identified in this study at the University of Jos are a reflection of serious national social ills and moral decay. Bad leadership, corruption and the mismanagement of the nation’s resources have further marginalized and entrenched the masses into a vicious circle of poverty and deviance. Poverty is palpable amongst students, lecturers and other lower level administrators in various places, including our universities.

58Lecturers seeking to enhance their meagre salary package sometimes engage in unwholesome practices. Likewise, the tendency of the universities to milk the students has led to greater incidences of theft, cult activities and violence.

59Some photocopying enterprises indicated that some students who gave them work collected the work and pledged to pay later, but many of them defaulted on their payments. Thus, the need to meet up with the challenges of school work and general living expenses has resulted in some antisocial behaviour by students who can no longer afford to worry about the consequences of their misdemeanours.

60The pride associated with working hard to pass examinations has been replaced in many instances by a system of bribery. Lecturers who insist on going by the rules, often face angry protests from the students. One such incident was reported in the Faculty of Social Sciences in 1996. Unfortunately, whether by reason of greed, moral decay, depravity or poverty, a number of lecturers have compromised their authority. For example, the Newsflash, of 30th September 1994 stated.

  • 15 University of Jos, Newsflash, 30 September 2 (25)1994, 8.

...a lecturer with the Mathematics Department (name withheld) during the 1992/93 session examinations ... in his own handwriting, wrote out answers for a student (name withheld) and also provided another student (name withheld) with answer script to copy out for three (3) other students (names also withheld). Newsflash crew, through further investigations gathered that (the lecturer) has during the 1993/94 admission exercise, received the sum of eleven thousand naira (11,000.00) from Mrs Esther Okiri under the pretext of offering her children admissions and changing their courses. Upon these revelations, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nenfort E. Gomwalk, directed that (the lecturer) be suspended...15

61Networks of students and staff exist who promise admission to prospective students, course changes and hostel allocation. These networks provide a service for certain categories of students who have low JAMB scores and cannot enter the university through legal channels. The nature of this network requires further research.

62Let us examine the most recent closure of the University of Jos on June 1, 1998, and the prolonged crisis that led to its closure, and put it 4n its right perspective. In the context of this research, it was an act of large-scale deviance of sociological relevance to the issue under study in this paper. According to a student’s account of the crisis, the authorities of the university asked Naraguta (Male Blocks A and B) to move to their ‘new’ Abuja and Village hostels in order to pave way for Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) renovations. The students did not accept this. The authorities of the university confirmed that some students set themselves against the decision of the university to allow PTF into the hostels for the work.

63Clashes between the police and students, and between factions of students led to different dimensions of deviance. For example, official sources claimed that a Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) vehicle was damaged, as well as some university property, and the nearby Baptist High School, Jos. It was alleged that a student died as a result of injuries he sustained from beatings unleashed on him in the Village Hostel by the police. This was said to have taken place around 4.00 a.m. on Sunday, May 31, 1998. Subsequently, the university was closed to students indefinitely on June 1, 1998.

64This situation must be seen in the light of increasing social lawlessness. In the middle of this crisis, both students and the university authorities accused each other of not following laid down guidelines on conflict resolution in order to restore peace on the campus. Most of the students and staff interviewed did not even know the actual reasons for the demonstration that led to the closure of the university. Whatever the reason, our opinion in the context of this research is that deviant acts that are not properly managed will always lead to more deviant acts.

65As a general consequence, the undermining of academic excellence in the universities will have negative consequences for the entire nation, because universities produce the required technical manpower for the country’s social, political, economic and industrial development.


66Based on the findings of this research, we conclude that:

  1. The university system is going through massive social, moral, philosophical and cultural revolutions and changes.

  2. The changes being witnessed touch on issues sensitive to the heart of the nation - integrity, respect for constituted authorities, equity, justice, transparently honest leadership, respect for the rights and privileges of others and community security.

  3. Antisocial activities are on the increase, especially examination malpractices and theft and violence.

  4. Sanctions of different degrees of severity have been employed but they do not seem to have yielded the desired results. For example, expulsions and dismissals have not affected the ebbs and flows of campus deviance, especially as regards examination malpractices.

Selected Readings

67Akers, R. L. 1977. Deviant Behavior: Social Learning Perspective. Wadsworth, Belmont, California.

68Ayu, I.D. 1994.University System News (Abuja) 4 (1): 1. Becker, H.S. 1963. Outsiders. The Free Press, New York.

69Bell, R.R. and J.B. Chaskes. 1968. Premarital sexual experience among coeds, 1958-1968.

70In: Sociology of Student Life

71Cohen, A.K. 1965. The sociology of deviant acts: Anomie theory and beyond. American Sociology Review 30 (1): 5-14.

72Dyorough A.E. 1984. Alcoholism among students: a case study of the University of Jos students. The Society 3 (Jan): 25-46.

73Dyorough, A.E. 1995. Alcohol use and behaviour among UNIJOS library users. Paper presented at the 3rd Biennial Conference on Drugs and Alcohol organized by CRISA, Jos

74May 22-23.

75Ejikeme, G.G. 1990. Related issues in university students use and abuse of sedatives and narcotics. Paper presented at the Conference on Crime and Crime Control by the Year 2000 A.D., Law Auditorium, UNIJOS, Nov. 26-26. Erikson, K.T. 1962. Notes on the sociology of deviance. Social Problem (Spring): 308. Gannon, T.M. 1967. Religious control and delinquent behaviour. Sociology and Social Research 51 (July): 418-431.

76Homby, A.S. et al., eds., 1974. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English. 3rd Edition. Oxford University Press, London.

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1 The Standard Newspapers, Jos (27 November 1983), 11.

2 I.D. Ayu, University System News, Abuja, 4(1) 1994, 1.

3 A.S..Hornby, et al. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English, 3rd edition, London, Oxford University Press, 1974, 326.

4 T. Parsons, The Social System, New York, The Free Press, 1951, 206.

5 R.K. Merton, The social structure and anomie. American Sociological Review 3, 1964, 672-682.

6 Sir P. Medawar, cited in J.N. Burton, ed. Ethnological Studies of Child Behaviour, Chicago, Chicago University Press, ix.

7 T. Sellin, Culture, conflict and crime. In: Comparative Criminology, Vol 2, H. Mannheim, ed., London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1965 p. 6.

8 H. Mannheim, Comparative Criminology, Vol 2, ed., London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1965.

9 University of Jos Student Information Handbook, Jos, Fab Anieh (Nig) Ltd. 1991/92 ed, 20.

10 University of Jos, Academic Brief, 1996/97 Vom, National Veterinary Research Institute Press.

11 University of Jos Regulations Governing the Conditions of Service of Junior Staff, Jos, Savannah Press, 17.

12 University of Jos, Governing Conditions of Service of Senior Staff, 1 July 1983.

13 S. O. Smah, Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Violence in Jos, Nigeria, Occasional publication no 10, Ibadan, Institute Français de Recherche en Afrique and African Book Builders, 1997.

14 T.M. Gannon, Religious control and delinquent behaviour, Sociology and Social Research, July, 51, 1967, 418-431.

15 University of Jos, Newsflash, 30 September 2 (25)1994, 8.

Notes de fin

* Jan. - May only

Table des illustrations

Titre Table 1. Distribution of observed campus deviance
Crédits Source: Fieldwork, May, 1998.
Fichier image/jpeg, 444k
Titre Table 2. Respondents’ perceptions of deviance and control strategies
Crédits Source: Fieldwork May, 1998.
Fichier image/jpeg, 212k
Titre Table 3. Official trends of deviant activities among UNIJOS students (1983-1998)
Fichier image/jpeg, 228k
Légende N.B. 1. * Jan. - May only. 2. Each academic year is calculated from the terminal year, e.g., 1993 means 1992/93. 3. Sum total of percentages are rounded up to 100.
Fichier image/jpeg, 268k
Titre Tabic 4. Official trends in student deviance control in UNIJOS-Nigeria (1983-1998)
Légende Notes: na = not available, * = January - May, All percentages rounded up to 100 %
Crédits Source: Case files, Dept. of Information/Publication, UNIJOS.
Fichier image/jpeg, 396k
Titre Table 5. Disciplinary action with respect to deviant staff of UNIJOS (1991-1998)*
Crédits Source: Case-files, Department of Information/Publication, UNIJOS.
Fichier image/jpeg, 97k


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