Debates, Resources



Delivered at Quarter Finals – Faculty Category, Jaw War 2018

Today’s debate is not about the cause of crime in Nigeria. What we argue today is the cause of the high crime rate in Nigeria. While we agree that both poverty and greed can cause crime. We simply say greed and not poverty qualifies to be the qualifier of high crime rate in Nigeria. 

A crime according to is an intentional action or omission which constitutes an offence and is punishable by law. According to Cambridge dictionary, greed is a very strong wish to continuously get more of something while poverty by the same source is simply the scarcity or lack of a certain amount of material possession. However, in a desperate attempt to be right, my opponents might come today to say poverty is not just the lack of money but the lack of anything at all. Even in their desperation, this assertion still has no validation.

First, from the definition, only greed practically relates with the premise of today’s debate. The topic speaks of the high crime rate in Nigeria. While poverty is simply lack, greed is a heightened desire to have more. While poverty addresses the absence of a thing, greed says I want a higher dose even with the presence of that thing.  And all we are saying is that it is this heightened desire to have more that causes a high crime rate in Nigeria. Because while poverty, lack can lead you to commit a crime, greed is what keeps you there. As long as this is true, greed and not poverty is the cause of high crime rate in Nigeria.

Furthermore, it is necessary we look at crimes that have the highest rate in Nigeria and see if these crimes are connected with poverty or greed. According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the leading crimes in Nigeria are; Economic crimes, Financial Crimes, Bribery and Corruption.

Economic crimes. Economic crimes include tax evasion, illegal oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism etc. According to the office of the minister of finance in Nigeria in a report dated March 31 2018 over 800 000 high net worth companies commit the crime of tax underpayment or non-compliance and only 14million out of an economically active 70 million Nigerians pay their taxes. Judges, a person that evades tax is not poor, he only desires to have more of his money to himself and not give back to the society. That is greed! 

Financial crime includes fraud, money laundering, draft or cheque interception etc. Esteemed audience, according to an article by Nigerian watch titled ‘A study of Crime in Nigeria’ published in 2017 to engage in financial crimes, you need not only a good knowledge of the internet sphere but a standard gadget with standard internet service. These things go beyond the scope of what poverty can explain. How then, can it be the cause of high crime rate? And should my opponents come to say it is a lack of knowledge of good and bad which may be according to them – moral poverty. Please tell them that ignorance is not an excuse before the law. 

Now, on bribery and corruption, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, over 400 billion naira was paid out to public officials as bribes between June 2015 and May 2016. an article published on the vanguard on 1st of August 2016 titled ‘The most corrupt people in Nigeria’ stated that Nigeria’s civil service breeds more criminals than even the garage, and we would not even talk of the former minister of finance who resigned after being convicted of certificate forgery nor dwell on the incalculable sum being embezzled by public office holders. We would rather state that it is the selfish desire of these officials to have to themselves what belongs to all that is the cause of this high rate of crime.

My opponents might come here to argue on how unemployment, hunger or whatever else they suggest leads to a high crime rate. They might even cite pitiable examples appealing to your emotions. When they do, let them know that poverty can be the excuse for committing a crime but when a man commits the same crime again and again and again, it is no longer because he has never had that thing, it is because he desires to have more and more of that thing. This is greed not poverty.

In conclusion, Mahatma Gandhi once said that the world has enough for every man’s need but not every man’s greed. This means, man can never get to a point where he feels he does not need more. Until my opponents can come here to prove how poverty is not lacking and how greed is not wanting more of what you already have, they have no case in this debate.