Poverty and Social Violence in Africa: Nigeria as Case Study

As with most societies around the world, violence has been a common feature of many African societies. While political violence, especially those targeted at the state and involving armed groups, has gained popularity in public discourses, social violence is one form of violence that is not necessarily against the state. Often driven by few (if any) political objectives, social violence is increasingly becoming a regular occurrence in many states across Africa and other parts of the world. Unfortunately, because of the complex nature of its causal antecedents, social violence attracts less attention from scholars and policy makers. Based on the long-standing arguments that poverty and violence have a significant relationship, this paper focuses on, and demonstrates, the connection between the increasingly high poverty rates and armed social violence in Africa including urban violence and organized crimes such as kidnapping and drug trafficking. The paper presents a set of recommendations to ameliorate poverty and manage the incidence of armed social violence in Africa.