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by umeche, chinedum ikenna, Nigeria Oct 23, 2006
Human Rights   Opinions
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Society consists of individuals whose co-existence depends absolutely on interacting with one another. Man, as a being is a gregarious animal. Put in another way, no man is an island. Societal values are determined by members of a particular society. Society therefore decides what is right or wrong. (This of course is determined to a large extent by religion), the haves and have nots; who is a social hero and who is a social deviant. etc.

Basically, in every society, there is this “social stratification” classifying individuals into different groups either based on wealth or academic qualification. The class of the wealthy often dominates the society. They are the rulers, the decision-makers, and they control or determine the economic stand of that society. On the other hand, the class of the poor is only to be seen and not heard. They are the ruled, they must obey or comply with any decision made by the wealthy whether good or bad. They often do menial jobs with very poor remuneration. As a result of this while the wealthy class remain in affluence all their lives, the poor class remains in poverty and the vicious cycle continues -–little or no income; little or no savings; little or no investments. This gives rise to the Doctrine Of Social Inevitability.

It is important to note here that despite the above factors, peace is the essential element of any given society. A society in which violence is taken as the decider of decency is one which human values are in serious danger of extinction and one in which anarchy is bound to reign supreme. It is impossible to see any meaningful future for such a society. Mankind more than any other species needs peace within which to grow.

The Doctrine of Social Inevitability.

The concept of the Doctrine of Social Inevitability stems out from the fact that society of earlier observed is classified into groups; Viz: the strikingly rich and the wretched poor. The society’s structure is therefore socially imbalanced. A situation then arises where these wretched poor would have to do certain things (things considered wrong by the same society) just to remain relevant and save themselves from complete extinction. These so called wrongs are inevitable, “After all, the view of criminology is that society prepares the crime and the individual (criminal) merely commits it”.

A hypothetical example from Indonesian will better explain the Doctrine of Social Inevitability. It is titled: “The Cleaner and The Presidents Pen.”

Former Indonesian President General Suharto and his family members were reported to have fraudulently amassed a fortune, none of them had been charged (Sic) yet in the same country, Mulyadibin Umar Khan, a cleaner at Freedom Palace – Indonesia’s Presidential Palace was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment for stealing pens. Mulyadi was reported to have stolen some Mont Blanc fountain pens used by the president as gifts for newly appointed Indonesian ambassadors. Mulyadi sold of the pens for 2.8 million Rupiah (250 pounds). In a judgement which was delivered in April, presiding Justice Purwanto said “The defendant has stolen the pens which belong to the state, in stealing the pens on different occasions, he committed the crime with deliberation “ But Mulyadi did not go down without a fight. His assertions illustrated the gulf between the Indonesian elites and poor citizens. Before his sentence, Mulyadi claimed that as presidential cleaner, he was paid 82,500 rupiah (7.37 pounds) a month. The retail cost of a Mont Blanc was for him equivalent to 3 years salary. But his monthly rent alone cost 120,000 rupiah (#10.7) excluding living expenses. He further accused other presidential palace officials of bringing home shirts and wall clock from the Palace. He told the Jakarta post “ I thought it will be okay to bring home some pens” the above example can aptly be described as a perfect example of Social Inevitability. Really, Mulyadi’s crime was inevitable. He had to meet up with the ever increasing cost of living (Without corresponding increase in wages). Moreover, when did stealing become a crime committed only by the poor? In many cases while the biggins escape with their loot the “small fries” are often caught and made to face the wrath of the law.


Nigeria consists of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja). These states have capitals which are fully developed and “civilized”. Some of these states apart from the capitals have other major towns, which can also be described as being developed. However over 50% of these states are basically rural. Most often than not, most government programmes are targeted at the cities populace often leaving the rural areas with little or no government projects. Schools located in the cities are well equipped in contrast to schools in the rural area which most times have far more learners than the classroom can accommodate. Again most rural areas are without light; thus, students have to use candle light or lantern to read. This is in sharp contrast to what obtains in the city. Yet, both students in the rural areas and cities will have to take the same examination. What will be the result? The student from the cities does better and proceeds to the next rung on the academic ladder. While his counterpart in the rural area in most cases fail the examination. He either has to repeat or sometimes because he is completely disillusioned, may opt to drop out from school.

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umeche, chinedum ikenna

CHINEDUM UMECHE is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. He is a memeber of Amnesty International, London and The Young International Arbitration Group of the London Court of International Arbitration. He currently works with G. E. Ezomo and Co, a law firm in Benin City, Edo state, Nigeria.

just so nice
umeche, chinedum ikenna | Nov 3rd, 2006
i read your article indebtly and was so engrossed that i never knew when i missed my dinner! you really did a nice job there ikennaz. keep it up james

well thought of
umeche, chinedum ikenna | Nov 3rd, 2006
i was just trying to imagine what came over you when you wrote this. you must have really been inspired by the myriad societal ills that bedevil our very existence. we hope that you will not just stop at exposing your theory but will look for ways, both overt and covert to implement them especially in the 3rd world countries. walele bridget

david mbitu | May 27th, 2008
nice work. Hope to red and share with you, I'm studying and working on criminology.

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