Over 3 In 10 Nigerians Have Experienced Bullying in Secondary School

Abuja, Nigeria. February 21st, 2022 – A new public opinion poll conducted by NOIPolls has revealed that 34 percent of adult Nigerians have disclosed that they experienced some form of bullying during their secondary school days. More findings from the poll revealed that physical (65 percent), extreme punishment (46 percent) and exploitation (24 percent) are the top three forms of bullying mostly experienced in various secondary schools across the country.

Reports of bullying of students across secondary schools in Nigeria is now becoming the norm. Some of the victims suffer physical and mental trauma, while others lose their lives in the process. Very recently, 12-year-old, Sylvester Oromoni, a Junior Secondary School 2 (JSS2) student of Dowen College, in the Lekki axis of Lagos State, tragically died under controversial circumstances leading to a public outcry. The late Dowen student was reportedly said to have been bullied by the boys in his school who were quite older than him.[1]

Insights from the poll results further revealed that 82 percent of adult Nigerians interviewed believe that bullying in secondary schools in the country is prevalent. However, it is worrisome that out of the (34 percent) who have been bullied before, (70 percent) did not report the incident while (27 percent) said they reported the incident. Also, of the (27 percent) who mentioned that they reported, (41 percent) of them claimed that nothing was done to the perpetrators after they were reported. Opinions on causes of bullying revealed cultism as the main cause of bullying in secondary schools as stated by (27 percent) of the respondents interviewed. While this is followed by those who attributed it to poor upbring (19 percent), 17 percent ascribed it to lack of morals and fear of God.

With regards to the solution to this menace, 31 percent of the respondents recommended that CCTV cameras should be installed to monitor activities in secondary schools. Also, 14 percent advocated for a policy on bullying given that there are no specific anti-bullying laws and policies implemented in secondary schools. Given the current situation, there is an urgent need for extensive implementation of legislations that will define prohibited bullying behaviours, reporting requirements, investigation process, and method of sanctions. These are the key highlights from the Bullying Poll conducted in the week commencing February 14th, 2022.

Survey Background

The word “Bullying” can be described as seeking to harm, intimidate or coerce someone or people perceived as vulnerable, whereas, bullying in schools refers to one or more perpetrators who have greater physical or social power than their victim and act aggressively towards their victims by verbal or physical means. Bullying comes in different forms i.e., Emotional, Verbal, Physical, Exploitation etc. Bullying in secondary schools in Nigeria has existed since time immemorial especially in the boarding system and usually centers on students in the lower cadre. Senior students tend to intimidate the junior students either for gratification, maintaining the superiority status or just simply for the fun of it.  Some teachers or staff sometimes also pick on students for no just cause.

The effects of bullying are numerous and are mostly negative as they tend to affect the emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing of the victims. Emotional, verbal bullying and exploitation affects the victim’s self-esteem, mind-set and also instills fear and paranoia in the victim to the extent of losing concentration, focus and confidence in the classroom and also socially. Physical bullying leads to physical pain, ailments, fractures and sometimes death. An incident that occurred in Lagos State Nigeria, shocked the nation as Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old student in a private boarding school was alleged to have been bullied by his school mates. He was claimed to have been beaten, assaulted and poisoned, an incidence that led to his death. The case is still a matter of jurisprudence. Exploitation leads the victims to starvation or malnutrition, mental disorientation because their provisions or pocket money have been seized. The most impactful side effect is the unending vicious cycle of bullying that lingers for years unending.

First step to mitigate against bullying is creating awareness on the ills and dangers of bullying and the negative effects it has on students’ who desire to acquire quality education in a conducive environment. School administrations should pay close and proper attention to the activities of the students during school hours and even after, fostering a harmonious student relationship. Guidance and Counselling centers should be established in secondary schools for easy access to address students’ academic, vocational, individual challenges and social adjustment needs. Parents and Guardians should also ensure they pay keen attention to their children’s or wards’ behavior in order to notice any changes either physical or emotional. Schools should treat each reported incident of bullying with utmost attention and quick resolution and most importantly adopt a Zero tolerance to bullying. These and many more will help rid the country of the ugly menace of bullying in schools. Against this backdrop, NOIPolls conducted a survey to gauge the pulse of Nigerians regarding bullying in secondary schools.

Survey findings

The first question sought the publics understanding of bullying in secondary school and the result revealed that most adult Nigerians (77 percent) understand it as intimidating or threatening of junior students by senior students in secondary schools.

With regards to prevalence, an overwhelming proportion of Nigerians (82 percent) believe that the issue of bullying in secondary schools in Nigeria is prevalent. The South East zone had more respondents (95 percent) who mentioned that it is prevalent in the region. 

There are various ways and types of bullying however, when respondents were asked of the type of bullying they are aware of, (83 percent) of respondents mentioned physical bullying and this cuts across gender, geo-political zones and age-group with at least 77 percent representation. Other types of bullying mentioned includes extreme punishment (39 percent), verbal bullying (37 percent), emotional bullying (26 percent) and exploitation bullying (17 percent).

Furthermore, the survey result showed that 97 percent of the respondents interviewed disclosed they attended secondary school in Nigeria while a minor 3 percent stated otherwise.

Subsequently, 97 percent respondents who admitted that they attended secondary school in the country were further probed and the findings revealed that while (33 percent) were boarders, (67 percent) were day students.

Irrespective of whether the respondents were boarders or day students, 34 percent mentioned that they had experienced at least one form of bullying during their secondary school days. On the other hand, 66 percent stated that they did not experience any bullying during their days in secondary school.

Analysis by age-group showed that respondents aged 18 – 35 years accounted the highest proportion who experienced bullying in secondary school than other age category. This points to the fact that bullying in secondary school is becoming a growing concern.

Respondents were further probed, and the poll result revealed that majority of the respondents (65 percent) experienced physical bullying when they were in secondary school. This is followed by those who experienced extreme punishment (46 percent) and exploitation (24 percent) amongst others forms of bullying.

With regards to taking action, it is gratifying to note that (27 percent) of the respondents were courageous enough to report the incidence to the authorities. However, it is worrisome to note that majority of those that were bullied did not take any action.

Furthermore, findings revealed that (41 percent) of the respondents who reported the incidence claimed that no action was taken against perpetrators. However, (28 percent) stated that the perpetrators were cautioned while (13 percent) asserted that the parents of the perpetrators were invited to the school.

With regards to causes of bullying in secondary schools, cultism (27 percent), Poor upbringing (19 percent), Lack of morals and the fear of God (17 percent) were the top three causes responsible for bullying in secondary schools in the country amongst other causes mentioned.

In terms of proffering solutions, the top three solutions recommended by the respondents are installation of CCTV cameras to monitor activities in secondary schools (31 percent), schools should ensure strict rules on bullying (14 percent) and praying about the incidence (14 percent).

Conclusion

In conclusion, the poll has clearly revealed that, undoubtedly, there is a significant problem in the occurrence of bullying in secondary schools in Nigeria as 82 percent stated that it is prevalent. Also, 34 percent of the respondents interviewed disclosed that they had experienced one form of bullying during their days in secondary school. Age group analysis on personal experience of bullying also concurs that bullying is becoming an growing concern.

Finally, bullying should be seen as the responsibility of everyone including the government, educators, policymakers, police, parents, community organizations, religious organizations, and students themselves to see to it that bullying is reduced to the minimum or is eliminated permanently from secondary schools. As advocated by 14 percent of the respondent, it is important that a policy on bullying should be implemented given that there are no specific anti-bullying laws and policies in secondary schools. Therefore, there is the need for extensive implementation of legislations that will define prohibited bullying behaviors, reporting requirements, investigation process, and method of sanctions.

Survey Method

The poll was conducted in the week commencing February 14th, 2022. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise – within a range of plus or minus 4.65%.

NOIPolls Limited, is the No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com or download our mobile app NOIPolls on your smartphone.

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited, or published.

NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken because of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions, or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

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[1] https://21stcenturychronicle.com/revealed-10-school-bullying-cases-that-shocked-nigeria/