Juvenile Delinquency and its Control in Colonial Lagos, 1861 to 1960


African Humanities Program Dissertation Fellowships




This study focuses on attempts to control one of the negative consequences of the social change heralded by the advent of colonialism in Lagos as it relates to youths: the social problem called juvenile delinquency. It critically examines the origin and development of social welfare services in the crown colony of Lagos as attempted solutions to new forms of negative social behaviors exhibited by Lagos youths. The "juvenile delinquent" emerged in the 1920s and became so visible during the Second World War as to catch the attention of the British colonial government, compelling them to take measures to curb the phenomenon. Examples of "delinqencies" include: theft, gambling, wandering, drug addiction, hawking, juvenile prostitution and homelessness, child marriage, and pick-pocketing.