Experts List Measures To Curb Psychosocial Problems In Nigeria

Following rising cases of psycho-social problems in Nigeria, especially among youths, stakeholders from Sociology, Psychology, Guidance and Counselling and other allied disciplines, have called on parents, the society and government at all levels to initiate proactive measures to checkmate the negative trend. 
Presenting the Keynote Address at the opening ceremony of the 7th Annual National Conference of the Nigerian Society for Psycho-social Research (NSPR) at the International Students’ Centre last Tuesday, Professor Nnamdi Obikeze, who spoke on the theme: Nigeria and Her Psycho-Social Problems: The Way Forward, called for proper leadership that would place the country on the right pedestal for accelerated national development.
“Nigeria as a nation has all it takes to be a great nation and giant of Africa when one considers her relative size, population, wealth, natural and human resources, and its favourable climate. It is the sixth largest producer of crude oil in the world and the most populous country in Africa,” Obikeze of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, Anambra State stated.
The Keynote Speaker, identified poor leadership and gullible followership, neglect of some Nigerian cultural practices, lack of national unity, high level of ignorance, religious fanaticism and a conservative educational system which did not prepare the citizens for global competition, as some of the challenges that constitute psycho-social problems in the country. He further argued that some recent breakthroughs in science and technology also constituted nuisance to humanity and formed psycho-social problems that should be tackled. 
Professor Obikeze listed regulations on the use of technological devices such as phones, films, video clips, internet records, credit cards, ban on high alcoholic intake and increase in security surveillance, as ways to mitigate the rising cases of psycho-social problems. He suggested that creation of employment opportunities for the teeming population of unemployed youths and establishment of entrepreneurship and skills acquisition centres where the youths could be trained to become employers of labour instead of seekers of job would also help to tackle some of the menace.
Corroborating the Keynote Speaker, Dean of the Faculty of Education at Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Professor Charles Iwundu, who presented the lead paper, identified neurotic, psychopathic, sociopathic, psychotic and psychosomatic disorders as some effects of the psycho-social problems that bedevil Nigeria. He observed that the country was gradually sliding into a society burdened by psychiatric or to say the least, psychological challenges as most Nigerians were seriously going through a Generalized Anxiety Disorder called Paranoia.
Professor Iwundu emphasised the need to assist fellow Nigerians cope with stress factors associated with the ongoing economic recession, noting that inadequacies in national, food and social security were major indices in measuring a failed state which the country was fast sliding into at the moment.
“The socio-economic and political encumbrances circumventing the nation’s match to progress, greatness, growth and development must not be allowed to play out any form of dialectic materialism because when the centripetal and centrifugal forces begin to gather momentum, the horrendous wave blow can better be imagined than said.
“Nigeria as a multilingual and multi-ethnic nation needs to celebrate what unites her rather than what divides her. We need each other to be like the United States of America. There is equally the need to support efforts, individually and collectively in helping Nigerians cope with stress debilitating factors that impinge on their overall psychological, vocational and scholastic adjustments,” the lead paper presenter submitted, calling for the establishment of Counselling Units in all Local Government Areas of the country.
In his message to the Society, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale, expressed optimism that the conference would critically examine the growing psycho-social problems that bedevil the society and proffer realistic solutions in a way that would assist policy-makers achieve sustainable development.
The Vice-Chancellor, whose remark was read by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor Anthony Ibe, charged the Nigerian Society for Psycho-social Research to initiate measures that would moderate human conduct to conform to conventional expectations in a civilised society.
“The mental characteristics or attitude of a person or social group, their thought processes, frame of mind, including persona, conscious and unconscious thoughts, are valid fields of inquiry for the Nigerian Society of Psycho-social Research. Your group can help us understand the behavioural traits of individuals and groups through establishing certain general principles and researching into such specific cases to the understanding of laymen.
“As a University, we are committed to supporting well-meaning government policies that are targeted at enhancing the psychological balance, intellectual growth and efficient service delivery to the people in a manner that leads to accelerated development of the nation,” the Vice-Chancellor said, congratulating the Dean of the Faculty of Education, Professor Lawrence Igwe, members of the Local Organising Committee and the NSPR for hosting the conference in the University.
Earlier, National President of the Society, Professor Richard Nnachi, commended the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lale for the warm reception accorded the group, pointing out that it was the first time the Society was being hosted in the University. “It is our hope that this great institution would positively influence the intellectual psyche of every member of this organisation in such a manner that at the end of the conference, there must be a positive change in our members and the University community,” Professor Nnachi said.  
The conference also featured interactive and technical sessions by participants that were drawn from across the country.


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