In recent times Calabar, the Cross River state capital has been faced with rising insecurity as a result of violence and criminality attributed to street children locally called ‘Skolombo Boys’ and ’Lacasera Girls.’ These homeless children beg for alms and scavenge for recyclable materials on the street, and have become a problem to residents of the state. From roaming the street for survival in bands, some have formed into criminal gangs. They have been associated with incidents of robbery, kidnapping, rape, pick-pocketing, and drug abuse.
The problem of ‘Skolombo Boys’ began around 2013 and seems to have gathered steam in recent times, following a rise in violence and criminality associated with gangs of children in the state. In 2015, the state government inaugurated a special security task force code-named ‘Operation Skolombo’ to address the menace of street children in the state capital. This initiative however, has not been able to effectively address the problem as violence and criminality associated with street children is still prevalent, particularly in Calabar.
Punitive measure alone will not solve this problem. For the issue to be addressed effectively, stakeholders need to emphasize prevention and rehabilitation as well.