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1.0 Background to the Study

Various studies have stated that privacy security is one of the main concerns for successful e-commerce implementation. The Internet enables people to share their personal information, but Internet users are prone to security attacks. These activities have raised the concern as to the security of the information being transferred, especially when it involves personal details such as real name, credit card details and bank account details. This also means that ignoring and not addressing the human issues of security through proper awareness initiatives and solutions would lead to these security issues not being addressed.

Most countries across the world today operate security awareness schemes as part of interventions to ensure the future socio-economic well-being of their citizens. Rapid socio-economic and demographic changes including aging and poverty across the world underscore the importance of such an intervention.  As Schorr (1963:1) explains, the goal of security awareness is protection against “social insecurity: the situation in which people are exposed to and unprotected against overwhelming, frequently inscrutable social forces.” 

Security awareness is an organised programme that uses public funds to provide some economic security or income protection for its members in the events of certain contingencies. The funds go to support contributors when they reach retirement or old age or become invalid, sick or unemployed. Also, in the case of loss of life, these funds provide support for contributors’ dependents. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) describes security awareness as “the protection that a society provides to individuals and households to ensure access to health care and to guarantee income security, particularly in case of old age, unemployment, sickness, invalidity, work, injury, maternity or loss of a breadwinner”. The income protection benefit provided under a security awareness programme is always financial in nature. 

Security awareness has become an important part of retirement income for many workers globally.

Studies show that security awareness is the main source of income for 70 percent of retirees and a minor source for 23 percent, in the United States of America, according to the 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey. The situation in developing countries, particularly in Africa, may be no different given rising incidence of population aging and changes in the traditional family system which used to be the main resource system for many people in old age. Like many African countries, Ghana is experiencing an aging population and coupled with changes in the extended family system, governments have since the early 1970s been operating the security awareness as an important part of retirement income for formal sector workers. 

Ensuring a secure retirement requires that people carry out successful retirement planning and one way of doing so, is to develop a clear understanding of the retirement income one might be entitled to, from security awareness. Thus, contributors’ knowledge and information on security awareness issues must be important to them. Communication scholars have underscored the importance of information as a resource for enhancing people’s social functioning. Emanuel (2007:1) attempts to explain the important role of communication in our lives as “communication is the vehicle that allows us to recall the past, think in the present, and plan for the future.” What people know about security awareness is likely to influence their savings especially as they near retirement later in life and by extension, their social functioning.  

It is known that some developed countries have put in place measures to inform their citizens on such matters. For instance, the United States of America, through the Security awareness Administration (SSA), sends earnings and benefit statement to workers by mail. The primary purpose for the statement is to provide workers with information on their security awareness benefits and to help them plan their financial futures (Smith and Couch, 2014). In Ghana, the SSNIT has in the past run radio programmes on security awareness to educate, inform and provide knowledge to contributors on the scheme. Yet, according to Bernheim (1998), Lusardi & Mitchell (2008), Mitchell & Moore (1998), Rohwedder & Van Soest (2006), many older workers know little about their retirement benefits. Other scholars suggest that in theory, knowledge and information may not be equally distributed in the society and that underprivileged individuals could be disadvantaged. How much knowledge do contributors of the scheme in Ghana have on the subject as beneficiaries and what is their agency in seeking such knowledge and information?  These are some of the critical issues this study sought to explore.

1.2         Statement of the Problem

Security awareness promises to guarantee protection for the well-being of workers on their retirement or in the event of invalidity, sickness or support to family of contributors who died before the pension age of 60 years. The scheme is mandatory for formal sector workers across Nigeria but also accessible to informal sector workers who can join voluntarily.  Information and knowledge on the subject must therefore be relevant to contributors and one would assume that as future beneficiaries, formal sector employees will have high knowledge on the mandatory SSNIT security awareness scheme. It could also be assumed, that in the absence of such knowledge, contributors will demonstrate agency in seeking information on the scheme and that they would be motivated to do so due to their age and other socio-demographic variables. 

Studies in some countries show that many older workers know little about their retirement benefits

(Bernheim (1998), Lusardi & Mitchell (2008), Mitchell & Moore (1998), Rohwedder & Van Soest (2006).  Anecdotal evidence from media reports in Ghana seems to suggest that contributors have taken for granted information and knowledge on this important subject matter. For example, on

To lend empirical support to such cases and assumptions about contributors’ knowledge and information, this study used the knowledge gap and information seeking behaviour theories to investigate how much knowledge formal sector contributors in the Lagos State had of their security awareness benefits, the factors that would account for this knowledge and their agency in seeking information on the matter. 

1.3         Research Objectives

The following objectives guided the study. Specifically, the study was to find out and examine:

1.   How much knowledge formal sector contributors in Lagos State had of security awareness contributions and   benefits.

2.   What kind of knowledge on security awareness contributions and benefits the contributors have. 

3.   Factors that affect knowledge of formal sector contributors in Lagos State on security awareness contributions and benefits.  

4.   The information seeking behaviours of the formal sector contributors in Lagos regarding security awareness issues.

1.4         Research Questions

Wimmer and Dominick (2011) posit that research questions are formally stated questions intended to provide indications about something but not limited to investigating relationships between variables. They also provide essential and relevant information to understanding the research topic and give direction to the study.This study soughtto investigate the following research questions:

1. Do formal sector contributors in the Lagos, Nigeria have much knowledge of security awareness programmes programmes contributions and benefits?

2. What kind of information do contributors in the study area have on security awareness?

3.   To what extent do factors such as gender, age, education, income, number of years of contribution toward security awareness and sources of information influence the kind of knowledge of contributors in the Lagos?

4.   Do the information needs and information seeking behaviours of formal sector contributors affect the levels of their knowledge of security awareness programmes contributions and benefits? 

By extent of attention, this research examined if contributors know how much they contribute toward security awareness, the essence of security awareness and the benefits under security awareness. The study also investigated the kind of information the contributors have of security awareness. “Kind” as stated ins question two will be used to identify if contributors have factual knowledge or conceptual knowledge of security awareness programmes (Evatt, 1998). Factual knowledge is what exactly security awareness is about, while conceptual knowledge is what contributors think of as being security awareness but not being exactly what security awareness entails. The information needs and information seeking behaviours will be used to determine if contributors are motivated to seek information and what sources they seek information from. 

1.5         Significance of the Study

This study is significant because it addresses some criticisms raised by scholars against the knowledge gap hypothesis. Dervin (1980) raised criticisms that there was no consideration of the needs of the recipients as well as their sources of information, in determining knowledge gaps.

Therefore, this study looked at contributors’ sources of information and how these sources widen or narrow gaps in security awareness knowledge. Evatt (1998) also raised criticism that the usefulness and relevance of the topic under study to the audience was not taken into consideration in establishing gaps in knowledge. This study filled this gap by studying only people who contributed toward security awareness, thus the topic directly concerned them and it was relevant to them.

Also, Wei and Hindman (2011)’s criticism that income and education alone could not cause gaps in knowledge, therefore other factors should be considered in determining gaps in knowledge, was addressed by this study. This study examined age, gender and length of contribution toward the security awareness scheme in addition to education and income, to determine gaps in security awareness knowledge.

Further, the study provides information (to communication practitioners of the security awareness scheme) as to how knowledge of security programmes contributions and benefits can affect people’s attitude toward contributing to the scheme and the need for using varied approaches in communicating to the different categories of contributors.

1.6  Scope of the Study

The study focused on two towns in the Lagos namely, Akropong Akuapem and Mampong Akuapem.  These two towns, have institutions whose members are mandated by law to contribute toward security awareness located in them. Akropong and Mampong have the banks, hospitals, metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, most government assisted first and second cycle institutions, and other mandated institutions. This made collection of data easier. Members of these institutions form the formal sector contributors of security awareness, thus the sample for this study. The municipality was chosen because of its location. Since it is semi-urban, there is a limitation in terms of greater opportunities and access to information channels, unlike in the city. 

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