Since the mid 1990s, conflict and brutality have been the cause of several killings, and mutilations of numerous people and the evacuation of an enormous number of people over the country. In fairness, insecurity is not a problem that is unique to Nigeria only, but it geographically spread across the globe. However, in order to understand the term ‘Insecurity’, it is pertinent to have a clear understanding of what ‘Security’ entails.
According to the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Report from 1994, “Security” is defined as “the human survival and dignity through freedom from fear (violence) and freedom from want (poverty)”. Hence, “Insecurity” is a partial or total absence of human survival and dignity occasioned by fear.
INSECURITY IN NIGERIA
Importantly, the cogitation about insecurity began with the distribution of the 1994 United Nations Development Program (UNDP) yearly report. It brought up the basic seven areas of potential concern for security – economics, food, health, environmental, personal, community and political security.
In the Northern Nigeria, contention between the militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram and the Nigerian military has overflowed into encompassing nations. This militant Islamist sect has destabilized the North-East of Nigeria with the kidnapping of 276 school girls from Chibok in April 2014, several bombings, kidnappings and other violent attacks. Since 2009, the sect slaughtered a huge number of individuals and dislodged millions more. About 2.5 million individuals fled their homes and towns, and the immediate outcome of the contention was that the North-East was driven into a serious humanitarian crisis.
Again, the Niger Delta, the oil producing region of Nigeria has for quite a long time experienced oil pollution which has resulted to the loss of the source of livelihoods of many of its indigenes. The region has likewise been ignored by the government despite the fact that the main part of the nation’s funds originates from the district, and this has resulted in several conflicts by some Niger Delta militant group, with a high level breach in security ranging from kidnappings, oil pipe vandalism, bombings, etc.
Moreover, the conflicts between the prevalently Christian farmers and the Muslim cattle herders in the middle belt area of Nigeria, as there are disputes over access and rights to land and water assets and fast desertification, has changed the grazing patterns of cattle’s and this has led to several killings, and resulted to a high level of insecurity in the region and has claimed the lives of so many farmers.
In addition, the recent challenges to democratic government in form of electoral violence has brought about a high level of insecurity in several states in the country.
CAUSES OF INSECURITY IN NIGERIA
In proffering workable solutions to the problems of insecurity in Nigeria, there would be need to expound on majority of the causes of insecurity. Accordingly, the perceived causes of insecurity include unemployment, poor governance and political instability, ethnicity and religions differences, extreme poverty and human deprivation, increased population growth as against the development of the economy. Other causes are porous borders, poor security system and lack of maximization of the security budget, struggle for resources and land, terrorism, high rate of illiteracy, diseases and epidemics.
Thus, unemployment being a major cause of insecurity in Nigeria has resulted in many of the disgruntled youths taking to crimes, robbery, kidnapping, drug-trafficking and all sort of illegal acts. The estimated rate of unemployment among youths who are the major perpetrators of these violent acts that lead to insecurity, is said to be three times higher than among older adults.
Also, bad governance and political insecurity has prompted the breakdown of institutional foundations, rendering the country’s organizations exceptionally frail and ineffectual. Bad governance has manifested in the government’s inability to provide for basic necessities to the masses and meet other public services. This has led to an enormous number of bitter and frustrated citizens who can be triggered easily by any event to be violent.
Besides, ethnic and religious clash is also a cause of insecurity. The regular and rampant ethnic conflicts and religious clashes between Muslims and Christians inflict the regions with significant security challenges. These conflicts are sometimes due to claims over scarce resources and perceived unfairness in state allocation, power, land, councils and local governments.
Moreover, poverty, another cause, is surprisingly more terrible in the country. This is because a large portion of the vital mineral resources are been exploited without accountability, thereby exposing the citizens to hunger and starvation. This leads to the a large number of people involving in several crimes, such as robbery, kidnapping and all sort of vices to earn a living. Thereby resulting in several cases of insecurity. In the midst of abundant natural resources, Nigeria fall under the category of countries with the lowest annual GDP per capita.
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO TACKLING INSECURITY IN NIGERIA
It goes without saying that insecurity in Nigeria has called for a consolidated effort in tackling the menace. Accordingly, it is apt to expound on the workable solutions to ensuring that of the plague of insecurity is tackled. They include increasing efforts in job creation, strengthening good governance, fostering unity amongst ethnic and religious groups, alleviating poverty, ensuring increased economic development to meet the rising population and fester illegal migration and improving the Armed Forces.
Worth of note is the fact that Nigeria still struggle with unemployment. Thus, Nigeria is in dire need of its own economic policies that will address unemployment issues, especially for the youths and create more jobs. These strategies entail governments introducing several welfare packages for the unemployed, encouraging local and foreign private investors by creating an enabling socio-economic and political environment, partnering with private individuals in the establishment of industries, restructuring the educational system by inculcating programs to ensure that graduates become entrepreneurial and modernization of agriculture to increase commercial output.
Moving ahead, bad governance should be a thing of the past in Nigeria. It’s aftermath of insecurity can be curbed when corruption is dealt with. Accordingly, African governments should provide amenities like electricity, water supply, quality health facilities, education. Also, basic necessities such as food, shelter and clothing are to be sacrosanct in government policies. Additionally, the political environment should be free of violence and instability. The periodic elections stipulated by the Constitution should be done in a manner as to guarantee democracy.
Progressively, tackling insecurity in Nigeria is inchoate without harmony between ethnic and religious groups. The rising conflicts stemming from ethnic as well as religious discrepancies can be stopped when there is strict border control. This is possible when border security officials are empowered and trained on how to collaborate with natives. This responsibly should not be left solely for the government alone as other institutions like the Civil society and Non-governmental organizations should help with the establishment of several programs of political and social reorientation.
To note also, is the alleviation of poverty, as this a major concern in the security of lives. Food insecurity can be eradicated by governments’ improvement of the agricultural sector. Flowing from this, there is the need to train and equip farmers for mechanized farming. Also, a step further should be taken to provide loans, take off grants and land. This will ultimately lead to a massive reduction in food insecurity and crime rates.
Worthy of mention is the necessary training and equipping needed in the Military. The threat of insecurity can only be completely stopped when the Military is adequately trained, equipped and ready to stand against it’s growing spread. The report of Military officials losing their lives during engagements with Islamic militants only go to show how unequipped the military strengths of our country is. The Armed Forces should be specially catered to, trained and enhanced with the required technology to enable the Force address the threats that insecurity poses.
The scourge of insecurity, ranging from human insecurity to food insecurity is in increasing measure in Nigeria, leaving a trail of broken humanity. It is a firm resolve that until the threatening causes of insecurity in Nigeria are tackled, the country will continue to be plagued with the scourge of insecurity. Accordingly, there is the need for consolidated effort by the state governments, regional organizations and the private sector in addressing insecurity at different levels.
Ikelegbe, Augustine (2006A), “The Economy of Conflict in the Oil Rich Niger Delta Region of Nigeria”, Journal of Asian and African Studies 5 (1).
1P. S. O. Uddin and 2Uddin, Osemengbe O. Causes, Effects and Solutions to Youth Unemployment Problems in Nigeria Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences (JETEMS) 4(4):397-402
Martins Aimiosio Okoromu a student of Dentistry and Dental Surgery, University of Benin wrote in via email@example.com