Insecurity is simply defined as uncertainty or anxiety about oneself. The primary responsibility of every government is to protect the lives and properties of its people. This is entrenched in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria section 14(b) that, “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.
Prevailing situations like kidnapping, terrorism, communal crisis, sovereignty agitation, farmer’s-herder’s clashes and Islamic movement of Nigeria riots portrays that the government has failed in executing its primary responsibility.
It is also alarming that national security threat keeps increasing in various forms and dimensions, yet there seems to be no proper measures to put an end to it.
In 2019, the federal government budgeted 1.76 trillion naira for national security and 1.81 trillion naira in 2020. This seems to be grossly insufficient in tackling the security issues bedeviling the nation.
Insecurity is a global challenge. One will wonder why a country like United States, despite its sophisticated military apparatus, still faces security threat.
No amount of security meetings, money spent on arms and ammunition, local or international support can bring about our desired results if the causes of insecurity are not addressed.
Affirmatively, security is everyone’s responsibility; government officials, royal and religious leaders, academia and citizens must participate in tackling this insecurity.
There are many controversies regarding the underlying causes of our national insecurity. Most scholars argue it to be vastly political, while others point to the high rate of unemployment and other situational issues.
These arguments are not far from the facts as they highlight different parts of the same problem. There are seven major causal factors of our national insecurity, namely; high unemployment and poverty rates, porosity of borders, ethno-religious intolerance, lack of education, corruption amidst security personnel, uneven distribution of scarce national resources and political appointment, and injustice to victims. These factors are discussed below:
High rate of poverty and unemployment: In 2019, the unemployment rate in Nigeria stood at 23.1% and underemployment at 16.6%, as given by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Also, Nigeria was tagged as the poverty headquarters in the global poverty ranking. Poverty and unemployment leads to frustration and desperation among the youths who now resort to kidnapping and other criminal activities for survival. It a popular saying that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop and an idle mind is gullible and highly vulnerable to crime.
Porosity of borders: Nigeria borders are terribly porous. The influx of strangers, arms and ammunition has contributed largely to our insecurity. Adding to this ordeal, there are no good records of Nigerian citizens; as such, the Nigerien, Chadian, Benin Republican, Cameroonian or Togolese can claim to be from Kano, Sokoto, Ogun, Cross River or Kwara states respectively. It has also been verified that most of the criminals are foreigners who are fond of indulging in criminal activities and escaping to their various countries through our porous borders.
Ethno-religious intolerance: Since independence, Nigeria has been bedeviled with ethno-religious conflicts caused by allegations of oppression, intimidation, marginalization, and widespread nepotism. Major riots, communal crisis and insurgencies are of ethno-religious origins. This includes the Kaduna (Zangon kataf, Sharia and Mrs World) riots, Shagamu riots, Maitastine riot, Offa-Erin riots, Jukun and Tivs riot and the unending Boko-Haram insurgency. However, religious and political leaders are the oxygen fueling these crises with their inciting statements and harsh response to unverified rumours.
Lack of education: Major field players of criminal and other heinous acts in Nigeria are reportedly illiterates. Northern states like Kaduna, Kano, Niger and Nasarawa states have come to see the need to implement, encourage and inculcate western education in the lives of its youths and children/teenagers, thus demolishing archaic beliefs that hinder education.
Corruption amidst security personnels: A large number of Nigerians have lost faith in our security agents. It is believed that one-third (1/3) of Nigerians believe that the security personnels give backups to these criminals earlier mentioned.
Also, the miscreant behaviours of some security personnels are disheartening, as collection of brown envelopes, extorting motorists, victimization and other corrupt vices become the code of conduct of some unpatriotic security personnels.
Uneven distribution of scarce national resources and political appointment: Most Nigerians, especially the southern region perceive that the federal government is being bias and imbalanced in its resource allocation and also political appointments. This has led to the establishment of ethnic agitative bodies such as; Niger Delta Avengers, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign state of Biafra (MASSOB), etc.
Injustice: Injustice and lack of support to the victims of previous attacks and victims of natural disasters have also contributed to our national insecurity. Victims of previous attacks are probably forced out of their various houses and communities with their oppressors unapprehended. This makes most victims to take the law into their hands thereby resorting to retaliation that results to more attacks.
From the aforementioned causes of insecurity in Nigeria, it is extremely important to note that lack of unity and trust is an impediment to finding solutions to the insecurity problem. In this case, solutions to insecurity requires good leadership and governance, promotion of national unity and regaining populace trust. Regaining the trust of the populace should be a top priority to our leaders. Our religious, community and political leaders need to caution their words and actions as it contribute largely to our country’s stability.
We need to eliminate corruption, strengthen border patrols, provide employment based on merit and not based on connections or political affiliation; we need to speed up the rate of socio-economic and infrastructural development. In addition, Citizens should be enlighten to be conscious of their environment and report any suspicious movements and lawless activities to the security agents, and their anonymity been ensured.
There should be active national and state security intelligence gatherings that will enhance security strategy. The federal government should support community policing to encourage prompt response to crime. There is also the need to sophisticate the operational equipment used by security agencies.
For the goodwill of our only dear country, Nigeria.
By: Abdullateef Lawal,
Global Youth Network
Published by: Ebenezer Otu Sackey,
At the moment, the world speaks one language, “corona” is on everyone’s lip, in every home’s conversation and on every social media timeline. In WhatsApp groups people share messages and tips on how to prevent the spread of the virus. Any coughing or sneezing becomes suspicious as everyone is paranoid. Corona virus disease symptoms are so similar to those of common flu that health professionals and other media have take time to make clear the differences via videos and posters to avoid paranoia .As a reminder, the corona virus disease (covid-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered corona virus. It was first detected in the Central city of Wuhan in the Hebei province in China and rapidly made its way to Europe America and is gradually getting into Africa with about 40 countries affected. We are still to recover from the ravages of malaria; Ebola and other deadly diseases that we have another powerful enemy; covid-19. Africans who thought melanin was virus-proof are gradually beginning to change attitudes as news of Africans dying due to the illness come up everyday. No, it is not common flu or influenza that can cured with all the DIY homemade remedies found on the internet. The question now how ready is Africa ready to face this big challenge? New cases of contaminations are recorded in Africa everyday and most of them are imported from infected countries into Africa. The number of deaths in China traumatized the entire world and those in Italy are even worst with hundredths of recorded deaths daily. One is forced to think, if countries that are much more developed than many African countries are succumbing to the virus what more of us? The greatest challenge of Africa apart from poor mentality towards prescribed actions to stop the ravages of the disease is poor health and water infrastructures. We are not trying to be pessimists but what can we do if our first line of attack against the virus is hand washing when more than 70% of homes do not have clean water or basic water facilities?, if our hospitals are not even ready to handle regular health cases?. Governments of some countries are taking strict measures such as lockdown of airports and complete confinement but some are waiting for the worst to happen before they react. But this slowness to reaction is what is going to seal the fate of numerous Africans. While waiting to see that our different governments react, let’s keep faith, stay home, avoid crowded places and make sure we observe as much as we can hygiene rules.
Every year, on the 8th of March, International Women’s Day is celebrated by women worldwide. The United Nations began celebrating women’s day in the 1975 and in 1977, the UNs General Assembly invited members states to proclaim 8 of March as the UN’s day for women’s rights. This day was born as a result of feminists fights from European and American continent. It symbolically marks a day for advocacy for women’s rights and the fight against all sorts of discrimination against women and girls. It calls for reflexion and advocacy on the issues of gender equality. The African continent has not been left out as there is usually a plethora of activities carried out in various and different African countries leading to the 8th of March. Amongst such activities, we have educative talks on subjects like GBV, entrepreneuship, sexual and reproductive health and rights.
In Cameroon for example, the Ministry of women’s empowerment and the family organizes activities for one week before the 8th of march. However, after 35 editions of women’s day celebration, what are the outcomes?. Recent statistics still show that, women’s rights are abused every second and particularly in Africa where roots of patriachy and immoral traditions and cultures are still very much embedded. The government, local and international NGOs and many Civil Society Organizations have been working day in day out to reduce discriminatory acts against women but much still has to be done as there are still high rates of feminicides, rapes, FECMs and FGMs in the world and mostly in Africa. There is therefore a great need for advocacy, particularly to hold accountable the government of countries who ratify and sign international conventions like the CEDAW and the Maputo protocol but do not concretely apply them.
In the light of these events, one thing is sure, we have gone a long way already but we still need a change of mentality towards women and women’s rights; firmer and more innovative ideas to achieve objectives of having a global village, where everyone and women in particular are given equal opportunities to explore their full potentials free of coercion.
Written and compiled by Vanessa Donkeng-GYN Volunteer.