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,