Ethnic Militia; A Threat To Democracy And Security In Nigeria
This work on Ethnic militia in Nigeria and how it is a threat to the democracy and security of the nation is of immerse importance.
This study is a survey which utilized quantitative approaches. It examined in detail ethnic militia and how it stands as a threat to democracy and security in Nigeria using okrika Local Government of Rivers state as our case study. The surveys research method was used for this study.
In this study we found out that Ethnic militia does not affect Nigeria’s democracy and that there is a relationship between ethnic militia and insecurity in Nigeria.
1.1 Background of the Study
Presently in Nigeria, the formation of ethnic and religious have completely taken over the stage and also have played a noticeable role with socio-political interactions of the Nigerian state.
The scenario of this ethnic militia has posed itself to be a threat to Nigerian democracy and security, spanning from the North, East, and South of the Nigerian state. In the Northern state, the exertion of Boko Haram sect which has destroyed millions of lives in the region cannot be ignored. The Obatse Cult activities in Nasarawa state in north central Nigeria is likely going to be out of control. Taking it to the east, the frequent kidnapping by bad men/criminals remains dangerous in that region. In the South-south area, the activities of Niger Delta militants who in spite of the amnesty offered to them by the late President Yar Adua is still not steady, for this reason the environment still remained threatened day by day.
One of the major challenges that have constrained development in Nigeria is superiority, power of ethnic militias which is now a threat to democracy and security of the country and also eclipsed the nation for over a decade now. The lasting presence of violence expressed between these groups who feel excluded and unimportant from existing power structures on one hand and central authority on the other hand have seriously affected not only peace and security but also undermined and weakened the countries national development. Also, the violent conflicts with security personnel, and the deliberate destruction of public properties by both ethnic militias and insurgency seriously undermines the safety of lives and properties of the people, and infuse fear and sense of insecurity on the majority. These negatively influence the development of the Nigerian state.
Nigerian as a developing country has in recent times been at the receiving end of the frequent rise of ethnic militias. It has been pointed that this has also been a huge challenge in a significant number of African and Asian countries seeking to migrate from the stage of electoral politics to the consolidation of democracy. The weight of confirmation shows that democratic openings have often annoyed ethnic and communal tensions in divided societies. It is now at the back of every citizen’s mind that we live today in an “era of militant ethnicity”, with its grave social, economic, political and human costs because of the challenges facing the state.
Among the most critical and violent of this new brand of released political forces of which many have thought of as ‘resurgence’ is the intractable phenomenon of ethnic nationality/identity movements. Presently in Nigeria, this development has overshadowed and taken on the form of ethnic militia movements ostensibly standing in for and seeking to protect their different ethnic interests in a country in which the state is to a large extent perceived as unconcerned to the needs of the ethnic nationalities in the country.
The most important and well pronounced among these militias include the plethora of the Niger Delta militias such as the Egbesu Boys of Africa (EBA), the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, and the Chikoko Movement. Other new and more pronounced militias include the O’odua People’s Congress (OPC), the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Arewa People’s Congress (APC). Without any question, the move towards ethnic national self-determination, in whatever form it clearly shows itself, is the maximum challenge facing the security of the Nigerian nation from the 1990s onwards. In densely populated slums of Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt, Aba, Onitsha, Kaduna and Kano, militant groups sporadically unleash extreme violence on civil society as well as on the symbols of governmental authority (Okechukwu 2000).
The weight of the killing of many people by these militant groups is better imagined than experienced. Agitating youths boldly overrun state security squads, ransack police stations and overtakes the streets for days. An order or law that requires people to be indoors are inflicted from time to time while embattled governmental authorities resort to shoot-on-sight orders to quell riots and restore order in the volatile Nigerian urban communities. The sudden increase in ethnic militias ironically seems to be what unifies Nigerians against the excesses of the state after many years of pernicious rule.
Generally, Nigerians do not have of faith in their government; they lack the rule of law and a sense of being oppressed. Common to these militant groups are the attributes of the uncritical use of violence, a preponderance of youth membership, ethnic identity affiliations, and movements of a basically pronounced and well-known nature and pressing change over the status quo such as the calls for a Sovereign National Conference or a National Conference as the case September be. It is against this backdrop that this paper seeks to unravel the interesting fact of ethnic militias and its threat to democracy and Nigerian security.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
The constant cases of insecurity in the north eastern part of Nigeria and the Niger delta has been a source of concern as it has taken a negative tool on the corporate existence of Nigeria. Cases of militancy and insurgency have long ago divided the country along ethnic lines and this does not augur well for the cultural and social development of our country especially as regards to democracy. The cases of insecurity caused by these menace has resulted to the decline of the productivity of the country and has equally put democracy in a grave risk as people cannot go out to exercise their franchise amidst insecurity hence the declaration of state of emergency which negatively affects democracy in the country.
1.3 Aims and Objectives of the Study
The main aim of the study is to examine the threat of ethnic militia to democracy and security in Nigeria. Other specific objectives include;
- To examine the effect of ethnic militia on the development of democracy in Nigeria.
- To determine the relationship between ethnic militancy and insecurity in Nigeria.
- To recommend possible solution to ethnic militia in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
- H0: Ethnic militia does not affect Nigeria’s democracy
H1: Ethnic militia affects Nigeria’s democracy
- H0: There is no relationship between ethnic militia and insecurity in Nigeria
H1: There is a relationship between ethnic militia and insecurity in Nigeria
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study would greatly benefit the Nigerian populace, government at all levels and politicians as it would go a long way of unveiling the consequences of ethnic militia on our nascent democracy and security. The study would also proffer solutions to ethnic militia in Nigeria. The study would be of immense importance to students, researchers and scholars who are interested in carrying out further research on this subject matter.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study is restricted to the examination of ethnic militia and its threat to democracy and security in Nigeria using a case study of the Niger delta militants.
1.7 Definition of Terms
There is no single definition on the concept of ethnic militia. According to Falana, ethnic militia in the Nigerian context is viewed as a militant organization set up to protect the interest of a particular nationality within the Nigerian federation.
A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives or the definition of democracy is a form of government in which the common people hold political power and can rule either directly or through elected representatives. An example of democracy at work is in the United States, where people have political freedom and equality.
Security is defined as being free from danger, or feeling safe. An example of security is when you are at home with the doors locked and you feel safe.
1.8 Organization of the Study
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
- Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
- Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
- Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
- Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
- Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
This chapter presents the summary of the study, conclusion and recommendations based on the findings from the study.
This study aimed at having an overview of Ethnic militia in Nigeria and how it is a threat to the democracy and security of the nation. The study opened with chapter one where the statement of the problem was clearly defined. The study objectives and research hypotheses were defined and formulated respectively. The study reviewed related and relevant literature. The chapter two gave the conceptual framework, empirical and theoretical studies. The third chapter described the methodology employed by the researcher in collecting both the primary and the secondary data. The research method employed here is the descriptive survey method. The study analyzed and presented the data collected in tables and the hypotheses were tested using the Chi square while the fifth chapter gives the study summary and conclusion.
5.3 Conclusions and Recommendations
In this study we found out that Ethnic militia affects Nigeria’s democracy and that there is a relationship between ethnic militia and insecurity in Nigeria.
The dangers posed by ethnic militia forces are real, but the dangers in removing them might create even greater difficulties for the government. The bottom line is militias exist because a void, real or perceived, exists in the capacity of the government to protect local populations. Any desires to remove militias should be tempered with a close look at the government-like roles they play and whether the government has the capacity to assume those duties. Many experts believe that it is unconscionable to even consider using militias in nation-building efforts.
Many believe any options that include using militia forces do so in direct contradiction of state efforts and will ultimately lead to armed groups outside the control of the government being granted too much power. For Nigeria, a country with immense human and material resources, the future will be assured and nation building achieved only when its leaders and elite decide that it is now time to build a nation based on justice for all. Finding a permanent solution to the problem of ethnic militias requires coordinated action by all the tiers of government and civil society groups. With the kind of pressure emanating from the civil populace such as the activities of ethnic militias, this decision must either be made now by the political elite and their representatives or others will make it on their behalf.
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