Insecurity In Northern Nigeria; Causes, Consequences And Resolutions

Project and Seminar Material for Criminology And Security Studies

Insecurity In Northern Nigeria; Causes, Consequences And Resolutions


Since Nigeria got her independence from Britain in 1960, the country’s political structural arrangement has been under one central government called Federal Government (via a Federal Republic) and was blessed with unquantifiable natural, human and material resources. In spite of that, the average Nigerian’s income per capita does not give the real picture due to the high income inequalities in the country. As majority of Nigerians are living in abject poverty, particularly in the Northeastern area.

However, under the Federal system arrangement, instead of having a smooth level of interaction among individual ethnic groups, cultures, traditions and religions, there thrives a persistent lack of trust among Nigerians due to fear of domination, marginalization, control and intolerance. This ugly development led to the acquisition of fire arms among ethnic, political, religious and social militia groups. Similarly, with the return of the country to democratic rule, the situation has worsened with the politicians prosecuting their political ambitions.

Furthermore, the situation also became more terrible when these groups started fighting government and its agencies. As a result, many people were killed while millions of people were displaced and properties worth millions of naira were also destroyed more especially in the North-east and north central areas. The insecurity situation in the country was alleged to have been attributed to some factors. Among this include poor government policies, corruption, poverty, unemployment, poor leadership, weak judiciary system etc. Consequently, this affected the region economically, socially, politically etc.

Finally, recommendations were made and that Government should improve standard of living of the people through the creation of more entrepreneurship centers across the country more especially in the North and North-east in particular. Also, government should intensify more effort in fighting against corruption and this can be done through good legislation and stiff penalties for those found wanting.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Nigeria is a West African country with more than 250 ethnic groups and with an estimated population of about 170,123,740, according to the 2006 census (Akinjide 2013). It is by far the most populated country in the whole of Africa. Although Nigeria’s GDP per capita has been increased through the course of time in nominal US dollar terms, many Nigerians, unfortunately, are still living in abject poverty in spite of huge amount of human and material resources. The average income per capita does not give the real picture due to the high income inequality in the country. However, since Nigeria got her independence from Britain in 1960, the country’s political structural arrangement has been under one central government. This was to maintain some degree of independence and interdependence and as well as create supremacy authority centrally while component states retain a considerable amount of semi autonomy.

Consequently, under this arrangement, the level of interaction between individual ethnic groups, cultures, traditions, religions from different backgrounds was not easy thereby translated into ethnic and political misunderstanding, mistrust, dominations, conflicts and crises as one may not be considerate with one another. As a result, there are fear, suspicions, intolerance, grieves and greed domination among most communities in the country and especially in the North which has so many ethnic minorities.

Furthermore, it also created fear of not getting one’s fair share of scarce commodities (Daily Times, 1984). However, in an attempt to bring this over 250 groups of people under Federal state system, it created more problems than solving due to fear of deprivation

The North occupies about 70% of the land mass of the country; it also has the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the country (World Bank 2001). Similarly, it has the lowest rate of child enrolment in schools, highest number of unemployed young people in the country, highest levels of poverty as compared to the other parts of the country. Consequently, the region is faced with challenges of security of lives and property and has remained a major issue today. These problems include inter-ethic and inter­religious conflict, insurgency and terrorism such as the Boko-Haram among others. According to Temple, (2013), the indices that measure human development are by far poorer in the 19 northern states of Nigeria compared with the rest of the country ranging from the girl-child education to the Almajiri system, from women empowerment to the economic viability of states, from an immediate marshal plan­like attempt at addressing the areas in conflict to how to create cooperation between states and groups. He further concluded that as a result of the above, the region was faced with the worst security challenges since independence.

Similarly, other security challenges facing the region include armed robbery and kidnapping, apart from insurgency and terrorism that have spread across the region like a wild fire across the polity, which seriously needs to be given adequate attention by the Government at all levels as pointed out by Salawu (2010). Kidnapping is still young in the north, but is fast developing and penetrating almost every area in the region. Kidnapping means taking a person away against the person’s will, usually for the purpose of ransom. Today, people are getting kidnapped almost on a daily basis across the region, through so many criminal and terrorist activities (Innocent, 2012).

1.2 Statement of Problem

The central pillars of Nigerian national security was the safeguarding of the Nigerian sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the State as contained in the 1999 constitution. However, while the state remains nominally a sovereign and fulfils a modicum of the functions of a sovereign government, the central government has become so weak and ineffective and lacks the ability to provide simple basic public and social services. In view of the above, the Nigerian government, in 2013, due to lack of control over much of its territory, led to the seizure of some parts of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states by the Boko-Haram.

The question is what are the root causes of all these killings? What are the consequences as well as solutions to this? These rhetorical questions may not need answers but it is mind-boggling that despite huge amount of naira voted every year in the name of security by the Government yet Nigeria security situation still remains uncontained. Although whenever there’s a problem there’s always the cause but the case becomes a bigger problem when the cause is not just one or two but an accumulation of national problems. What are the remote and immediate causes of insecurity in Nigerian and how can the situation be resolved? Bad leadership, corruption, illiteracy and many more are all responsible for the state of the country. The leadership of the country has contributed so much to the insecurity Nigeria is facing today. Consequently, the displaced persons, especially in the north-east and north central where there was high level of ethno/ state of insecurity in the country, has brought about so many negative effects, including millions of internally political crises. This has led to political, social and economic disruptions which in turn lead to slow economic, social, religious and political development. The world now sees Nigeria as a very violent nation and this has destroyed the reputation of Nigerians across the world. There is no doubt that a lot of measures need to be put in place to resolve insecurity in the country. New security policies, thinking and strategies need to be developed; corruption has to be stopped by all means; the government and the people need to develop trust and work together to resolve the insecurity situation for Nigeria to move forward. Therefore it is upon this backdrop that this study is set to examine insecurity in northern Nigeria, causes and consequences and resolutions.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to examine insecurity in Northern Nigeria, causes and consequences. Specifically the study will

  1. Investigate the nature of insecurity in northern Nigeria.
  2. Examine the causes of insecurity in northern Nigeria.
  3. Investigate the consequences of insecurity in northern Nigeria.
  4. Proffer possible solutions to insecurity in Northern Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

The research is guided by the following research question:

  1. What is the nature of insecurity in northern Nigeria?
  2. What are the causes of insecurity in northern Nigeria?
  3. What are the the consequences of insecurity in northern Nigeria?
  4. What are the possible solutions to insecurity in Northern Nigeria?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will be relevant to policy makers, government, security operatives he northern resident and add to the body of expertise. To the government and policy maker, findings from the study will equip them with a handful of information on how to tackle the rising insecurity in the north. The study will contribute to the existing body of literature and give opportunity for further researches in related field. More so, Students, writers, and academics who are involved in conducting more studies in this area may find the analysis extremely useful.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study borders on insecurity in the Northern region, the root causes, consequences and resolutions. However the study is limited to selected local government in Kaduna State.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

The following factors poses to be a limitation during the course of this research

Financial constraint

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

1.8 Research Methodology

Research methodology deals with the different ways or methods the researcher applied in order to carry out the research as well as the instrument used for gathering the data. Various types of research methodology are:

  • Experimental Research
  • Historical Research
  • Descriptive Research
  • Survey Research
  • Case Research
  • Correlational Research
  • Ex- post- facto Research

However for the purpose of this study, the type of research methodology used in this research to gather data and relevant information is the historical research and the study will adopt descriptive method of data collection. This will involve the collection of materials from secondary sources, such as books, journal articles, magazines, published and unpublished articles.

1.9 Definition of Terms


Insecurity is a state of not being secure, it represent lack of defense and fear and confidence.

National Security:

National security or national defence is the security and defence of a nation state, including its citizens, economy, and institutions, which is regarded as a duty of government.


An insurgency is a violent, armed rebellion against authority when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents.

1.10 Organization of the Study

The study is organized in five distinct chapters.

  • Chapter one discussed on the introduction ranging from the background of the study, statement of the the problem, objective of the study, research question, significance of the study, scope of the study, limitation to the study, definition of terms, research methodology and organization of the study.
  • Chapter two discusses the literature reviewing giving the conceptual framework and the theoretical framework of the study.
  • Chapter three discussed insecurity in the north and the root causes.
  • Chapter four discussed the cost and effect of the insecurity and suggestion to possible solution to the insecurity.
  • Chapter five present the summary, conclusion and recommendation.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

The main focus of this study is to examined insecurity in Northern Nigeria: causes, consequences and resolution. The study employed a descriptive research design and a qualitative method, information was derived from secondary data from journals, internet and scholar articles.

5.2 Conclusion

The spate of violent attacks by Boko Haram in recent times which has been characterized by the abduction and killing of people; destruction of houses, schools, health care centres, churches, mosques and farms has plunged the country into a chronic state of insecurity. The basics of food, health, shelter, education and protection which constitute security to the human individual primarily, has therefore been threatened by the Boko Haram insurgency.

The paper therefore examines the threats of Boko Haram insurgency on human security in Nigeria. Findings reveal that insurgency has claimed a lot of lives and property; compounded the food and nutrition insecurity situation in the country; aided the spread of infectious diseases; denied millions of children and youths access to education; increased the number of internally displaced persons with dire need of shelter and has caused people to live in constant fear and anxiety.

5.3 Recommendation

There is no doubt that a lot of measures need to be put in place to resolve insecurity in the country. New security policies, thinking and strategies need to be developed; corruption has to be stopped by all means; the government and the people need to develop trust and work together to resolve the insecurity situation for Nigeria to move forward.

The following is therefore recommended:

  1. Government should improvement standard of living of the people through creation of more entrepreneurship centers across the country, most especially in the North and North-east.
  2. Government should therefore intensify fight against corruption through good legislation and stiff penalties for those found wanting.
  3. The Nigerian judicial system should be strengthened through routine independent checking mechanism. Judges should be monitored closely while dispensing cases to ensure that laws are applied to all in a fair, reasonable and understandable manner.
  4. Government should promote good governance, transparency, accountability through the use of print and electronic media as well as enlighten the public through workshop, seminars and NGOs..
  5. Government should establish or create more employment centers through the establishment of entrepreneurship skill acquisition programs. This will make more youths to be self sustained
  6. School curriculum should be redesigned to include Peace and conflict resolutions studies as well as entrepreneurship courses to be taught right from secondary schools.

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