Security Challenges And Economy Of The Nigerian State

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Security Challenges And Economy Of The Nigerian State


This paper examines security challenges and economy of the Nigerian state . The paper seeks to find out the extent to which the internal security problems have adversely impacted on the Nigerian economy within the above period. The study adopts the Democratic Peace Thesis and Relative Deprivation Theories as framework of analysis. Secondary data was mostly used in the study largely due to the nature of the research problem. The result of the investigation reveals that the security challenges in Nigeria have long historical antecedence and traceable to bad governance. The paper argues that the abysmal failure of successive administrations in Nigeria to address challenges such as poverty, unemployment and inequitable distribution of wealth among ethnic nationalities, ultimately resulted to anger, agitation and violent crimes against the Nigerian state by some individuals and groups. Such crimes include militancy, kidnapping, bombing, armed robbery, vandalisation of government properties, among others. The paper further argues that the activities of various militia groups consequently resulted in low income of government from oil revenue, low GDP rate, low participation of local and foreign investors in economic development, insecurity of lives and property of the citizens, among others. The study recommends the formulation and effective implementation of policies and programmes capable of addressing the root causes of insecurity in Nigeria, such as poverty; unemployment, environmental degradation, injustice, among others.

Key Words: Security, Challenges, Policy, Economy

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the study

Security as an essential concept is commonly associated with the alleviation of threats to cherished values, especially the survival of individuals, groups or objects in the near future. Thus, security as the name implies, involves the ability to pursue cherished political and social ambitions (Williams, 2008:6). According to Palme (1992:9), “there is a correlation between security and survival”. Whereas survival is an essential condition, security is viewed as safety, confidence, free from danger, fear, doubt, among others. Therefore, security is „survival-plus’ and the word ‘plus’ could be understood from the standpoint of being able to enjoy some freedom from life- determining threats and some life choices (Booth, 2007: 15).

However, the concept – security, is meaningless without a critical discourse of something pertinent to secure. Indeed, security could  best be understood  when situated within the context, of a referent object. In the long sweep of  human history, the central focus of security has been people (Rothschild, 1995:68). Contrarily, some scholars especially those in international politics have argued that when thinking about security, states should  be the most important referents. On the other hand, some analysts have challenged this position by arguing that any intellectual discourse on security should accord priority to human beings since without reference to individual humans, security makes no sense (McSweeney, 1999:127).

Notwithstanding these controversial dabates, the  focus of this investigation is on micro security. However, micro security deals with the internal security of which Nigeria is currently mired in a state of obfuscation. Therefore, crux of this study is to examine the security challenges in Nigeria and the extent to which the insurgencies of different militia groups as well as the prevailing internal insurrections across  the country have adversely affected the Nigerian economy  from 2007-2011.

Thus, thisis imperative considering the fact that micro security  starts with the stabilization of internal security of a given nation state. The essence of this strategy  is not only to safeguard the lives of the citizens, but also to achieve the desired economic growth and development in the state. The import of internal security  in a state  like Nigeria has been carefully articulated by Gbanite (2001):

when our citizens’ right to safety from all kinds of man-made threats are reduced considerably, the government will inherit an increase in foreign investments … most countries would like a likely trading partner to secure the lives and property of their citizens first before they themselves allow theirs to move into such territories…

To be sure, Nigeria has long been facing severe security  challenges prior to 2007. Thus, the internal security challenges  in Nigeria since the enthronement of democracy  in 1999 has received mixed rections within and outside the Nigeria‟s political environment. However, the increasing spate of ethnic  militia in Nigeria and their continuous attacks on both the government and the citizens prior to 2007 partly explains why Akinterinwa (2001)  declares:

security appointees have failed the President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. If we are to judge by the current state of affairs in the country … Nigeria is in a state of lawlessness. It is a shame when the  Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of  Justice was killed so easily. The aggressive posturing Oadua Peoples Congress (OPC), armed robbery,   paid   assassins  kidnapping   of foreigner’s, drug trafficking, advanced, free fraud (419), unemployment, high price of commodities … are realities being faced in the country that require urgent remedies…

Similarly, the security situation between 2007 and 2011 in Nigeria obviously took different dimensions. This period, however, witnessed a consistent pressure on the government by Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MOSSOB), increasing spate of kidnapping in the South – East geo – political zone, incessant bombings in the northern parts of Nigeria by Boko Haran group, Mehem by the Islamic assailants in Jos crisis, politically  motivated killings by unscrupulous groups, among others (Ameh, 2008:9). Perhaps, a critical look at table 1 below helps in the concise understanding of security threats in Nigeria from 2007-2011.

Table 1: Forms of security threats to  Nigeria from 2007-2011 and zone they emanated

1.Niger Dekra1999-2007South-South
2.Jos crisis1999- till dateNorth-central
3.Kidnapping, ritual killing and armed robbery2007-2010South- East
4.Boko Haram crisis2009 – till dateNorth – east, North-central and North-West

Source: Nwagboso‟s field survey, 2011

Thus, the inability of the managers of Nigeria’s security to address the country’s security challenges during the above period raised yet another critical question on the preparedness of Nigeria to attain desired political, social and economic heights in the year 2020. It further poses serious threats to the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state.

Therefore, addressing the security challenges in Nigeria ultimately requires not only the causes of threats but also a critical evaluation of the performance of security agencies  in handling the situation in Nigeria.  These security agencies include, the National Security Agency (NSA), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), State Security Services (SSS), Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.

Although the achievement of total or absolute security in Nigeria would be an exercise in futility, the contemporary security challenges in the country have not only raised critical questions bordering on formulation and implementation of  Nigeria’s   internal   security  policies   but   also   the recruitment/effectiveness of the security agencies in Nigeria to perform their statutory responsibilities.

1.2 Statement of Problem

There is high level of insecurity in the country, particularly, in the Northern zone where ‘Boko

Haram’ has become a threat to business activities. No investor will be willing to invest where his investment is not secured. Many companies and businesses in the Northern part of the country have stopped operation due to “Boko Haram” scourge.

The cost of life and material resources lost to insecurity in the country since the past few years is unquantifiable. The frequent occurrence of bomb explosions, orchestrated by the acclaimed religious extremists in the northern part of the country, has assumed a worrisome dimension. An estimated number of about2,000 lives have been lost to bomb explosion from 2010 till date. According to security information released by Crime Guard, a security monitoring group, between March and December 2012, there were a total of 153 successful explosions in the country whichclaimed several lives and properties and led to closure of many businesses in the country.As a result of insecurity in the country many businesses and companies in their numbers are closing down operations in the north and relocating to other African countries for fear of loss of lives and properties. And the few remaining companies operate on skeletal bases. Insecurity in the country not only affects foreign direct investment and business activities, it also affects business confidence as many companies lost confidence in establishing businesses in some parts of the country.

1.3 Scope of the project

In order to answer the problem formulation it is necessary to do the following two things;

  1. Develop a human security framework.
  2. Position Nigerian developmental challenges in the framework.

There are two main approaches to research in general and the role of theory in particular; that is theory testing (deductive) and theory building (inductive). In the theory testing approach the research begins with the theory and uses theory to guide what observations to make. In this particular project, the researcher, if adopting the theory testing approach, would start off with step number one above and then move on to step number two letting the framework decide what developmental challenges that are included in the study.

If one adopts the theory building approach, the research begins with observations and uses inductive reasoning to derive a theory from these observations. The theory building approach tries to determine if the observations fit into a pattern or a story. As opposed to the theory testing approach the theory building approach would begin with step number two and the observations about the developmental challenges would be decisive in the construction of the framework.  The approach adopted in this project is both theory testing and theory building, in other words; the human security have to some extent decided what developmental challenges include, but observations about the developmental challenges Nigeria is facing has also decided the structure of the human security framework. By letting theory guide which indicators that are included in the framework ensure that the selection is not arbitrary, and thus secure some degree of comparability where the study can be reproduced and the observations made can be compared to observations made in other countries. It is also important that the “reality” in Nigeria is deciding for the structure of the framework, this provide a fuller picture of the case and makes sure that challenges that are important in a Nigerian context are not excluded from the study.

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Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

Security challenges in any environment constitute threat to lives and properties, hampered business activities, and discourage local and foreign investors, all of which stifle and retards development of a country. It is therefore apparent that national security is a desideratum, sine qua non for business and economic growth and development of any country (Oladeji and Folorunso, 2007). The Federal Government (FG) should formulate and effectively implement policies and programmes capable of addressing the root causes of insecurity in Nigeria –such as Ethno- religious conflict, systemic and political corruption, weak security system and unemployment among others. Federal government should establish a more viable and resultoriented agency capable of addressing the problem of abject poverty/ unemployment among large population of Nigerians, this will aid in reducing the level of crime and violence in the country. Government must be proactive in dealing with security issues and threats, through training, modern methods of intelligence gathering, and intelligence sharing, logistics and deploying advanced technology in managing security challenges. This will add more values in checking incessant bombings, robbery, kidnapping and violent crimes/crises by hoodlums in the country. Federal government should include Security Management in school curriculum at all levels of education in Nigeria. This will enable the Nigerian youths to appreciate the importance of security in a secular state like Nigeria.

5.2 Conclusion

Nigeria’s security concerns and threat perception emanated from many quarters. Over the years, the inability of the government to address the root causes of dissatisfaction, anger and agitation among various groups in the country resulted to serious security challenges confronting the contemporary Nigerian state.

This ugly situation has not only denied the Nigerian government enormous revenues, but also led to serious problems such as unemployment, infrastructural decay, poor health status, poor image of Nigeria at regional and global scene, low participation of investors in Nigeria’s economic development, relocation of existing investors to peaceful states in Nigeria, among others.

These problems are traceable to internal security challenges in Nigeria occasioned by the activities of militias in Niger Delta region, kidnapping in the South-East, the Islamic extremists in Jos crisis, Boko Haram group, armed robbery in many parts of the country, bunkering of Nigeria’s oil outlets by saboteurs, among others.

In consideration of the consequences of these challenges on the economy of the Nigerian state and to save the country from the brink of total collapse, the need for good governance, justice, equity, and tolerance among ethnic nationalities as well as religious groups in Nigeria, is advocated and should be rigorously pursued by both the government and the Nigerian people.

5.3 Recommendations

  1. The federal government should formulate and effectively implement policies and programmes capable of addressing the root causes of insecurity in Nigeria such as poverty, unemployment, environmental degradation, dearth of infrastructural facilities, uneven development, among others.
  2. The government should be more proactive in the implementation of Amnesty programme designed for former Niger Delta militants to avoid a situation where these repentant militants would go back to the regions and resume their hostilities against the government, oil companies and the residents of the area.
  3. The federal government should re-organize the country‟s intelligence system and build a capable and more proactive security apparatus in Nigeria. This will add more values in checking incessant bombings, robbery, kidnapping and violent crimes/crises by hoodlums all over Nigeria.
  4. The government should include Peace Studies and Security Management in school curriculum at primary, secondary and tertiary levels in Nigeria. This will enable the Nigerian youths to appreciate the importance of peace and security in a secular state like Nigeria.
  5. The federal government should phase out the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) and establish a more viable and result-oriented agency capable of addressing the problem of abject poverty among large population of Nigerians, particularly those residing in the rural areas.
  6. The government should resuscitate the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and reposition agricultural sector so as to play active role in job creation for Nigerian youths.
  7. There is the need for collective security arrangement by federal, state and local governments in Nigeria. This arrangement should produce a committee at village, community, local, state and federal level with the responsibility of providing sensitive security information for security agencies

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