Security Challenges In Nigeria And The Implications For Business Activities And Sustainable Development

Project and Seminar Material for Criminology And Security Studies

Security Challenges In Nigeria And The Implications For Business Activities And Sustainable Development


The paper examined the insecurity situation in Nigeria and its implications for business investment, operations and sustainable development. The evaluation of the level and dimension of insecurity which was based on secondary data and observations among authors in different places, zones and walks of life as expressed in their comments, as well as, on concrete evidences of insecurity incidence in different parts of Nigeria, indicated that the insecurity challenge in the country is enormous and complex and would continue to be, if the situation remains unabated. We therefore emphasized the need to evolve a safe business environment that allows for effective business activities and a sustainable development process. The security management models recommended to achieve this, are aimed at combating the creators and perpetuators of situations of insecurity, and simultaneously addressing and removing the sources of dissatisfaction and discontentment which spur security breaches and the involvement of all stakeholders both in public and private capacity-government, business organizations, civil society, religious groups, communities and individuals- to supply resources, expertise and information that are required to ensure a safe environment.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Nigeria in recent times has witnessed an unprecedented level of insecurity. This has made national security threat to be a major issue for the government and has prompted huge allocation of the national budget to security. In order to ameliorate the incidence of crime, the federal government has embarked on criminalization of terrorism by passing the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2011, installation of Computer-based Closed Circuit Television cameras (CCTV) in some parts of the country, enhancement of surveillance as well as investigation of criminal related offences, heightening of physical security measures around the country aimed at deterring or disrupting potential attacks, strengthening of security agencies through the provision of security facilities and the development and broadcast of security tips in mass media (Azazi, 2011). Despite these efforts, the level of insecurity in the country is still high. In addition, Nigeria has consistently ranked low in the Global Peace Index (GPI, 2012), signifying a worsened state of insecurity in the country. Hence, Adagba, et al (2012), Uhunmwuangho and Aluforo (2011) are of the view that the efforts of government have not yielded enough positive result.

With the lingering security challenges and the inability of the security apparatus of the government to guarantee safety and security in the country, the question that borders everyone in Nigeria today is that “can there be security?” Is security of lives and properties achievable? Apparently, the security situation in Nigeria appears or at least have remained insurmountable and many people have argued that government at all levels has not done enough by not confronting the situation head on and dealing with it decisively, others have argued that the situation has a political undertone or inclination calculated to serve the interest of certain political gods, who have been dissatisfied and disgruntled about the political manifestations in the country.

Consequently, the purpose of this paper is to provide a synthesis of existing knowledge on insecurity by integrating diverse explorations and to propose a strategy for security management. In the following sections, we examine first, the concept of insecurity, the causes of insecurity in the country so as to provide a background for understanding and appreciating the enormity of the problem and our proposed model for security management in Nigeria. This is followed by an exploration of the connection between security environment and business activities and an evaluation of the Nigerian security situation and its implications for business and sustainable development. Finally, in consonance with the call on everyone by government, to contribute to the war against insecurity, the paper proposes a security management model that could assist in managing security challenges in the country.
The concept of insecurity would be best understood by first presenting the concept of security. In the view of Akin (2008) security refers to “the situation that exists as a result of the establishment of measures for the protection of persons, information and property against hostile persons, influences and actions”. It is the existence of conditions within which people in a society can go about their normal daily activities without any threats to their lives or properties. It embraces all measures designed to protect and safeguard the citizenry and the resources of individuals, groups, businesses and the nation against sabotage or violent occurrence (Ogunleye, et al, 2011).

According to Igbuzor (2011) it demands safety from chronic threats and protection from harmful disruption.
Security however, can be described as stability and continuity of livelihood (stable and steady income), predictability of daily life (knowing what to expect), protection from crime (feeling safe), and freedom from psychological harm (safety or protection from emotional stress which results from the assurance or knowing that one is wanted, accepted, loved and protected in one’s community or neighbourhood and by people around. It focuses on emotional and psychological sense of belonging to a social group which can offer one protection). This description structured the concept of security into four dimensions. However, these dimension can be weaved together to give a composite definition of security as the protection against all forms of harm whether physical, economic or psychological. It is generally argued however that security is not the absence of threats or security issues, but the ability to rise to the challenges posed by these threats with expediency and expertise.

Insecurity on the other hand, is the antithesis of security. However, because of the very many ways in which insecurity affects human life and existence, the concept of insecurity has usually been ascribed different interpretations in association with the various ways which it affects individuals. Some of the common descriptors of insecurity include: want of safety; danger; hazard; uncertainty; want of confidence; doubtful; inadequately guarded or protected; lacking stability; troubled; lack of protection; and unsafe, to mention a few. All of these have been used by different people to define the concept of insecurity. These different descriptors, however, run into a common reference to a state of vunerability to harm and loss of life, property or livelihood. Beland (2005) defined insecurity as “the state of fear or anxiety stemming from a concrete or alleged lack of protection.” It refers to lack or inadequate freedom from danger. This definition reflects physical insecurity which is the most visible form of insecurity, and it feeds into many other forms of insecurity such as economic security and social security.

Two views are of essence to this paper. These are (1) Insecurity as the state of being open or subject to danger or threat of danger, where danger is the condition of being susceptible to harm or injury, and (2) Insecurity as the state of being exposed to risk or anxiety, where anxiety is a vague unpleasant emotion that is experienced in anticipation of some misfortune. A major point about insecurity implied in these definitions is that those affected by insecurity are not only uncertain or unaware of what would happen but they are also not able to stop it or protect themselves when it happens. It is in this view that we would describe insecurity in this paper as: ‘not knowing, a lack of control, and inability to take defensive action against forces that portend harm or danger to an individual or group, or what make them vunerable’. ‘Vunerability’ is the situation that we do not know and we cannot face or anticipate. It is also something we may know would happen but we are not able to face it.

1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

Nigeria has suffered security challenges of various dimensions since its creation in 1987. There have been re-occurrences of security challenges which have outlived solutions as no day passes without the emergence of one security challenge or the other. Presently, security situation still remains worse as the phenomenon of violence of late seems to have gone deep-rooted into the state and it is increasing faster with each passing day (Niger Delta University, 2010:1). Nigeria being one of the thirty-six (36) states that make up the Nigerian federation, has the constitutional mandate to manage security challenges in its domain towards guaranteeing the protection of lives and property of its citizens.

The precarious security situation in Nigeria during the period coincided with the return to civilian democratic government from 1999 with its attendant security challenges after long military rule that militarized the psyche of Nigerian populace and politicians in the state in particular. The state had witnessed the intensification of Niger-Delta resource control struggle that was spear-headed by the then Nigeria Governor, Obong Victor Attah which also motivated the youths of Nigeria and Niger Delta region to register their long agitations for development of the region. The mounted protests and agitations were aimed at drawing the attention of the federal government to the long neglect and environmental damages being foisted on the oil-rich, but deprived Niger Delta Communities (NDC) by oil companies operating in the region.

The subsequent youth-restiveness further worsened the security problems experienced during the review period. There were cases of kidnappings and hostage-takings of foreign oil companies workers by aggrieved and long-neglected youths of the Niger- Delta Region (NDR) who saw kidnappings as a means of economic survival, having been long neglected and lacked job opportunities, despite the oil wealth drawn from their own lands.

Other security challenges faced by the state during the period were those of violent crimes as the state experienced spates of armed robberies almost on daily basis with the poorly-equipped and ill-motivated security agencies who acted on behalf of the government in the state, looking helpless in the face of superior fire-power of the robbers who had field days.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to examine the security challenges in Nigeria and the implications for business activities and sustainable development the specific objective of the study are thus:

  1. To assess the sources of insecurity in Nigeria.
  2. To examine the insecurity environment of business in Nigeria.
  3. To assess the implications of the Nigeria insecurity situation for sustainable development in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Question

The study will be guided by the following questions;

  1. What are the sources of insecurity in Nigeria?
  2. What is the nature of insecurity environment of businesses in Nigeria?
  3. What is the implications of the Nigeria insecurity situation for sustainable development in Nigeria?

1.5 Significance of the Study

Similarly, the work examines the correlation between increase political activities and consequent rise in crimes and the negative effects of government non-chalance towards prompt resolution of oil-related security challenges, and its resultant insecurities in oil producing states like Nigeria.

Therefore, the significance of this study will be of much value to government policy makers as it reveals that; poor salaries and funding by government to security agencies are traceable to ineffective security management and performances of government law enforcement agencies.

The study will help government understands the sources of apparent high crimes in the state and inefficiency in the security management mechanism of the state. This helps the government to meet the operational, administrative needs and readiness of these poorly remunerated security agencies who operate in the state and the nation at large.

The study made an in-dept examination of problems that led to poor performances of the security agencies and the recommendations at the end of this work will benefit the heads of security agencies to initiate reforms aimed at over-hauling the security agencies for better performance and service delivery to the state and nation at large.

The salient academic truths and security models used in testing and analyzing the theoretical frameworks and hypotheses utilized in this study, will highly benefit post-graduate and under-graduate students intent on understanding the roots of the current ineffective security system in Nigeria which are traceable to inadequacies and inefficiencies of the law enforcement agencies in our country.

The literature reviewed in this study will be invaluable to members of the public and scholars of trends in Public Administration who will benefit tremendously from the rich literature and sources reviewed in this study.

This work will form a great reference material for body of knowledge and public libraries that will benefit anyone intent on understanding the reasons behind the current security failures in the country and will serve as a good policy blue print for government in reforming security agencies in the country in order to make them more combat ready and efficient.

The study has shown that oil-related security challenges is a global event. This conclusion is drawn from the comparative study conducted which involved some oil-related countries such as Venezuela, and Angola, a West African country. Here, causes and consequences of oil-related security problems were discussed. One of the important causes noted were lack of transparency by government officials in the management of oil revenues who instead of using the available resources to develop the poor oil producing communities, misappropriate public funds which they corruptly enriching themselves.

This work, if made available to our leaders and officials of government, will educate them on the evils of their corrupt activities which are hindrances to national development, peace and security. On the other hand, the Nigerian leaders may have the opportunity through this work to learn from oil-rich country like Canada which have oil but still remains one of the most peaceful nations in the world today. The nation’s peaceful nature is based on how best the government of the country manages its oil revenues and general affairs of that nation. This is unlike Nigeria which her management principle is based on corruption and criminality. This work may help the Nigerian leaders to repent and turn away from their criminal and corrupt tendencies and embrace new strategies in the management of oil-related security challenges confronting the nation.

Again, the work will be of immense benefit to the Nigerian citizens who, will now know that security management is a collective responsibility between the citizens and government as illustrated in Buzan’s Levels 1, 2, 3 models. The work will help them to realize themselves and contribute their quota willingly towards effective protection of lives and property in the state and nation at large. The work will also benefit well-meaningful Nigerians who will now be ready to invest in the security under PPP Principle.

1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study

This sub-heading deals strictly with the boundary of this study, issues covered by the study, the time-frame, subject studied (people) and spatial or geographical area covered (Obasi, 1999:62-82).

1.7 Definition of Terms

This sub-heading defines security and other related concepts used in this work.

a. Security:

Operationally, security is the ability of government to harness human, material, technical, financial resources and spiritual interventions for the enhancement of effective protection of lives and property for ensuring a peaceful atmosphere in which individuals can pursue their lawful activities. Security comprises of physical, human, technical resources and measures to counter or neutralize threats. Security is an omnibus word which is used according to the professional lineage of the individual concerned. it is a condition devoid of danger or threat and ability of being secured, especially freedom from danger. Security is an all encompassing concept that covers the creation of an enabling environment where law abiding people can go about their legitimate endeavour’s unchallenged.

b. Security Management:

Security management refers to the ability of government to organize staffing, directing, leading and controlling, effective funding and motivation of security agencies and personnel for the provisions of security for its citizens through the use of instruments and mechanism of state power which are backed-up by enabling laws. It involves strategies, innovations, and planning, initiating solutions, to solve problems through timely decision-making.

c. Security Challenges:

Security challenge is any act or intention that has the potential of inhibiting the public peace, stability and progress of a state, individuals, nation or community which include major and minor state crimes such as terrorism, subversion, sabotage, espionage, insurgency, assassination and murder, riot, arson, kidnapping, hostage-takings, etc. This is also an act aimed at undermining the security of a nation or its component units.

d. Government:

Government is a politically organized body or group of persons issuing orders to their fellow-citizens in the name of the state.

e. State:

A state is a legal entity that represents geographical expression made-up of a defined population of a people with a common identity and culture, united under a sovereign national government with a constituted authority over its people and exclusive control and supreme power to manage internal affairs such as security.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

Security just like other elements in the business environment enhances and optimizes business activities but insecurity hinders these activities and so it constitutes a threat to business organizations. There is a strong skepticism that if the level of insecurity in our country is not scaled down, our vision to be among the best 20 countries of the world may be aborted.” The approach towards curbing this menace has been to respond when the crime has been committed and the harm has been done. This paper emphasizes a change in attitude and approach by being proactive. We must strive to get to a level were crimes will be nipped in the bud before they are perpetuated. Therefore, the government, civil society groups, business organization and individuals must fight insecurity so as to create an enabling environment where business organizations will feel free and secured to achieve their full potentials and the country will itself be safe to achieve sustainable development. To this end, we recommend that prevention and emergency response focusing on the rising state of insecurity since 2009 should be the main focus on insecurity management.

5.2 Recommendation

The Role of Business Organizations

To be successful overtime, a business must be in tune with its environment. Environmental changes have significant impact on business operations and sustainability. As a result of the state of insecurity in the country today, we emphasize that apart from the government, businesses also have a role to play. According to Elumelu (2004) business enterprises can contribute towards the enhancement of security and safety in the country through long-term strategy of creating and providing jobs especially for the unemployed youths and cooperating with regulatory authorities and security agencies in the fight against crime. Apart from that, business organizations must be socially responsible. When a firm is socially responsible and does not exploit the community where it is operating, it may not experience some of the elements in the insecurity environment. The change that the society expects of businesses and what management believes is its role in society must be given priority by management. As such, businesses should not pursue profit only but should also consider social needs. It includes both ethical and discretionary responsibilities (Dionco-Adetayo and Adetayo, 2003). Also, problems of pollution, product safety, job discrimination should be taken seriously.

Multi-national companies and large businesses can also assist the government in sponsoring the provision of traffic lights on major streets in our cities and the electrification of towns and villages especially where they are operating. In addition, business owners, managers and employees should be security conscious and should deliver security through their everyday actions and decisions

The Role of Civil Society

Civil society is the arena outside of the family, the state, and the market where people associate to advance common interests. It is the aggregate of non-governmental organizations and institutions that manifest interests and will of citizens or individuals and organizations in a society which are independent of the government. As a result of the inability of government to provide adequate security, Ebohon, and Ifeadi, (2012) are of the opinion that Nigeria should move from a state-centric to a human security paradigm, move from an elite centered to a people centered security management approach and involve civil society in the state security project.

There is need for civil society to advance the importance of security in Nigeria. With the active involvement of civil society in security management, we should have less violence, human rights abuses and social injustice. One of the roles of civil society is to convince other stakeholders that action is better than inaction and that insecurity does not have to be accepted as a necessary evil. They have to play the roles of critic, catalyst and advocate of those interests. It is also essential to raise public awareness, to awaken society to the disastrous effects of insecurity and to get across the message that fighting it is possible. In many countries, civil society is the watchdog and the vanguard to warrant that other stakeholders respect their boundaries. They also play a major in the area of raising public awareness as well as in lobbying for concrete change or in helping to initiate and carry out a process of reforming national integrity.

The Role of Religious Groups

The two main religious groups in Nigeria have a major role to play in ensuring security in the country. The teachings of religious groups are one of the bases of value development in the contemporary world. The role of values in human security cannot be over emphasized. It is a known fact that values govern behaviour. Where social values and norms concerning fundamental human right in both public and private places have been distorted and violated, the people and government tend to live in an atmosphere of instability and insecurity (Clifford, 2009). If every religious group can tolerate the other, then religious crisis which has been a problem in this country will be abated. In addition, worship centres should not be used as avenue for instigating members to be violent or to engage in activities that can affect the peace of the country.

The Role of Communities

It is important to note that security management can be significantly aided by the cooperation of local communities. Depending on our perceptions and sincere feelings as regards our collective responsibilities towards lasting peace in Nigeria, communities should strive to live peacefully with other communities. They should also be vigilant of strangers in their localities to ensure that criminals do not have easy access to their communities.

The Role of Individuals

Security should be seen as everybody’s business. As individuals we need to cultivate the habit of security consciousness and to report any security situation to the appropriate authority (not only the police) immediately. Every individual must evince a high level of security awareness and alertness. This is because individuals understand their communities better and any report of suspicious behaviour or activity could lead to actionable intelligence leading to disruption of attacks. Through the early detection of impending conflicts and its prevention, it will help to provide a safe and enabling environment for the people to operate in, and for economic development to thrive.

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