For the umpteenth time, President Muhamamdu Buhari has talked about the readiness of the present administration to fight insecurity, among other challenges, ensure socio-economic growth and lay sound path of development for Nigeria.
Speaking when he launched the 2019 National Security Strategy this week, the president said the document is intended to address the multiple challenges facing the country and its people.
The document, tagged: “National Security Strategy 2019,” the president said, is a product of painstaking and rigorous deliberations by relevant stakeholders committed with the task of safeguarding the nation from internal and external threats, promising that his administration will improve security education and health to make life meaningful to Nigerians.
He said the numerous security challenges confronting the nation made it necessary to come up with an articulated, comprehensive and coordinated response that involves all segments of the society.
In Nigeria, no doubt, the security situation remains dire, despite the efforts of the Buhari-led administration to tackle insecurity. Still, like the president said, Nigeria must continue to upgrade its infrastructure and improve states of health and education. In recent times, the country 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 fundamental 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.
Despite these efforts, the level of insecurity in the country is still high. With the lingering security challenges and the inability of the security apparatus to guarantee safety and security in the country, Nigerians, maybe rightly, ask if the government can provide security for their lives and properties.
Others believe that insecurity in Nigeria has a political undertone or inclination calculated to serve the interest of certain political figures who have been dissatisfied and disgruntled about the political happenings in the country.
However, until the advent of this administration, it can be said that the state of insecurity in Nigeria was created by the inability of the previous governments to do the needful, especially their incapacity to deliver public services and basic needs of the masses.
Thus, owing to the failure of governments to provide basic necessities and infrastructure to the people, Nigeria created a pool of frustrated people who were easily manipulated and incited to be violent and engage in criminal activities.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the country has the resources to provide for the needs of its people, but corruption has made it impossible for leaders to focus on the provision of basic needs for the people. A situation where the country earns huge revenues through oil sales, but fails to use these earnings to meet the needs of its people and develop infrastructure and the economy is, no doubt, sad. When these situations exist, crime rate is bound to rise and the security of lives and property cannot be guaranteed.
Pervasive material inequalities and unfairness as well as greater awareness of disparities in life are major causes of insecurity in Nigeria. A large number of Nigerians are frustrated, especially the youth, and have lost hope of getting anything good from the previous governments.
Regrettably too, the loss of socio-cultural and communal value system, otherwise known as the traditional value system, such as collectivism, loyalty to authority and community, truthfulness, honesty, hard work, tolerance, love for others, mutual harmony and peaceful co-existence among Nigerians can also be said to be responsible for the present state of affairs in Nigeria.
In the past, stealing was considered extremely disgraceful and lives were also highly valued, but, today, thieves are honoured. All of these values which made the society secured and safe have all gradually been thrown away and lost. New values have taken over their place over the years. All our endearing values and morals have been traded off for western values.
There is no doubt that the immediate causes of Nigeria’s insecurity are inexhaustible and include the existence of porous border that makes individual movements to remain largely untracked. The porosity of the country’s borders has serious security implications for the country as that situation allows weapons to come easily into Nigeria from other countries.
Thus, small arms and light weapons proliferation and the availability of these weapons have enabled militant groups and criminal groups to have easy access to arms. Nigeria is reportedly estimated to host over 70 percent of about 8 million illegal weapons in West Africa. Also, the porosity of the Nigerian borders has made it possible for unwarranted influx of migrants from neighbouring countries such as Republic of Niger, Chad and Republic of Benin. These migrants, mostly young men, are believed to be some of the perpetrators of crime in Nigeria today.
Of course, the migration of jobless
youth from rural areas to urban centres is another cause of insecurity in Nigeria that cannot be ignored. Nigeria is one of the countries in the world with very high rural/urban drift. Most urban areas in Nigeria have grown beyond their infrastructural carrying capacities and this development has resulted to increased poor quality of living conditions in urban areas in Nigeria and, eventually, leads youths into crime.
Also, as a result of the high level of unemployment and poverty among Nigerians, especially the youths, people are easily attracted to violent crime. Failure of previous administrations to address challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequitable distribution of wealth is one of the major causes of insecurity in the country which this administration is battling hard to address.
The implications of the insecurity situation for business activities cannot be overemphasized. Insecurity discourages investment as it makes investment unattractive to business. The thick arrow connecting the insecurity environment and business investment means that insecurity has been a huge impediment to investment in Nigeria.
Hence, as the president talks about improving lives of Nigerians, there’s need for a safe environment for people to engage in economic activities and cater for themselves and future generations. Clearly, a more sustainable development initiative, like the one introduced recently, is needed since security is central to development, and the next level agenda of the administration cannot be achieved if there is no solution to the menace of insecurity ravaging the country.
Of course, it is heartwarming to hear the president say in addition to security, economic diversification and fighting corruption, his administration will also work to improve agriculture agriculture and ensure food security.
Of course, it’s important to praise this administration for making the National Security Strategy reflect the need to holistically address challenges drawing the country and its people back and undermine their effort to develop.
Above all, good governance is the panacea for the insecurity challenge in Nigeria. Good governance, as the type provided by the president, is a function of effective, visionary, transparent, trustworthy and credible political leadership whose driving force is an improvement in the collective wellbeing of the citizens through well-conceived, effectively implemented economic policies and human development programmes.
In fact, the current war against insecurity can be won only by cultivating the culture of good governance where the government is responsible and accountable to the people. After all, it is said, and rightly to, that peace and security that deemed necessary for development, are determined by good governance.