National security has been defined as the ability of a State to cater to the protection and defense of its citizenry.
1. However, human security elements have been expanded by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to go beyond military protection and threats to human dignity to the following security areas:
Economic: creation of employment and measures against poverty.
Food: measures against hunger and famine.
Health: measures against disease, unsafe food, malnutrition and lack of access to basic health care.
Environmental: measures against environmental degradation, resource depletion, natural disasters and pollution.
Personal: measures against physical violence, crime, terrorism, domestic violence and child labor.
Community: measures against inter-ethnic, religious and other identity tensions.
Political: measures against political repression and human rights Abuses
2. The concept of human security is premised on the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As amended) which is the Supreme Law in Nigeria.
3. The various aspects of human security also captured under Chapter II of the Constitution are: the fundamental obligations of the government; the government and the people; political objectives, economic objectives, social objectives, educational objectives, foreign policy objectives, environmental objectives, cultural objectives, etc.
These provisions in the Constitution presuppose the intention to ensure human security at its best, but they are of no legal consequence because they are not enforceable against the government of Nigeria.
4. Over time, Nigeria has been plagued with situations of insecurity which abound till date. The followings have been listed as Nigeria’s five biggest security threat.
3 Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As amended)
4 Odoeme, Chukwudi. (2021). Evaluation of human security under the Nigerian 1999 Constitution, available at Evaluation of human security under the Nigerian 1999 Constitution (researchgate.net)
5. Herder – farmer conflicts in Nigeria are ethnoreligious disputes over land resources across Nigeria between mostly Muslim Fulani herders and mostly Christian non-Fulani farmers. They have been especially prominent in the Middle Belt (North Central) since the return of democracy in 1999. More recently, it has deteriorated into attacks on farmers by Fulani herdsmen and also vice versa. This is prominent in the Middle Belt particularly Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Adamawa, and Taraba States.
Attacks have also taken place in the northwest Nigeria against farmers who are mainly Hausa. While the conflict has underlying economic and environmental reasons, it has also acquired religious and ethnic dimensions. Thousands of people have died since these attacks began. Sedentary farming rural communities are often target of attacks because of their vulnerability. There are fears that this conflict will spread to other West African countries, but this has often been downplayed by governments in the region. Attacks on herders have also led them to retaliating by attacking other communities.
Herder–farmer conflicts in Nigeria have deep roots and date back to pre-colonial times (before the 1900s). However, these conflicts have become far more severe in recent decades due to population pressures, climate change, and various other factors. During the British colonial era, herders and farmers would agree on a system called burti, in which specific migration routes were set up for herders, with mutual agreement from the farmers, herders, and local authorities. However, the burti system collapsed around the 1970s when farmers increasingly claimed ownership of lands along cattle migration paths, increasingly leading to conflicts
Before, herders frequently exchanged milk for cereal grains with farming communities. However, in recent decades, milk is no longer being widely bartered as packaged beverages became more popular in towns
Modern medicines have also made it possible for herders to move their livestock further south into the “tsetse fly zone” in the south, whereas before, herders could not keep their cattle on a large scale due to tropical diseases in humid climate zones. Starting from those implemented by the British colonial administration, tsetse control programs have reduced the threat of diseases such as trypanosomiasis. Today, herders also have easy access to drugs for trypanosomiasis and dermatophilosis in order to keep their livestock alive. In addition, over the past several decades, herders have cross-bred trypanosome-intolerant zebu cattle with trypanosome-tolerant hump less breeds, thereby increasing the cattle’s tolerance of tropical diseases. All of these factors have enabled the widespread migration of Fulani herders into the southernmost areas of Nigeria, where they could easily sell their livestock for higher prices due to strong demand for beef and other meat products in Nigeria’s populous southern towns and cities. However, in the south, they would encounter sedentary communities that have not historically had any experience with peacefully negotiating and co-existing with nomadic herders. Increasing ease of access to weapons and religious polarization among both Christians and Muslims have added to the potential for violence
Since the Fourth Nigerian Republic’s founding in 1999, farmer-herder violence has killed more than 19,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more. It followed a trend in the increase of farmer-herder conflicts throughout much of the western Sahel, due to an expansion of agriculturist population and cultivated land at the expense of pasturelands; deteriorating environmental conditions, desertification and soil degradation; population growth; breakdown in traditional conflict resolution mechanisms of land and water disputes; and proliferation of small arms and crime in rural areas. Insecurity and violence have led many populations to create self-defense forces and ethnic and tribal militias, which have engaged in further violence. The majority of farmer-herder clashes have occurred between Muslim Fulani herdsmen and Christian farmers, exacerbating ethnoreligious hostilities
6. Insecurity in Nigeria is a recurring phenomenon that threatens the well-being of its citizens. The multipronged occurrence constitutes a bane to development and leads to the proliferation of crime. As a multifaceted quandary, insecurity assumes varying dimensions in different geopolitical zones. The Southwest is plagued by a surge in cybercrime, armed robbery, kidnapping, domestic crime, extrajudicial killings, herder-farmer conflicts, ritual killings, and banditry. The Southeast is a haven for ritual killings, commercial crime, secessionist agitation, kidnapping, herder-farmer clashes, attacks by unknown gunmen, and banditry. The South remains threatened by militancy, kidnapping, and environmental agitation. The Northeast has been subject to a humanitarian crisis lasting over a decade and caused by the Boko Haram insurgency and the Islamic State in West Africa Province. Meanwhile, the Northwest is enmeshed in illegal mining, ethnoreligious killings, and banditry. It is, therefore, an axiom that insecurity in Nigeria has assumed a disproportionate geopolitical stance and that it has claimed thousands of lives and extensive damage and loss of property.
In the context of the aforementioned security problems, banditry has recently come to the fore with increased activities in the northwest region of the country, particularly in Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi, and Katsina states. Banditry refers to ‘a type of organized crime that includes kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, rape, cattle-rustling, and the exploitation of environmental resources] Some of the factors that have led to the rise and persistence of banditry in Nigeria are under-governed spaces, a weak security apparatus, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, socioeconomic conditions such as poverty and unemployment, cattle rustling, and illegal mining activities in the Northwest.
Even though the incidence of banditry in Nigeria is beginning to attract scholarship, the theoretical expositions remain embryonic. This article fills the gap by offering explanations for the occurrence of banditry in Nigeria through Situational Action Theory (SAT). This is done bearing in mind that an understanding of the motivating factors of crime provides insights and potential solutions. Furthermore, the available literature largely fails to characterize the phenomenon adequately and tends to offer vague solutions. The article thus proposes practical solutions through the strategies of Situational Crime Prevention (SCP). The article presents an overview of banditry in Nigeria and SAT, as well as discussing mitigating the challenge of banditry through SCP.
5. Herder-Farmer Conflicts in Nigeria, available at Herder–farmer conflicts in Nigeria – Wikipedia
6. Tope S.A., Banditry in Nigeria: Insights from situational action and situational crime prevention theories, available at Banditry in Nigeria: Insights from Situational Action and Situational Crime Prevention Theories – ACCORD
7. Other security challenges are cybercrimes, drug trafficking, human trafficking, robberies, weapons proliferation, economics and financial crimes. Factors that have been highlighted as causes of insecurity in Nigeria include:
The insecurity in Nigeria is increasing exponentially with each passing day. Insecurity and terrorism have been a major challenge for the Nigerian government lately, each of which leads to the loss of life and the destruction of properties.
As a result, insecurity has taken different forms in several parts of the country, armed robbers have taken position within the south-west, cross-border bandits operate smoothly in the north, while kidnapping issues are widespread in the south-south. In Nigeria, insecurity is supported by corruption and corrupt people in different sectors.
8. Nigeria is among the world most terrorist countries. The rate at which evil is growing in Nigeria and the ruthless manner in which the lives of innocent people is being wasted are worrying. Citizens are burdened daily with emotional and psychological trauma as a result of the death of their loved ones who had fallen victims.
Causes of Insecurity
- Poverty: The failure of Nigerian governments to fix the challenges of poverty and the unequal distribution of wealth among ethnic nationalities is a major contributor to the country’s insecurity. When you have a poor population, you have a serious insecurity problem.
- Bad Governance: The increasing incidents of violent attacks are symptoms of weak, marginal or exploitative government systems in Nigeria. The government’s inability to provide public services and meet the basic needs of the masses has created a group of frustrated people who are easily classified as violent by any event
- Terrorism / kidnapping: Terrorism is the use of violent acts to achieve political goals or to force a government to act. Boko Haram is the most famous terrorist organization that has done the most damage to the country. Nigeria has lost many lives in the northern region to the Boko Haram uprising, that devastated the northern region of the country. Other acts of terrorism include suicide bombings, assassinations, and kidnapping. Terrorist activities have resulted in displacement of people, loss of life and property, distrust, anger and hatred, as well as psychological and emotional trauma and general insecurity.
- Weak judicial system: The weakness of the Nigerian judiciary system creates uncertainty in Nigeria. People feel insecure when criminals are released. Many criminals have bought their freedom with money in the country, the legal system has abandoned its people and released all kinds of atrocities.
- Corruption: Corruption is already a part of life in the country and, unfortunately, is now part of Nigeria’s economic problems, and public appropriation. It has gained popularity in our system of government. This creates financial insecurity which has exacerbated poverty, there is corruption in public office at all levels and this has created a lot of instability in our country.
- Unemployment: According to statistics, a tenth of the country’s young citizens are officially unemployed. Young people are overwhelmed by the high unemployment rate in Nigeria. Every year, universities make many graduates who were unfortunately thrown onto the job market with no prospect of job opportunities. And this has lead a lot into criminal acts. Unfortunately, due to bad government decisions, our factories are still not reactivating. Due to the unemployment among Nigerians, young people are now negatively attracted to violent crime.
- Poor Security System: This is due to inadequate government security equipment in both weapons and training. It contributes to the poor disposition of the security personnel. In many cases, security officers tasked with certain security situations lack the experience and equipment to handle situations so that they will not arise.
- Porous Border: Nigeria shares borders with Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali. These borders are poorly secured by the Nigerian immigration and customs authorities. The porous nature of these borders has exacerbated the possible spread of terrorist activity in Nigeria. With terrorism in the country there will be no room for adequate development in our country.
- Ethnic Groups and Religious Differences: It should be remembered that the country’s diverse ethnic makeup is not in itself a cause of insecurity in Nigeria However, political and religious leaders across the country sometimes use ethnic sentiments to pursue their selfish ambitions, create mistrust and resentment between different ethnic groups and religions.
- Solution to insecurity
- Solidified border security: The federal government must face the immediate challenge of boundary porosity. The government should make concerted efforts to recruit, train and deploy adequately equipped customs and immigration personnel across borders. The government needs to invest in more effective security technologies, which will benefit border security. These technologies can include body cameras, smart license plate readers, smart vehicle underbody scanners, and more. Border guards, serving to secure the border, must have adequate access to these types of resources that enable them to do their jobs effectively.
- Human and Infrastructure Development: We need to capitalize on demographic dividends by investing in health, education and livelihoods, especially for our young people. There is urgent need to draw a national development plan that require the three levels of government. There should be development projects in important sectors of national life all at the same time. The authorities must additionally increase people’s dwelling requirements with the aid of setting up greater facilities of entrepreneurship throughout the nation
- Leadership development: Nigeria must develop visionary leadership. Leadership positions should be for people who can convey to their people the idea of a common citizenship as a transcendent factor among all Nigerians, regardless of tribe, gender, religion, economic and social status that focuses on facts and pronouncements that will convincingly and positively affect all citizens of our nation. The process of developing such leadership can be challenging, but our country desperately needs leaders with a national perspective and an eagerness to change the nation.
- Good Governance: Good governance is the panacea to Nigeria’s insecurity challenge. Good governance is required, in which the government is accountable and accountable to the people. Good governance is a function of effectiveness, foresight, transparency, reliability and credible political leadership, the driving force of which is the improvement of the collective well-being of citizens through well-designed and effectively implemented economic policies and human development programs. The focus on people as the primary goal of governance. It is time to give up negative behavior and bad political tactics so that the country can have peace.
- Economic Development: The country’s economic productivity and opportunities for its citizens need to be improved. The challenge of insecurity in Nigeria can be solved by accelerating development in our country. Development in this context is about creating an economy with societal relevance, an economic and physical infrastructure for business activity and industrial growth, in order to create gainful employment, high-quality educational facilities and health care for the people.
- Elimination of Corruption: It is the cause of inequality and the unequal distribution of the wealth of nations among their citizens. Corruption at all levels must be eliminated in such a way that equal rights apply to all, and rights and privileges of people are not agreed upon based on bribery and tribe but on merit, defined in relation to theirs Character content, their mental efficiency and their efficiency, where there will be no discrimination.
- Building a proactive law enforcement agency: There is a need to collect and monitor information so that law enforcement officers can be proactive and predict potential crimes with near perfect accuracy and not reactively. Government at all levels cannot compromise in enforcing the law. Law enforcement agencies must prevent and control behavior that threatens life and property, protect constitutional guarantees such as freedom of expression and assembly, resolve conflicts between individuals or between citizens and their government, and identify problems that may become more serious to individuals or authorities
- Proper Security training and equipment: More attention needs to be paid to the security department in order to conform to worldwide standard practice and the acquisition of modern technology. There is also a need to modernize security agencies through adequate training, advanced technology, motivation and change of direction
- Appropriate Education: Education is a prerequisite for any form of development. Adequate education is the process of teaching, training and learning, especially in schools and universities, to improve knowledge and develop skills. This is very much for national development. It is time we know that education without skills is a disservice at the highest level. It is necessary to change our curriculum and reorganize our learning institutions even from elementary to tertiary education, the government needs to include skills acquisition as a central part of the academic curriculum. It must also provide students with the necessary opportunities to learn these skills.
- Improvement of the criminal justice system: The judiciary should have developed time scales for cases at this stage in our development. There should have been a time to determine a cause; Time to close this case; and time to pass judgment. Hence, the government must ensure that criminal proceedings are successfully completed. Criminals will serve their full sentences, when convicted. Suspects are brought to justice earlier. Procedural documents must be available to lawyers and the public in digital form. Likewise, the procedure for filing a criminal complaint is to be simplified with greater consideration for the victims.
9. Tackling the issue of insecurity in Nigeria entails addressing these factors highlighted above. It has been noted that to effectively tackle insecurity, there is need for robust government reforms that address these security challenges at the root.
Poverty – More than 70% of the population of Nigeria live below the poverty line. It is hard for people to earn enough even for food due to low job opportunities and high cost of living.
Crime – Armed robbery is a serious issue in the country, it has claimed uncountable innocent lives. There are also constant reports of kidnappings in Nigeria. Things can get even more serious with reports of ritual killings in almost every part of the country.
Armed conflict – The terrorist group Boko Haram has already abducted a large number of people, mostly women and children, whose fate have remained unknown. Boko Haram has destroyed many villages and cities in the north of Nigeria. As a result, a large number of people lost their homes and became refugees. Armed conflicts in Nigeria is often fueled by religious and ethnic differences.
Poor quality of Education – Education in some parts of the country is subpar and yet it is not even available to everyone. Of course, there are elementary schools in Nigeria as well as universities and technical schools. But the quality of education is still very poor when compared with European educational institutions. A third of the population remains uneducated, while those who seek education abroad tend to not come back to the country.
Lack of proper healthcare – Things are not great with healthcare in the country. Medical education in Nigeria can still be obtained, but it cannot be compared to the quality of education in European, America and even some Asian countries. Quality medical care is only available in few private hospitals which most Nigerians cannot afford due to the high cost of treatment. Government hospitals offer healthcare services at highly subsidized rate; however, these hospitals are in need of urgent renovation.
Environmental issues – The country’s ecology suffers tremendously from various factors. There is oil, mining, chemical, rubber industries in Nigeria that emit all kinds of gases into the atmosphere. Garbage is piled around even in the center of the capital and in almost all the big cities in the country.
10. Judicial interventions and government reforms will address insecurity in Nigeria. In his lecture titled, ‘Challenges of Insecurity and Nation Building’, multiple security challenges the country was facing, banditry, kidnappings, drug trafficking, cybercrimes, robberies, weapons proliferation, human trafficking, communal clashes, ethnic nationalism and militancy. The Kano helmsman further listed hate speeches, economic and financial crimes, subversive activities, herdsmen/farmers clashes, youth unemployment and piracy.
“Efforts to tackle insecurity can only be effective if there is a robust combination of legislative and judicial interventions with government reforms that address security challenges. “The formulation and effective implementation of policies and programs capable of addressing the root causes of insecurity in Nigeria is crucial,”
7. Ex-Niger Delta Militants beg oil firms to return to region, available at Ex-Niger Delta Militants Beg Oil Firms To Return To Region | Sahara Reporters
8. 9 major causes and solutions to insecurity in Nigeria, available at 9 Major Causes and Solutions to Insecurity in Nigeria – Bscholarly
9. George Ibenegbu, 10 causes of insecurity in Nigeria and the way out, available at Contemporary social problems in Nigeria and solutions (legit.ng)
10. Wale Odunsi, Ganduje lists ways to tackle insecurity in Nigeria, available at Ganduje lists ways to tackle insecurity in Nigeria – Daily Post Nigeria