Nigerian Security Challenges and Recommendations for Sustainable National Development – Ani, Kelechi Johnmary and Onyebukwa, Chijioke Francis

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Summary: In recent times, the question of security has continued to feature in prominent global discourses. Security is a key policy concern for decision-makers, communities, and groups all across the world. This is because security is a complex term that clearly demands not only counter-measures but also concrete preventive and resilient decisions. As a result, policymakers in various countries around the world have realized that protecting states and their citizens demand a fully integrated multidimensional and comprehensive approach to security issues, which has direct implications for the civil, social, cultural, political, environmental, and economic sectors of society. To deal with the challenges of insecurity, the government must develop sustainable robust socio-political and economic frameworks.


Introduction

The issue of security has taken center stage in the contemporary international system. Continents, regions, states, etc are all battling directly and indirectly to improve their direct domestic and international security status. Security unavoidably stands as a major policy challenge to decision-makers as well as communities and groups around the globe. This is so because the concept of security remains a complex phenomenon that unarguably require not just counter-measures to deal with but concrete preventive and resilient decisions to manage in order to avoid loss of lives and properties. It, therefore, follows that security requires not only the physical protection from existing harm, but also the establishment of resilient socio-political and economic structures to deal with its complexity. In this era of globalization, growing interdependence because of uncertainties in security has given it a new meaning, scope, perspective and dimension.

Consequently, policy makers in different counties around the globe have gradually come to recognize that the protection of states and there citizens require a fully integrated multidimensional and comprehensive approach to security issues, which directly influences civil, social, cultural, political, environmental and economic sectors of the society. Such recognition has precipitated a number of measures and counter measures to deal with security. However, the underlying truth is that security is the state of being free from danger or threat. It is the degree of protection to safeguard a nation against danger, damage, crime and loss. It includes the safety of a state against criminal activities. Obviously, there is no single universal acceptable definition of state or national security since there are some differences in describing what makes-up a nation or state. The variety of definitions provides an overview of the many usages of this concept. The concept still remain ambiguous, having originated from simpler definitions which initially emphasized the freedom from military threat and political coercion, to later increase in sophistication and now include other forms non-military security as found  in the reality of everyday life across the globe. National security is thus a combination abundant and suitable political, military, human resources, economic structures, technology, science and natural resources at its optimal level in a country. It includes the ability to preserve the nation‟s physical integrity and territory and protect it from undesirable internal and external control. It is therefore a state of being able to control and overcome various external and internal threats predicating that security remains complex and ambiguous. This obvious realization that security encompasses more than just military security draws to mind the urgent need for the government to integrate other very important security areas into crucial national security interests to ensure the sustainable development of the Nigerian State.

These security areas are premised on clear comprehension of the dynamics of internal security and contemporary global security challenges of which Nigeria cannot be said to be isolated from. Hence the county cannot afford to continue to live as if in oblivion of these facts of the contemporary global security trends. However, it is of vital importance to acknowledge the existing spectrum of Nigeria‟s national security interests which has fared very well in various categories, especially in the protection of Nigerian unity and the larger parts of its territory, in exception of those lost to Cameroon, which forced the Bakassi people to demand for a sovereign state.

This work is a synoptic account of the dynamics of the different forms of security threats facing the Nigerian State. It showed how a number of major military and non-military forces of insecurity are weakening the process of national development in the country and made extensive recommendations on the strategies for sustainable national security and development in Nigeria.

Terrorism and Proliferation of Arms

All over the world today, the issues of terrorism pose a very serious security challenge in international relations. This new ideological phenomenon is dreaded around the globe because it is both resilient and lethal and is waged unlawfully against civilians with the intent  to achieve political, religious, economic or other objectives. Boko Haram is a typical example of extreme terrorism. This is notwithstanding the fact that it has international support and sponsorship; its activities are centered within the Nigeria State and her neighbors. Their operational dynamics moves from its area of domestic influence, which was traditionally in Northeastern Nigeria to Niger, Chad and Cameroon and vise versa thereby internationalizing the activities of the sect. Whether domestic or international, terrorism is a very complex security issue because of its ambiguous nature. Therefore, resilience and preventive security strategies should be put in place to curb the activities of our domestic Boko Haram and the intrusion of international terrorism into Nigeria.

There are extensive research works to show that the sect have negatively affected the wind of national development through their activities. They have launched their terror attacks on both soft civilian targets and hard security targets. Their onslaught on tangible developmental structures has recorded the attack on the Lois Edeth headquarters of the Nigerian Police, the Borno State Police Headquarters, thousands of police stations in Borno State, Yobe State, Adamawa State, Kano State and Gombe State respectively. They have also lunched their attacks a number of times on military barracks in Borno State, Yobe State and Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The soft targets for their terror destruction include the churches, mosques and their adherents, schools of all levels, from primary schools to secondary, colleges of education, college of agriculture, polytechnics and universities spread across the North Eastern parts of Nigeria. Other soft targets that have received the destructive wind of their influence include markets, hotels, entertainment and communication centers, motor parks etc. Ani and a number of other scholars have captured many dimensions of Boko Haram terrorism while comparing their operational dynamics with the activities of other international terror sects.

Ironically, the challenge of terrorism and other forms of insecurity like religious conflicts, inter-communal conflicts, kidnapping etc. have been reinforced by the increasing proliferation of arms in different parts of the country. According to ECOWAS Convention, small arms refer to arms used by one person and which include firearms and other destructive arms or devices such as bombs, grenades, rocket launchers, missile systems and landmines, revolvers as well as pistols with automatic loaded rifles and carbines, machines guns, and assault rifles. The high circulation of illegal arms in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular is worrisome despite the existence of regional, continental and international instruments designed to curb the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

By contributing to the disruption of the pattern of daily life at the individual, community and societal levels, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALWS) play a key role in denying people entitlement to core human values, central to the notion of human security. The emphasis on human security derives from three fundamental convictions; namely the sanctity and inviolability of human life, the universality and dignity of human rights as well as the existential imperative of and value for individual safety in the world full of multifarious threats. Human security is therefore rooted in three basic human instincts; self-preservation, self-extension, and self-fulfillment. Unfortunately, Nigeria ranks among the states with the highest circulation of illegal arms in West Africa. The consistent seizure of SALWS by security and border control officers, the frequency of deployment of these arms in ethnic conflicts by those who engage in illegal arms trade and crimes as well as the level of human and material damage in the aftermath of its use in the country, are clear pointers to this fact. For instance, the level of human and material destruction and damage caused by members of the hydra-headed monster bedeviling Nigeria; Boko Haram sect will give an idea of the quantum of SALWS proliferation in the county. Of course, they had access to sophisticated weapons, with which they were able to surmount security agents on ground in many cases before unleashing their terror on the larger populace. One can go on and on but these instances have brought to elucidation the most challenging security area in the country. The situation has remained like that recently because our collective efforts channeled against corruption which creates a security paradox that the terrorists capitalizes on thereby feeding into the cycle of increasing SALWA proliferation in the Nigeria.

Health Insecurity

Health security aims to guarantee a minimum protection from diseases and unhealthy lifestyles. In developing countries, the major causes of death are infectious and parasitic, which kill 17 million people annually. In industrialized countries, the major killers are diseases of the circulatory system, killing 5.5 million people annually. According to the United Nations, in both developing and developed countries, the threat of health security is usually greater among poor people living in the rural areas. This is mainly due to malnutrition and insufficient supply of medicine, lack of access to clean drinking water and other necessities of life. Nigeria as a developing country is faced with a declining healthcare system that requires urgent assessment and management. A vast population of Nigerians continues to be affected by poverty-driven diseases and natural hazards. Between one third and half of the population live below the poverty line and an increasing number of people live in disaster and also epidemic prone areas. Limited asses to healthcare services, including reproductive healthcare, is a serious security issue. This has increased the rate of infant mortality to an alarming level. Obviously, the prevalence of the killer disease, HIV/AIDS in the county is not in doubt and this is yet another very dangerous and serious security challenge area that requires attention in the healthcare sector of the country. The underlying truth is that many of the health facility are not – functional due to disrepair, lack of human resources and essential drugs supplies as well as lack of equipments. Where some of these are provided, they are few and remain out of reach of the majority poor populace.

Joel Nwokeoma wrote that on the eve of the country‟s 49th independence anniversary, while public officials at all levels had primed themselves for celebration of our political sovereignty, the media was awash with reports of deaths of hapless and helpless Nigerians from cholera outbreaks in a number of states in Northern Nigeria. In one particular report, no fewer than twenty (20) people, the majority of them children aged between one and ten (10) years, were confirmed dead while over four hundred (400) others were admitted to hospitals in Bashiru village of Dutse Local Government Area of Jigawa State. Instructively, the report quoted the representative of the village head, Alhaji Sabo Sale, as saying that the absence of clean drinking water, a hospital and good roads had contributed to the massive spread of the diseases. The situation became worse in nearby states of Adamawa and Borno where the disease spread to. There were reports that about eighty (80) lives were lost in the epidemics that swept through seven (7) of the twenty one (21) local councils in Adamawa. The outbreak of the cholera epidemics hunted a number of states in 2015 including Ebonyi State.

In August 2009, nine out of three hundred patients admitted for snake bites at the snake treatment center of Kaltungu General Hospital, Gombe State lost their lives because of lack of drugs to treat them. The Chief Medical Doctor of the hospital, Dr. Abubakar Saidu Balla stated that the center received over 1,600 patients from Adamawa, Borno, Bauchi, Jigawa, Gombe, Taraba, Plateau, Abuja and Nasarawa States, out of which about thirty (30) died. The question is if we can‟t threat snake bite, cholera, etc without massive loss of lives, when would we launch advanced medical science and technology? Ani Kelechi wrote that “the poor condition of our hospitals has led to the increasing death of prominent Nigerians oversea. Some die of the carelessness of the foreign doctors as in the case of Stella Obasanjo. The immediate past Shehu of Borno, former Governor of Yobe state etc, all died overseas. However, the death of Madam Better Life for Rural Women and a cherished first lady, Maryam Babangida, who touched the lives of poor women in almost all the villages in Nigeria, became a thunderstorm”. Her death abroad “provoked another round of questions from our pool of armchair critics: why do big people die overseas? If we can‟t fix all, why don‟t we have one, just one that can accommodate the rich and their ailments? Do our leaders learn lessons from death?

Food Insecurity

Achieving food security in its totality continues to be a challenge, not only for the developing countries like Nigeria but also for the developed world. The difference lies in the magnitude of the problem in terms of its security and proportion of the population affected. The root cause of food insecurity in Nigeria is the inability of people to gain access to food due to insufficiency of local production and poverty, which weakens the purchase of foreign food stuff. Basically, food security has three aspects; food availability, food access and food adequacy. Food availability has to do with the supply of food. This should be sufficient in quantity and quality and also provide in different varieties. Food access addresses the demand for the food. It is influenced by economic factors, physical infrastructure and consumer preferences. Hence, food availability, though elemental in ensuring food security, does not guarantee it. For households and individuals within the country to enjoy food security, food and its access must be adequate not only in quantity but also in quality. It should ensure an adequate, consistent and dependable supply of energy and nutrients through sources that are affordable and socio- culturally acceptable to them at all times. Ultimately, food security should translate to an active healthy life for every individual in the Nigerian state, which remains a mirage.

Food security has the potential to influence food intake and ultimately the health and nutritional status of household. In Nigeria today, over 85% of the food consumed by the poor households in rural areas is obtained from the individual farms. This is largely because farming at this level is usually subsistent. Therefore, the major challenge to food security in Nigeria is its underdeveloped agricultural sector that is characterized by over-reliance on primary agriculture, low fertile soil, minimal use of external farm inputs, environmental degradation and inadequate food preservative facilities. Others are barriers to market access, effects of globalization, animal and crop diseases and bottlenecks in the implementation of agricultural policies.

Environmental Insecurity

The environment is a complex concept that includes both living and non living matter. However, the place of the resource environment in defining the life of man in different parts of the globe cannot be neglected. Similarly, the quest to exploit resources in a given environment as well as the desire to control the dividend of one‟s environment has become a very powerful driver of conflict and insecurity among individuals, groups, communities, states and regions. The conflict that ravaged the Niger Delta region and still hunts the country is a product of environmental resource contest. The Niger Delta people over the years have lost their lives in their numbers directly and indirectly due to the abuse of their environment.

Benard A. Omoyeni has created a vivid picture of how the environment is affected by the violent activities of man to include conflict with native culture, traditions and way of life, obstruction of boat traffic and destruction of drainage facilities, destruction of human and wild life, degradation of the sea and reduction of fishing / recreation sites, flooding, mortality etc. One of the major environmental security threats is air pollution. Global warming, caused by the emission of greenhouse gasses is another critical threatening environment security issues. The rapid depletion of the ozone is the consequent effect of greenhouse gasses emission. The concentration of these chemical emissions trapped in the atmosphere has led to global warming. This is growing due to the negative effects of industrialization and globalization.

Apparently, the deadliest effects of global warming cut across countries of the world including Nigeria. Obviously, global warming has drastically increased the spread of diseases, natural disasters, increased probability and intensity of droughts and heat waves. Reports of desert encroachment, drought and heat waves leading to loss of lives and property in the northern part of this country are already assuming a very dangerous dimension which requires urgent attention. This of course manifests with high economic consequences, namely, huge financial loss.

Dialectics on the Management of Security and National Development in Nigeria

i. Security Sector Transformation

Central to any state‟s security is its armed forces. The strength or weakness of the armed forces determines the level of and political status in the international system. Nigeria is known world over as the giant of Africa and of course, Nigeria‟s military might remain a concrete pointer to this fact. It is believed that Nigeria possesses the best armed forces in Africa. Unfortunately, the level of decay in our armed forces today does not depict that of a giant but that of a dwarf and left nothing to be desired. The decay reached its zenith in late 2014 and early 2015 when the Boko Haram openly celebrated their victory over the military as they did not only run-over them in a number of cases but killed their troops and took their weapons and military hardware.

The military which is saddled with the sensitive responsibility of protecting the nation from both internal and external attacks and danger is expected to be at its best at all times. The professional values that characterize to the armed forces have been nearly eroded. Corruption, indiscipline, division, internal fragmentation among the rank and file, lack of necessary security equipment and lack of proper training of our officers among other issues has destroyed our hard earned military status in Africa and around the globe today.

To make matters worse, the Nigerian police are rated among the most corrupt in the world today. The reason is simple; police corruption is demonstrated recklessly in every part of country. When the police extort money to subvert justice and encourage vice, what do you think? When a qualified police officer is not promoted because he is not from the zone with the leader or when he is not promoted because he is not in the same faith with the leader or when officers lease their guns or even sold them out to criminals, secessionist groups or militia groups or when the military are left defend the nation with obsolete guns and equipments or when the officers are not properly trained or when our armed forces are under-paid. What do we expect? If we should allow this security catastrophe to continue, the already threatened national security will deepen and the consequence would be more devastating. The armed forces are long overdue for a thorough overhaul to bring us back to our days of glory. Consequently, serious correctional and strategic repositioning policies are very necessary.

There is need for professional restructuring, which is a key policy that will purge the military of its ills and reposition it for its improved professional task. A thorough probe and investigation of the armed forces with a view to identifying, trying and sacking of corrupt officers, should be a paramount policy in the restructure agenda. The military reform agenda will focus on the various affected departments of the armed forces that require urgent attention and this would be in three folds. The first step is to provide civic education for the armed forces on the need to respect and form a strong alliance with civil authority and the populace as against the current culture of looking down on them as bloody civilians. Chinedu Ubah has argued that “it is not easy to bring both sides to work together with proper understanding and due respect for each other. The two sides had uncomplimentary perceptions of each other. To the soldiers, the civilians were idle, sluggish, and inquisitive. Instead of just obeying a simple order, the civilians would want to know why. By the time the civilian was insisting on explanations, the soldier had lost his patience”. The second is stepping up professional training and lastly, procurement of military hardware and equipment necessary to conduct advanced intelligent services. Again, the government should mobiles both domestic and international resources towards uplifting the general image of the armed forces. On the international front, assistance and cooperation should be negotiated between Nigeria and some Western countries like the US, Russia, France, Germany, China and Britain in form of training, technology/technical assistance, and general logistic support. An increased budget of the armed forces will go a long way in taking care of a number of issues bordering on wages, procurement of more modern arms and most importantly, the need for the Nigerian military to start developing the Nigerian brand of firearms and military hardware.

ii. Education, Unemployment and Poverty Management

Education promotes human development both at individual and collective levels and this enhances better employment and a possible exit from the world of poverty. A formidable education system leads to employment and promotes gradual exit from poverty. The consequence of the decay in our education system is alarming as well as insulting. The truth about the unemployable status of most of our graduates due to obvious lack of defense of their certificates at job interviews is indeed worrisome. Internationally, Nigerian universities certificates are suspected in the international community following the fact that Nigerian graduates are subjected to series of stringent examinations before they can qualify to take up a job. In these countries, their reason is that Nigeria‟s education is sub-standard and therefore cannot be accepted as standard international qualification.

Back home, this can be said to be true to an extent because of the consequences of our dilapidated education system. Corruption, lack of and decayed educational facilities, professional teachers and funds hamper learning in the country. Obviously, when people are not properly trained to acquire requisite knowledge for good employment, unemployment results and poverty deepens. “Unemployment is one of the major economic problems facing Nigeria. Currently, it is estimated that about 40 million Nigerians are unemployed. A recent study on the unemployment situation in Nigeria by the World Bank revealed that one out of every five adults in Nigeria is unemployed just as only one out of every ten (10) university graduates in Nigeria is gainfully employed”. Though in most cases, the job are not readily available forcing more than one-third of Nigerians to live below $100 a day. This result also complements the patronage of SALWS used in crime. This is a very serious security challenge.

In recent times, education in Nigeria has become so expensive that it is unaffordable to the majority of the poor in Nigeria. It only appears that education is for the rich alone. The thriving of privately owned and well equipped citadel of learning over the dilapidated public or government-owned and controlled schools, takes education into exorbitant hands. Consequently, this has forced a lot of people out of school since they cannot afford it. The young men tend towards crime while the young girls are forced into marriages at tender ages and when not, go into prostitution and usually end up having unwanted pregnancies and even effected with HIV/AIDS. In this regard, our human security is endangered; indicative of an apparent need for a systemic revolution.

Consequently, government should prioritize and invest more in education. The meager annual education budget in the country is not encouraging and should be increased. This will be used in building qualitative schools that will be properly equipped to reflect international standards and a suitable learning environment. Government should ensure that teachers and lecturers who extort money from students before they can pass there exams are weeded-out of the system. We must not tolerate corruption in any form or manner in our education system if we intend to make progress. Private and public sector should ensure the employment of more trained and qualified teachers and lecturers into the education system as a measure of putting the square peg into a square hole. This will encourage learning and improve our education standard. Again, from time to time these teachers should be subjected to training and retraining to help keep their teaching skills alive.

State and Federal government must ensure the affordability of basic education to all Nigerians. Affordability of education will promote and enhance investment in human resource development, which is a huge asset to the country. As a matter of urgency, government should cut school fees at the tertiary levels and make education free and compulsory at the primary level. Basic education remains the right of every child in this country and government should ensure that every child gets it.

There is need for increased private and public partnership towards sustainable job creation. Public-private partnership is a fundamental roadmap to massive job creation, which is paramount to the economic security of our teeming youths. Job creation improves human security and reduces security risk and criminal behaviors. Through the public/private collaboration and resources mobilization at all the levels of government in the country, employment would be generated, leading to poverty reduction and societal stability. For those are uneducated and unemployed, this article would advocate the establishment of mechanisms such as micro finance schemes to provide them with both short term and long term loans to assist them in commerce and other business activities they may wish to involve in and the promotion of small and medium scale enterprises in the villages. Secondly, skill acquisition programs will help in training youths to acquire skills that will make them self-employed or employable by others. Effective management of these two policies would create jobs and cushion the effects of poverty, which is a fundamental driver of insecurity in Nigeria.

iii. Good Governance and Economic Development

Good governance is the foundation upon which a formidable economy and sustainable security is built. Unfortunately, the idea of good governance is a mirage in Nigeria. Indeed, there cannot be found in the continent of Africa any single government that can boast of living up to the global standards, expectations and core values of governance. All African leaders are guilty of subverting the expectations of their people. As a result of this, Africa and indeed Nigeria suffers a drastic decrease in standard of living of citizens who are either low income earners or unemployed and poor. Bad governance in Nigeria over the years has immensely succeeded in „killing‟ developmental process and weakening security policies. The political, economic and social well-being of Nigerian people is often largely compromised by the politicians who sing songs of change that ends up in their pocket and for their family members. Corrupt administration precipitating the abuse of economic and political power has tremendously enhanced human insecurity, especially in the face of the criminal loot and excessive financial allowances that the governing political elite allocate to themselves.

While good governance goals would seek to address human insecurity issues bordering on several areas including promotion of equitable distribution of resources and power, promotion of peace and prevention of conflict. Others include support of macro-economic fundamentals for poverty reduction and eradication like maintenance of transparency and accountability, reduction and removal of social exclusion, promotion of gender equality, protection and promotion of the environment. There is equally the need to meet national economic objectives in order to ensure stability, high employment and sustainable growth as well as job creation and retention through efforts in business finance, marketing, small business development and real estate development.

It should be noted that bad governance flourish in different parts of the country and at the federal level, otherwise creating the obvious insidious high insecurity situation facing the country today. That fundamental confidence-building and trust based on processes of governance supportive of human development that creates an environment which favors investment and sustainable economic development, is lacking. Individual and collective trust are considered essential elements of social capital and are key to launching programs against economic and human security but the lack in the re-appropriation of the core values of governance, stifle this in Nigeria.

The way out remains a positive complementary interaction between governance and economic development. Obviously, governance built on proper, effective and prudent management and appropriation of significant core values of governance would to a great extent guarantee sustainable economic growth and development that would re-build confidence and trust in the people towards the government. Secondly, good governance requires political renewal. This means a concerted attack on corruption from the highest to the lowest level of government and every facet of the private sector. It is not a fight against corruption that is selective of those who sponsored the political sovereign. Sustainable fight against corruption should start from the relatives, friends and political colleagues as well as supporters of the leadership at federal, state and local government areas. This can be done by setting good example by strengthening accountability through nurturing and encouraging the running of a wealth assessment program for all public office holders. This program would expose illegally acquired wealth by public office holders and recommend them for consequent trial and subsequent imprisonment as deterrence to others. It is only when the „political and administrative-criminals‟, who steal more money on the spot than the armed robbers are tried and convicted, irrespective of class and affiliations that the security of Nigeria and the defence of the corporate commonwealth of over one hundred and seventy million Nigerians will be guaranteed.

Furthermore, the concept of economic development should encompass increased standard of living through improved social, economic and technological advancement. Its scope should include processes and policies by which a nation improves its economic, political and social well-being of its citizens. It involves the improvement on the indicating variables to development, including literacy rates, life expectancy, poverty rates, food security, housing, environmental protection, etc that are pivotal to human security. There is need for efforts to create an enabling environment to build capacities would not be wasted by the negative political culture in Nigeria. Over the years, political context has been marred by electoral malpractices and consequent electoral conflicts. This has undoubtedly occasioned unwanted and imposed leadership, which by many standards lacks the traits of good governance and transformational leadership but often rich and efficient in corruption and nepotism. The sanitization of the electoral body and process would help solve this problem. Good governance is fundamental in fighting insecurity and promoting national defense in a country.

Conclusion and Recommendations

This study is an attempt to present a synoptic account of the major forms of insecurity that is threatening the manifest destiny of the Nigerian State. The work showed that terrorism is the principal headache that is threatening the socio-political life of Nigeria. The dynamics of terrorism is generally promoted by the problem of arms proliferation across the length and breadth of the country, which then empowers the activities of criminals, kidnappers and the war mercenaries that are contracted to prosecute inter-communal conflicts in different parts of the country. There is also the problem of health insecurity. The fact that the rich class in Nigeria and members of the political elite have sworn not to develop the hospitals through their perpetual medical trips and check-up abroad has turned the country into a place where the commonest form of sickness sentences people to their untimely grave. The problem of food and environmental insecurity has taken the lives of many Nigerians with the hope of sustainable solution at hand. Consequently, the issue of insecurity in Nigerian unavoidably manifests multiple forms of complexity. However as various security issues require divergent strategic policies to curd and manage them, the current government must come up with policies that will ensure the general well-being of Nigerian citizens and grater enhancement human security.

Government should engage and adopt these three most important aspects on how to deal with Boko Haram; curtailing, managing the consequence of violence and dialogue. But in the event of failure of the above, particularly dialogue, government should apply and enforce diplomacy by other means to curb the activities of Boko Haram. The promotion of media jingles through which citizens are educated on the need to expose hideouts of Boko Haram members remains more pressing than ever. This will enhance easier arrest and speedily deliver the country of these miscreants who pose unnecessary security danger to law abiding citizens.

Government and Islamic leaders should collaborate with social, political and other religious leaders and stakeholders in most of the affected areas to assist in identifying members of the sect, who live amongst them, with a view to facilitate their arrest and prosecution.

Nigeria cannot continue to fold its hands believing that things will get better over night rather, government must as a matter of urgency, formulate and vigorously pursue policy strategies aimed at eliminating SALWS proliferation. There is therefore the need for a robust strategy that encapsulates three broad dimensions of intervention: governance, security and diplomacy (GSD). We must strengthen the institutions and processes of governance to enhance social provisioning for citizens, who are becoming increasingly frustrated over governance failure, thereby resorting to violent crimes that increase demand for SALWS. All levels of government; federal, state and local government need to partner with the private sector to undertake aggressive job creation program for Nigeria‟s teeming and idle youths. Strengthened intervention by all the levels of government to promote peaceful coexistence among the different ethno-religious and political groups in Nigeria remains imperative. This strategic area if effectively managed and controlled, would help minimize the outbreak and persistence of violent conflict that promotes arms proliferation in the country.

Government should reform the National Orientation Agency (an orientation body saddled with the responsibility of enlightenment and orientation program) to be more proactive towards strategic security awareness, strategic security consciousness and crime prevention. This will enable people to appreciate the importance of monitoring developments around and to report unwholesome activities to the security agencies.

There is need for the creation and adoption of a National Arms Control Strategy (NACS) to guide the clean-up and prevention of SALWS circulation. This proposed body would collaborate with other stakeholders at all the levels of government and at cooperate and individual levels to ensure a thorough job. The cleaning up job would help to achieve a measurable degree of security of life and property in the country. The strengthening of border security arrangement through enhanced intra and inter- state collaboration among security and intelligent agencies in the air, maritime and land border areas is vital in the road to effective tracking of SALWS. Robust funding and adequate provision of modern security equipments for security agencies, including security posts at the entry points; land, sea and airports is of optimal importance in this era of massive terrorism. There is need for the conduct a regular and comprehensive verification exercise to ensure that government arms in the hands of security personnel are not stolen or sold out to unauthorized persons by unscrupulous security agents.

Government should use diplomacy to increase and deepen its partnership with other states at regional, continental and international levels to reinvigorate its call for a legally binding international system that will be efficient in regulating, controlling and monitoring illicit trade in SALWS. Nigeria should work within the African Union (AU), ECOWAS and Lake Chad Basin regional bodies to regulate arms trade in Africa.

Health insecurity could be handled in different ways. Nigeria must understand that healthy people are a healthy nation and a healthy nation is indeed a strong nation. If we should sincerely wish to have and enjoy a healthy nation, government should ensure easy and cheap population access to healthcare services. To achieve this, government should invest more in the healthcare sector. It must ensure that more hospitals are built in the country particularly in the rural areas and equipped to reflect international standards. It should ensure adequate supply of relevant drugs and qualified staff and medical personnel. This will enhance cheap and accessible healthcare services nationwide.

The private and public partners should invest in human resource development in the area of training of more medical personnel to check insufficiency of personnel in the sector. This will prevent deaths caused by late attention or complete lack of attention to patients due to shortage of medical personnel. Government must ensure subsidized healthcare programs that will guarantee cheap healthcare services to the teeming poor populace. There is need to create  a routine disease surveillance system that will reduce deaths from communicable diseases, culminating from effects of natural disaster and ethno political conflicts, which have resulted to displacement of many citizens. Mostly affected by displacement are women and children. The children are also the most venerable to diseases like TB, Cholera, Diarrhea, Malaria and even malnutrition. These diseases can be checked if proper and early interventionist measures are put in place. Therefore, the main duty of mobile health workers in the local government areas should be will be to ensure early dictation and control of the spread of such disease through routine checks and provision of fast relief to victims in event of disease outbreak. Of course, government must ensure proper equipment of this unit to ensure and maintain duty thoroughness. Concerted multi-dimensional efforts geared towards increasing awareness on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the country and the need for protected sex outside marriage sticking to one sex partner or total abstinence cannot be over-emphasized. Anti retroviral drug for HIV/AIDS patients should be made available, accessible and free.

In the area of food security, government should increase its annual budget on agriculture. An increase in government investment in the agricultural sector will secure availability of funds to famers and assist them in accessing farming necessities like fertilizers, to increase production. There is need for capacity building that would focus on educating farmers on various farming skills and areas, research and development. Training and retaining of famers on the use of modern farming equipments as well as ways to improve and increase animal and crop yield as well as diseases management is pressing. The need for the procurement and provision of modern agricultural equipments by the government on behalf of the farmers as a way of ensuring subsidized food prices in the markets and also to help them increase their production cannot be neglected. These measures to facilitate the transformation of the agricultural sector must be taken seriously to ensure success. There is increased need to ensure emphasis on the construction of and integration of irrigation system into the agricultural system to curb the over reliance on natural rainfall as the only source of water to our farmer.

To ensure food security, agricultural policies should be such that they do not create unnecessary barriers to agricultural development. Policies that promote monopolistic competition for large-scale industries hurt the cottage and small industries and therefore should be jettisoned. Hence, increasing food security in Nigeria entails enduring policy strategies and implementation for sustainable agriculture.

Finally, the dilemma of environmental insecurity has created a growing sense of urgency globally on what to do about it and Nigeria cannot exclude itself from this. Saving the planet cannot be dismissed as the task of government only. All of us can play a part by making simple environmental-friendly adaptation to our lifestyle. We need to be conscious of how not to cause unnecessary emissions. However, stringent environmental industrial control policies would help reduce the output of sulphur dioxide gasses in the country. A National Climate Change Response Strategy for Nigeria (NCCRSN) should be evolved to address issues identified as priorities in dealing with climate change in the country. We must be willing to learn from other international experiences and identify international best practices towards environmental management.


Recommendation(s):

• The three most crucial parts of dealing with Boko Haram are restricting, managing the consequences of violence, and engaging in dialogue. However, if the dialogue fails, the government should employ diplomacy through other measures to end Boko Haram’s activities.
• In most of the afflicted areas, government and Islamic authorities should work with social, political, and other religious leaders and stakeholders to assist in identifying members of the sect who reside among them and facilitate their arrest and punishment.
• The National Orientation Agency should be reformed by the government to be more proactive in terms of strategic security awareness, strategic security consciousness, and crime prevention.


About the Author(s):

-Ani, Kelechi Johnmary – Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi State

-Chijioke Francis Onyebukwa – North West University South Africa Mafikeng Campus

Source: Research Gate

Keywords: Book haram, Policymakers, Terrorism, Poverty

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