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The Challenges of Insecurity in Nigeria: The Way Forward

Updated on August 22, 2017
Odewoye Francis profile image

Odewoye,Graduate Electrical Engineering,Registered member, Engineering Council U.K,Registered member(COREN) Nigeria. Professional Engineer.


The protection of citizen’s lives and property is, no doubt, a major constitutional duty of any reasonable government. Our experience as a Nation for many years now leaves much to be desired in the reality of that constitutional duty. Insecurity is now walking naked on our streets sending terror to the marrow of everyone.
Nigeria is rapidly becoming a theatre of the absurd, not a single day goes by without news of one sordid tale or another. In Nigeria, the obnoxious or awkward does not rain. It pours! Nothing is news in Nigeria anymore. Nigerians have sadly developed a thick skin of bad news. Nothing shocks Nigerians anymore, according to the late cerebral journalist, Dele Giwa, Nigerians have been shocked to the level of “un-shockability.”
Nobody is in doubt that cultism, rape and pedophilic activities are very prevalent in Nigeria and constitute a real menace. But it becomes particularly worrisome when leaders both spiritual and temporal indulge and actively promotes the very evil they are supposed to fight against.

1. Concept of insecurity:

Onyemaizu (2006) view insecurity as the beach of peace and security, whether historical, religious, ethnic-regional, civil, social, economic and political that have contributed to the recurring conflict.
According to Abraham (1942), insecurity is a feeling of general unease or nervousness that may be triggered by perceiving of oneself to be vulnerability or instability which threatens one’s image.

Boko Haram Members
Boko Haram Members

2. Manifestations of Insecurity in Nigeria:

There are various manifestations of insecurity in Nigeria.

1. Ethno-Religious conflict:

Communal and societal conflicts have emerged as a result of new and particularistic forms of political consciousness and identity often structured around Ethno-religious conflicts have assumed alarming rate in Nigeria.

The groups and communities who had over the years lived together in peace and harmony now take up arms against each other in gruesome “war”. The claim over scarce resources, power, land, chieftaincy, local government councils, control of markets,”Osu caste system” and Boko Haram among other trivial issues have resulted in large scale killing and violence amongst the group in Nigeria.

The terror launched on the United Nation building in Abuja, St. Theresa’s Catholic Church Madala, many other churches, mosques, communities civic centres, motor parks etc. confront with the reality of our helplessness in the face of Boko Haram insurgent.

It is no longer uncommon of Nigerians and the entire world to wake up to hear that tens of human lives have been sent to the world beyond, while those in whose custody rests the coercive power of state watch helplessly only to shamelessly claim to be on top of the situation after some time.

2. Political Based Violence:

Politics in the current civil dispensation like the previous republic have displayed politics of anxiety which has played down on dialogue negotiation and consensus, the anxiety is a result of the loss of power by an elite stratum.

Political violence poses a serious threat to the legitimacy of the state and federal elections that always take place in Nigeria. Hundreds of people have been killed as a result of political violence in Nigeria, and thousands displaced. Not all of this violence can be directly linked to the elections, but the heightened tensionated by competition for public office has exacerbated existing conflicts and created new ones.
The complete impunity for their actions both from the official law enforcement bodies and from their own political parties is what the perpetrators of violence and their sponsors often enjoyed.

3. Kidnapping:

The most glaring and painful index of the failure of the Nigerian state is the recurrent bloodbath carried out by an Islamic sect, Boko Haram. The mindless decimation of the population by Boko Haram, Kidnappers and abductors fearlessly insist on ransoms before their captives are liberated.

The terrorism and insecurity took a new dimension with the kidnapping of over 200 female students from Chibok village in Borno State. This singular madness has attracted the attention of the global community not only because of the girls involved but also because of the dimension it takes. The big question now is in the face of all these who can be saved. Where or who is the next target? Or what level of insecurity do we still expect?
The activities of these two groups in addition to the spate of armed robbery and assassination in the country gradually make the Nigerian state to look like the Hobbesian state of nature, which is nasty and brutish, and in which life is short.

Nigerian Police
Nigerian Police

3. Causes of Insecurity in Nigeria:

1. Improper funding of security agencies:

The improper funding of the police and other security agencies is the major cause of insecurity question in Nigeria. This cause sterns from the fact that there are inadequacies in the security agencies, modern communication equipment, sophisticated arms and ammunition so that the security agencies will be able to contain these criminal gangs. Also the allowances and salaries of these security agencies are hardly paid; their welfare is nothing to write home about.

2. High rate of unemployment:

As a result of high rate of unemployment graduates without jobs have gone a lot of mental torture in the process of securing job and in the process they have been involved in all sorts of fiscal indiscipline and corruption and other social vices.
A band of well-educated youth roaming the streets without jobs is to unleash on the nation an army of terribly frustrated, energetic individuals from whose rank and file rubble-rousers can get ready recruits to frustrate the nation’s security system.

3. Inadequate personnel:

Inadequate personnel are another factor that promotes insecurity in Nigeria. The international institution for strategies studies as cited captures this when he posited that the police-population ration in Nigeria is 1:450. A minimum citizen ought to have easy access to the police and feel safe as a result of the protection they offer, yet Nigeria has failed to meet the standard set by the United Nations for effective policing.

4.Injustices at inter-personal and community levels :

There is no gainsaying the fact that there are injustices everywhere in our country and every aspect of our national life is affected. Admissions to colleges and universities, employment at federal and state levels, access to resources of the land as well as the dividends of democracy are all marred by great injustices.

There are also experiences of injustices at inter-personal and community levels such that everyone is touched directly. These injustices must be practically addressed so that we can all peacefully live together without anyone feeling cheated, ignored or unwanted.

5. The craze for wealth:

The craze for wealth is pushing so many people into what they would not have ordinarily imagined. The brag and flirtation with money by a few who have it is set so many people especially the young into thinking that money is everything. Thus, for them, the end justifies the means. As long as they too will be rich in money and oppress with it, they are ready to do anything including bringing their own blood to have it. This too increases the insecurity tension in the land.

Youths that are Jobless
Youths that are Jobless

4. The way forward:

1. Provision of jobs can greatly reduced insecurity:

Joblessness that characterizes our current situation as a nation leaves much to be desired in the good intentions of the government to fight insecurity. A hungry man, they say, is an angry man, and when there is anger it can be manifested in various ways including violent ones.Provision of jobs will permanently engage those who could be pushed to engaging in anti-social behaviours and will definitely curb youth restiveness. When people are gainfully employed, the level of insecurity will be greatly reduced.

2. Efforts must be made to bridge the existing gaps between the rich and the poor:

Efforts must be made to bridge the existing gaps between the rich and the poor, those who have and those who do not, the government and the governed! What connects us should be more emphasized rather than what differentiates us. When we de-emphasize our social differences, we shall be able to respect the image of God in each one of us. The closing of unnecessary gaps must begin within each family and from there to the larger society. The story of the good Samaritan (Luke. 10:29-37) should again speak to us so that we can make all efforts to be neighbours of one another.

3.All hands must be on deck to assist the National Orientation Agency:

The National Orientation Agency alone cannot achieve the desired re-orientation; all hands must be on deck. Religious leaders at all levels, parents, Guardians and all in the position of one authority or the other should consider this re-orientation their duty. The rebranding of our name, currency, flag or other paraphernalia will bring no chance if the heart is not branded with the fear of God and virtuous thoughts.

4. Turning to God in repentance and prayer:

I believe that turning to God in repentance, prayer and renewed commitment to doing things well is a condition sine qua non for fighting insecurity and other national problems. The sophistication of the instrument of fighting or the expertise of the various fighters is not what we need.

5. Our minds and hearts must be re-directed in Nigeria:

There is pieces of evidence to show that a lot of Nigerians are disoriented. The thought pattern of many has really changed and each day is bringing so many to the level of an ordinary beast. The bestiality in us is making us consider and wish everything to be mine. It is also responsible for the rate at which we take human life without any sense of remorse. It is only in the animal kingdom that the fittest survive! Among genuine human beings, everybody should ensure that everyone survives. Our minds and hearts must be re-directed!


In sum, if the fight against insecurity should be taken seriously, there is need to put an end to rhetoric and lip-service. Everyone should play well his or her own role, make necessary attitudinal adjustments and wage the war in the spirit of the living God who alone brings about the needed victory. While the efforts at various levels is appreciated and encouraged, the fear of God must be allowed to rule our hearts and not the love of money!

The wound we cause ourselves and others translate to the security crisis we now experience in our society. With God on our side and with some conscious positive efforts, our victory is assured.



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