National Insecurity: Bane of Economic Growth and Development in Nigeria. Part 1

I will like to share with you an essay motivated by the 2015 annual essay competition of Bible Society of Nigeria.

Note that it is my opinion based on observation and research what can develop Nigerian economy based on biblical principles. I hope it inspires you, especially you, who will do something with it that will catapult Nigeria to the heights she can reach and should be.

Introduction

biblesociety-nigeria.org

biblesociety-nigeria.org

As far as defining national security goes, there is no singular universally acceptable definition [1]. The import of this is that national insecurity will have as many faces as the number of understanding there is on national security. National insecurity in the Nigerian context and its effect on growth and development does not have as much apparent complications as bedevils defining national security as such this essay will be concise and will dwell more on the path of discussion that leads to solutions rather than on purely describing the problem itself.

 

Defining National Insecurity: Terror Reviewed

To an average Nigerian, including the author, the most obvious form of national insecurity will be terrorism.

There is an understanding that will make the attempt at defining national insecurity much easier and also make the review of terror very elaborate within the scope of this discourse. The understanding is that at various point in the existence of animals and man and probably as far back as when there are independent group of nations, there have been first: territoriality and second: terrorism.

 

Territoriality

Territory and territoriality is first of all an instinctive concept. Animals consider a portion of land, pasture or space as theirs and likewise man. Territoriality is instinctive basically because it can safely be said “like animal like man”. This means if man does it and an animal can also do it even without being trained, such an action can be said to be as a result of instinct. It is also an instinctive concept because many territories exist today whose establishment did not follow a reasonable or logical process of creation. This position has been maintained by some individuals about Nigeria at some point in her existence whose nationality has been questioned because it is at best a multinational country whose member nations had no say in their merger. A name that stands out is that of Prof. Akin Oyebode, a professor of International Law and Jurisprudence who posited in an interview that the southern and northern protectorates were never involved neither did they agree nor formally consent to the decision that led to their amalgamation in 1914. [2]

Having described territoriality in this manner, it must also be said that the concept is what makes governance and responsibilities manageable, because by territoriality, the earth is set into boundaries and smaller, easily managed portions.

Emphasis must be put on the fact that territorial boundaries are primarily in the mind of a few individuals before it became physical walls, gates and barb wires recognizable by people both within and without the boundary.

Territoriality is ingrained by reason of commonness of language and history but has long been by reason of common ideologies which is one reason national security or territorial protection has become more difficult. National security or insecurity can no longer be maintained or avoided by reason of physical boundaries and armed forces because there is always a handshake across borders and territories whenever there is commonness of ideologies language or distance notwithstanding.

 

Terrorism

Terrorism is a superimposition of a culture on another with the aim of eradicating the native culture by the instrumentality of violence.

To describe the Nigerian situation using the above definition of terrorism, the popular security breach known to Nigerians can be described as a superimposition of an ideology, fundamentally religious, on a people of another ideology with the aim of eradicating what the people believe or eradicating the people with such beliefs, of course with the use of force.

In a global context it has led to genocides in various parts of the world. In the Nigerian context, there are examples leaning towards several form of genocides; ethnical or tribal and religious genocides. There is the example of a nomadic group being violently emphatic about its superiority over other ethnic groups as seen in the middle-belt; from Taraba to Plateau to Nassarawa down to Benue states. Few instances of this fatal clash have been witnessed in Oyo and Ogun states.

Other than the ideology of tribal superiority, pure tribal intolerance has also plagued Nigeria as a course of national insecurity. This can be exemplified in tribal clashes in Plateau and Nassarawa states. Even though this example is an issue of national security or insecurity it does not completely pass for an instance of terrorism. In this class also are several instances of land disputes leading to communal crises.

 

Insecurity and Development: Nehemiah Account

It must be true that terrorism has been in existent in various forms and degrees ever since the beginning of the concept of territoriality and each leader of every territory tends to prove the superiority of their own territory over others often with the show of force _ terror.

About 500BC there was an account that, if reasoned very well is comparative to the current reality in Nigeria and may also hold the key to growth and development of the country. It was an account of a Jew named Nehemiah and he told a story that will not be fully retold but the key instances relevant to the Nigerian situation and proffering solutions to her several challenges will be highlighted.

Nehemiah was not silent about what brought the crisis on them “We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses.” (Nehemiah Chapter 1 verse 7) and he described the externalities of the crisis “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.” (Nehemiah Chapter 1 verse 3).

The externalities of the crisis situation in 500BC Israel is not quite different from those obtainable in 2015AD Nigeria; infrastructures are broken down, many properties burned and over one million Nigerians are in exile in their own country that is, not taking to account several professionals who have the wherewithal to flee the country. It is not only people who are fleeing the country, investors are fleeing and likewise money. It is not unusual to see majority think people flee to pursue money or that workers are after money, but the converse is also true; money follows the people. An economic concept better left for a macro- and micro-economics treatise on capital flight.

There is possibility of many people in Nigeria and outside the country to be oblivious of what “trouble and shame” means as recorded in the Nehemiah account but that is what happens to victims of terror. One way to describe trouble is when a Borno indigene who was deployed to Jos for National Youth Service Corps said something that goes like “This is the first time in a long time that I will sleep with both my eyes and mind closed”. It was this same person who first identified a “small” bang as bomb blast and some corps members could not even hear the second “thud” in the twin bomb blast that rocked Jos on December 11, 2014. He could identify the “small” “thud” as bomb blast and he was correct at a distance of approximately 30 kilometers from the site of detonation. This person knows what it means to be troubled.

What form of shame has terror not caused Nigeria? There are kidnappings involving not only kids but also adults, rapes and missing persons in one class, blacklisting on various security councils and demoralization of armed forces leading to cowardice and mutinies in another class. Another class will also be delisting or not enlisting Nigeria as a trustworthy country on several virtual trade centers or options. An argument can be made against the last class being solely as a result of terror or insecurity but mainly as a result of corruption, but it will be strange to not see the insecurity foreign players must feel about having a Nigerian in a system they feel is secure or feign ignorance of how shameful the exclusion of Nigerians is. Being a member of the most populous black nation has long lost its prestige and several people will probably jump at the opportunity to dissociate themselves from the country. These are some faces of shame.

 

Insecurity and Development: The Plateau Experience.

photocredit: http://www.noa.gov.ng/

photocredit: http://www.noa.gov.ng/

There is a place in Nigeria that looks like the description of Israel in terms of agriculture. It may also be a place surrounded by hills as hills surrounds Jerusalem. It is the Plateau state of Nigeria. It can almost look extraordinary to see a place where when it is season for each of the fruit type, the trees fruit together, and so much that the trees are burdened and they also ripe together. The land supports agriculture and the weather supports even several fruits and crops that are only native to temperate and Mediterranean regions of the world. There is abundance.

The state has all it takes to flourish in the same way agriculture flourished in Israel without the challenges there. This is what happens though: “The Midianite Phenomenon”. (Judges Chapter 6.)

The earth brings increase but those who sow are not at liberty to reap as they desire. Farmlands that are too far from the main towns were deserted because of insecurity. The marauders do not care for the crops neither do they care about the life of the farmers, they harass and kill the farmers without provocation and destroy crops for the fun of it. This is the way other members of the nation are being killed and the nation’s development pegged: Most people do not know that Plateau state supplies most of the Irish potatoes eaten in the country and a good percentage of the carrots, cucumbers, cabbages, broccoli and several other vegetables and what goes on there determines the cost and availability of these food items. It appears that many people only noticed that these items are expensive and scarce in their localities but they are uncertain about the cause. The cause is simply that, farmers are afraid to go to distant farms because of insecurity and threat to their lives. Simply because of threat in Plateau state, an aboki’s business in the South-West is failing and many cooks and chefs had to become unnecessarily creative with their recipes and of course, many farmers became incapacitated in several ways; they lost their means of livelihood, became used-to-haves and lost their prestige.

Continues

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By | 2017-06-23T09:41:07+00:00 January 6th, 2016|Uncategorized|

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