Insecurity in the country which used to be one of the lowest concerns in the hierarchy of Nigeria’s social problems has now assumed an alarming proportion. A time most Nigerians thought that corruption and power failure is a major challenge that needs to be confronted, insecurity in the country has taken the centre stage.
Sadly, the socio-political and economic landscape in Nigeria has been blighted by the endemic twin evil of crime and violence. Poverty, unemployment and inequitable distribution of wealth have led to agitation and violent crimes against the Nigerian state by some individuals and groups. More worrisome is the fact that militancy, kidnapping, bombing, armed robbery, destruction of government properties, among others have become the order of the day.
The cost of life and material resources lost to insecurity in the last few years in the country is unquantifiable. Between 2009 and 2012, about 2,800 lives had been lost to militia insurgency; within the first nine months in 2012, 815 people were killed in 275 suspected attacks, and more than 60 police stations were attacked in 10 northern states, excluding the bombed police headquarters in Abuja, according to Human Rights Watch, a security monitoring agency. This is besides the data base of orphans and widows caused by the rampaging sects which has grown hugely.
Recent survey show that a lot of students are not interested in participating in the mandatory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme if posted to the northern part of the country. Those who were inadvertently posted to the north think of redeploying immediately after three weeks of mandatory camping. This development defeats the core mandate of setting up the Act of NYSC in 1973.
The growth of foreign direct investment in tourism sector had been adversely affected as some immigration departments of countries in Europe and America have issued warnings to their citizens who wish to visit Nigeria to be aware of the security problem in the country.
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in its Business Environment Report said that many firms in the country have lost 30 per cent of their sales because of insecurity in the north, which denied them access to the region. The report, which was prepared in the second quarter of 2014, stated that manufacturing firms sourcing raw materials from the North are now facing serious challenges, while projects funded by banks in the affected states are at risk.
According to the report, the hospitality industry in the affected states have been paralysed just as many investors, especially small and medium enterprises are relocating to other states.
While the cost of insecurity is visible with the percentage of annual budget allocated to security agencies on yearly basis, infrastructure, capital expenditure and human capital development are affected.
The presence of insecurity in any environment constitutes threat to lives and properties, hinders business activities, and discourages local and foreign investors, all of which stifles and retards socio-economic development of a country. This rising wave has not abated but has assumed a dangerous dimension which is even threatening the corporate existence of the country as one geographical entity.
The elimination of these threats, we believe, should be the number one goal of governments in Nigeria at all levels as the country cannot achieve any significant development amidst insecurity and violence.
Government must be proactive in dealing with security issues and threats, through modern methods of intelligence gathering, and intelligence sharing, training, logistics, motivation, and deploying advanced technology in managing security challenges.
The real panacea for solving insecurity challenge in Nigeria is for government to accelerate the pace of development. Development in this context consists of creating an economy with relevant social, economic and physical infrastructure for business operations and industrial growth, to provide gainful employment, high level of educational facilities, and medical care for the people.
Governments at all levels should ensure that rising poverty indices are reversed and a realistic social security programme is pursued and systematically implemented to ensure that the populace meets their basic needs