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Is Nigeria falling apart – Bloomberg

When Muhammadu Buhari came to power in Nigeria in 2015, he pledged to end the insecurity that plagued the country’s northeast as a result of a jihadist rebellion by Boko Haram.

Six years later, the insurgency is still going on and rampant criminality also made large parts of the northwest too dangerous to travel.

In the southeast, where the Biafran civil war was fought from 1967 to 1970, new unrest may be brewing.

Africa’s most populous nation is in turmoil and Buhari’s government is ill-equipped to deal with it.

Years of economic malaise and security forces that do little to enforce the law have driven up crime rates, leaving many of Nigeria’s 200 million citizens vulnerable.

With unemployment at 33% and high inflation, “there are very few legitimate economic opportunities, people are going to turn to crime,” said Adedayo Ademuwagun, a Lagos-based analyst at political risk firm Songhai Advisory.

The role of security forces in Nigeria “is mainly to ensure that the political regime is protected,” he said.

Just this year, some 700 students have been kidnapped for ransom in the northwest.

Jihadist attacks continue in the northeast, herders and pastoralists are clashing in the central belt and the waters of the Gulf of Guinea are among the world’s most dangerous because of piracy. Even parts of the oil-rich south are restless.

While the poor economic conditions and deteriorating insecurity are intertwined, the president may find that the financial well-being of his country is dependent on the safety of his citizens.

 

By Anthony Sguazzin, Bloomberg

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