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Growing insecurity in Nigeria raises economic concerns

In line with an earlier resolution, the House of Representative has beckoned on the President to declare a state of emergency on security nationwide.

For months, the nation has been thrown into panic as insecurity has become a recurrent event, and national or state security responses have proved ineffective in tackling the issue.

Increased killings by herders, kidnappings by bandits, terrorist attacks by extremist groups, and reprisal attacks by agitators for separatist resolution have turned the country into an unsafe haven for everyone.

Nigeria has so far endured continued attacks from three significant prongs: commercial-related crimes such as kidnappings, ritual killings and cyber-crimes, otherwise known as “yahoo-yahoo”; herdsmen attacks in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country, and agitators who attack military and police formation in a bid to avenge the killings of their fellow kinsmen by Northern foreigners.

These unwanted disturbances have led to the destruction of several state-owned and private properties, loss of lives, displacement of individuals from their homes and communities, disruption of economic activities, loss of economic potentials and revenues as well as capital flight.

Reports gathered have confirmed the economic luxury of the kidnapping business in Nigeria. It is believed that kidnappers now enjoy a highly syndicated chain of operation. Their activities now range from collecting heavy ransom from the families of their prey to sales and distribution of body parts from their slain victims.

Government efforts to decimate the activities of terrorists in the country have been met with half victories sometimes. Still, more experienced is the overrun of military might by these daredevils who many-a-times possess heavier warfare artillery than government-owned forces.

Nigerian’s dissatisfaction with the Federal Government’s scorecard in the war against insecurity in the country has led to an independent resolve among the worst-hit states to create their security outfits against their ravaging foes.

In the South East, the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) have formed their defence outfit called the Eastern Security Network (ESN). In the South West, “Amotekun” has been created as an independent security formation against banditry, kidnapping and herdsmen brutality. “Ebube Agu” in the South-Eastern part of the country is also in existence against insecurity.

So far, these independent outfits have made little progress in securing the lives and properties of their people and the fight against these evil perpetrators continue.

The escalating incidences of religious, tribal and political infractions coupled with other mass killings by extremists have cost Nigeria a lot in economic gains and potentials.

Many believe that a key factor that fuels price increases is an insurgency. As community dwellers forcefully flee their communities searching for safety, they populate other communities, thus increasing the stress on available resources. As relative scarcity of resources persists, prices rise accordingly.

Killings by insurgents and herders of farmers in the remote villages and farmlands also contribute to food scarcity as farmers are forced out of their farms for fear of their lives. With farming activity highly affected, food security becomes a threat, and prices of available food stock spike.

It is also believed that high inflation and unemployment caused by insurgency and insecurity can lead to the desperation of youngsters, and they become vulnerable to crime-related activities in a bid to survive. For this reason, the country experiences high crime rates by young persons, usually between the ages of 18 and 40.

If this trend is not addressed on time, Nigeria could face a labour force disorder in time, posing a severe threat to the country’s labour market structure.

Diaspora travel and investment to their homelands are affected by increased unrests and insecurity, particularly in the east. Many people who wish to travel home for business or family visits often stay put abroad to fear being kidnapped or killed. Several cases of ill-fated journeys by diasporas have been reported in the country so far.

Investors are now risk-averse towards funding business concerns in Nigeria. A growing number of established industries and banks are already folding up their branches in the most affected areas. Ultimately, revenue generation in these states will continue to thin out if the issue is not tackled appropriately.

More cases of capital flight are recorded, as businesses instead fund their enterprises elsewhere. Business partnership between the North and East has now been perennially injured as trust between the regions has been eroded due to incessant killings and reprisal attacks. Free flow of trade between the northerners and easterners has now become sabotaged by growing tensions between the duo, and each region must suffer the economic effect of the dilemma.

To roll back the tides of insecurity in Nigeria, the government must resolutely rid the country of the unscrupulous elements that sponsor and perpetuate the unwholesome acts. Furthermore, constitutional amendments that favour restructuring of Nigeria’s security architecture on the one hand, and fight corruption on another, must be pursued.

Equally important is the proper funding of security outfits, proper training for security personnel, provision of structures and incentives to boost our uniformed men’s morale and collaboration with state and local government in a joint task to tackle insecurity from an unmatchable angle going forward.

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