Tuesday, 31.08.2021 - Abuja

Policy Debate Series -The Agora by YouPaD on Nigeria’s Security Quandary: A critical analysis Abuja’s Strategy and Response

In spite of the government’s efforts, the security challenges confronting Nigeria has continued to rise rather exponentially. Despite the huge funding of the security architecture, only marginal successes have been recorded as these security challenges continue to re-emerge, threatening the very fabric of the country’s national integration.

Citizens and communities across Nigeria have since embraced private security solutions and community policing in the face of fear, and anxiety. Several strong calls have emerged for the restructuring of the security architecture to incorporate state and/or regional policing structures for better management, as the present Abuja-centralized coordination has failed; and for a rethink of the strategic deployment of the available security, workforce to meet the emerging security needs of the country.

Insecurity appears to have worsened in recent times. In the northeast, the Boko haram insurgency has taken a new dimension due to the recent alignment of the terrorist group with the Islamic State's West Africa Province (ISWAP). ISWAP has embraced a new strategy of creating a reliable ecosystem in which they exert control and strong influence over the economy, justice, education, and security, including taxation of local communities. In the northwest, criminals decorated as bandits, have resorted to the kidnapping of citizens especially school children, making alarming ransom demands and operating with little or no resistance. Several schools have now been closed while the conflict between farmers and herders has evolved from the North-central region into other parts of the country. While massive numbers of Boko Haram terrorists have surrendered to the Nigerian military as reported, insecurity in the north has not decreased.

In the southeast and southwest, there is a revived secessionist movement driven by decades of unaddressed structural injustice and social exclusion (for the Southeast) but exacerbated by the unchecked activities of criminals masked as killer-herders and unknown gunmen. Attacks and/or threats of attacks on oil infrastructures in the Niger_Delta region, and on security formations and correctional facilities have continued to rise.  The illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons has increased and it would appear that bandits have acquired the capability to shot down Military fighter jets. Clearly, extremists are taking advantage of old and new local conflicts and insecurities to carry out criminal activities, thereby spreading fear.

In spite of the government’s efforts and despite the huge funding of the security architecture, Only marginal successes have been recorded as the security challenges confronting Nigeria has continued to re-emerge and rise rather exponentially, threatening the very fabric of the country’s national integration.

This was why the second edition of The Agora by YouPaD Policy dialogue series, organized by Young Professionals in Policy and Development (YouPaD) with support from Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Nigeria, focused on critically analyzing the Federal Government strategy and response towards the security challenges in Nigeria.

The intergenerational and interdisciplinary forum brought together about 40 young professionals and experts drawn from the development space, government, media, security forces, and private sector who examined the insecurity challenges bedevilling Nigeria, evaluated government’s responses and/or strategies and their effectiveness towards addressing insecurity and proposed new action lines for improved security across the country.

Some of the new action lines proposed were

  • A reconfiguration of the overtly centralised and unitarised security architecture that is now overwhelming and clearly struggling to provide security in a supposedly federal structure
  • An immediate call to rethink and refocus the conceptualisation and pursuit of national security to human security, by taking concrete steps to prioritise and right-size the deployment of available national resources to address the vulnerability of marginalised groups, especially the poor in vulnerable and isolated communities.

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