Last week I travelled by road to Akwa Ibom and Minna. After I made up my mind to travel, the stories of insecurity became seemingly loud and all around. It was not funny at all. I had planned to travel with my aunt, but when I asked her again, she said, ‘’my spirit is telling me not to travel.’’ Usually, when a believer in Christ says this, they mean the Holy Spirit advises them not to travel. In my mind, I said ah!!!… What does this mean for me now? Does it mean that something terrible will happen on the way? Knowing full well I don’t want to die now, I became afraid.
The next day, while watering the garden, I overheard my neighbours talking. One said to the other, ‘’did you see the killings at so and so place? It was terrible. If you see the body parts scattered on the ground and blood all over you would fear’’. That talk alone was enough to cripple me with fear. Everyone I told I was travelling showed deep concern and asked to be careful sharing guides on how to travel safe The security in the country is in a terrible state, and this is not news.
It is so sad and heartbreaking that the level of insecurity increases by the day. When lives lost daily from kidnappings, attacks (like the recent killings in Benue State where they killed over 70 people within two weeks), terrorist activities, and raping of women causes many issues to arise. The lack of security for people and properties poses a threat to the overall Gross Domestic Product of the country.
Dr Muda Yusuf, the Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), showed concern at the increased level of insecurity in the country when invited on Channels. He stated that insecurity affects trading activities, an important aspect of the economy. His concerns were primarily about the rate of companies closing down outlets in the country due to the poor state of security.
INSECURITY AFFECTS THE NIGERIAN ECONOMY IN MANY WAYS
DISRUPTION OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES
In areas where there is high insecurity in Nigeria, economic activities have been reduced or temporarily halted, especially in the Northern part of the country. No one wants to set up businesses or invest in a place where they feel like their business wouldn’t make returns on the initial investment. There is the possibility that it could be the next burnt down structure in the area. No one wants that. In cities like this, economic activities reduce, leaving such places undeveloped. When left undeveloped, it means fewer job opportunities for the occupants of that area. When there are no jobs, there are no salaries. The overall GDP ends up reduced because there is no money to spend on goods.
POLICE BRUTALITY AND MANHANDLING OF CITIZENS
We saw it with our own eyes in the most recent arrest of 40 peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll-gate alongside the famous comedian Mr Macaroni. The Nigerian Police were adamant about exercising their authority on peaceful protesters than securing the citizens from thugs and kidnappers. When the people endowed with the responsibility to protect our lives are not afraid to brutalize and even kill us, we live in fear of expressing themselves as citizens and exercising their rights.
MASS EMIGRATION TO WESTERN COUNTRIES
When citizens feel there is no hope for the success that they want in their country, they look for different ways to ‘’Japa’’ (pidgin for move or in this case migrate). The level of insecurity and the negative impact on economic activities has left citizens in search of a better quality of life. This definitely affects the GDP. That is when a brilliant person leaves the country to contribute to the growth of other countries it leaves us at a loss. Who then would contribute to our growth and development as a country?
DECREASE IN FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT (FDI)
When there is a weak and ineffective government response to security challenges, the confidence investors have in Nigeria can reduce. When there is insecurity due to terrorist attacks and more, there would be less foreign investment. It can lead to a reduction in economic activities in a country. According to the World Bank Data, the Foreign Direct Investment (% of GDP) as of 2019 was 0.7. If a country routinely receives FDI that exceeds 5-6% of its yearly GDP, it is a significant success. However, Nigeria’s FDI is a lot less than that, which means we need more FDI to boost the country’s GDP.
THE SURVIVAL INSTINCTS AT PLAY
The insecurity in Nigeria has reduced public confidence in the government. Citizens are afraid to move around freely in their own country. Therefore, many business opportunities are lost. Like me, people tend to panic because security operatives seem unable to resolve the problem. With the rampant kidnappings on highways in the country, many roads have become no-go areas. The inability to travel freely reduces productivity which will, in turn, affect the GDP negatively.
SOLUTIONS TO INSECURITY
It is not enough to know how deep we are into the issues of insecurity in the country. It is crucial to proffer possible solutions to reduce the effect as the Problem solvers that we are;
STOP BEING IN DENIAL
We do ourselves harm when we (especially leaders) refuse to accept the extent of insecurity that plagues the country. Yes, I say plague because it is just like a plague. We first have to admit that the situation is critical and have the federal government declare it a national emergency. This way, it becomes seen as the national problem that it is. Once we know we have a fundamental problem, then we can seek solutions.
CEASE ALL FORMS OF POLITICAL TACTICS
This mostly has to do with the government and politics. Believe it or not, politicians are at fault for the insecurity, whether religious or ethnic. It is a fight for territorial control behind some of these activities. Do not forget the Lekki toll gate massacre. Also, the use of thugs during the End Sars protest for political gain. Politicians must see the need to cease this activity.
PROVISION OF AVENUES FOR SELF-ACTUALIZATION
The government must provide policies to create sustainable structures and credit facilities. Concrete policies in this area will help citizens express themselves and their creativity in the best way possible. This way, regardless of your background, you can do what you love and are passionate about and find happiness and fulfilment. The benefits are a lot because and summarily reduce criminal thoughts and tendencies drastically.
I highly suspect that a gross lack of education and enlightenment are some reasons why Nigeria remains ungovernable. Security not reaching parts of the country can be correlated to the low labour force in the security industry and capacity for security studies. Nigeria does not have people enrolling in defence nor, is the appropriate investment made to advance security and make it safe for potentials in the country. Enlightenment and dedication to security studies and advancement will better the state of security in the country. The government will need to invest more in education to help build the basic foundations necessary for critical study and defence.
I hope we find a way out of this soon.
Last modified: May 27, 2021