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Nigeria's Security Challenges and the Crisis of Development: Towards a New Framework for Analysis

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This paper develops a new approach towards understanding and explaining the causes behind the prevailing level of insecurity in Nigeria today. Today, the country is in the grip of various destructive forces that are coalescing to give it a failed-status toga. The paper shows that the current state of insecurity is a manifestation of deep-rooted and structurally entrenched crisis of development that creates the environment for the emergence of conditions of poverty, unemployment, and inequality in the country. These, in turn, lead to frustration, alienation and, ultimately, social discontent that spark violence and insecurity. Without the enabling environment, these conditions could not have metamorphosed into serious national security problems threatening to tear the country apart. The findings of the paper show that although Nigeria may appear to be failing, the trends leading to this situation are reversible, if seriously proactive and sustained measures could be adopted by the government and the international community. The implication of this is that policymakers have the duty to arrest this drift through social justice and development. Thus, to address the security problem in Nigeria is in effect, to address its crisis of development.
International Journal of Developing Societies
Vol. 1, No. 3, 2012, 107-116
ISSN 2168-1783 Print/ ISSN 2168-1791Online
© 2012 World Scholars
Nigeria’s Security Challenges and the Crisis of Development: Towards a New
Framework for Analysis
Aliyu Mukhtar Katsina*
Department of Political Science, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This paper develops a new approach towards understanding and explaining the causes behind the prevailing
level of insecurity in Nigeria today. Today, the country is in the grip of various destructive forces that are
coalescing to give it a failed-status toga. The paper shows that the current state of insecurity is a
manifestation of deep-rooted and structurally entrenched crisis of development that creates the environment
for the emergence of conditions of poverty, unemployment, and inequality in the country. These, in turn, lead
to frustration, alienation and, ultimately, social discontent that spark violence and insecurity. Without the
enabling environment, these conditions could not have metamorphosed into serious national security
problems threatening to tear the country apart. The findings of the paper show that although Nigeria may
appear to be failing, the trends leading to this situation are reversible, if seriously proactive and sustained
measures could be adopted by the government and the international community. The implication of this is
that policymakers have the duty to arrest this drift through social justice and development. Thus, to address
the security problem in Nigeria is in effect, to address its crisis of development.
Keywords: development, security, poverty, unemployment, inequality, conflict, violence
Introduction
The quest for stability and development is, without
doubt, the Holy Grail for many third world
countries; a never ending, tedious, yet elusive,
search for that condition under which these
countries would be able to develop institutions and
structures with the capacity to ensure economic
growth, equitable distribution of national wealth,
political stability and accountability. As daunting
as these may appear, still it is possible to argue that
there is a certain level which all countries,
developing and even those that are de-developing,
aspire to reach. Each country aspires to a high
quality of life for its citizenry, strong and
diversified economic base, internal cohesion and
political stability. How and to what level these
aspirations are attained depend on a number of
factors, mostly internal. For one, resources, both
natural and human are critical. But the ability to
harness these and to utilize them for the common
good is principally the domain of technological
expertise, administrative capacity as well as
political leadership. Consequently, a strong,
accountable leadership is necessary. Not many
countries, however, have these in abundance
especially in Africa. A closely related question for
these countries is that of national security defined,
both, in terms of their capability to defend their
territorial integrity, and more importantly, to ensure
internal peace and stability.
*Email: amkatsina@gmail.com
To do this successfully, however, requires
reduction of threats, actual and potential, that are
capable of generating insecurity for the country
such as poverty, unemployment, and inequality. It
is needless to point that this cannot be realized
without development in which these challenges are
tackled and properly addressed. Thus, caught in
this inextricable tango, the fundamental challenge
for the third world countries is simply this: security
defined in terms of national development. It is as
futile as chasing a shadow for them, to talk of
internal security without a corresponding reflection
on the question of national development.
For many African countries, this dilemma is
even more acute and pronounced. Faced with a
growing increase in population explosion
(Ogunleye-Adetona, 2010), and a corresponding
decrease in economic productivity and political
accountability, occasioned by many years of higher
level political corruption, bad governance, weak
institutions and absence of the wherewithal to
transform their human and material resources, these
countries turned into veritable incubation centers
for the emergence of violent anti-state groups
whose deriving ideology, it would seem, is
antagonism against their states (Stern & Ojendal,
2010). This ideology, to a greater part, is fuelled by
years of the state’s neglect and or failure to
transform the aspirations of its people for
meaningful, purposeful and qualitative life. As a
result, de-legitimization process for many of them
crept in whereby group loyalty, tribal and or
religious, compete with state loyalty on one hand,
and on the other hand, albeit the extreme one,
108 A. M. Katsina
crime, violence, anarchy, and lawlessness
challenge the state’s continued cohesion, stability,
and territorial integrity.
The objective of this paper is to provide an
introductory framework for analysis on the
deteriorating level of insecurity in Nigeria over the
last ten years. The choice of Nigeria as a case study
is informed by at least two major considerations.
One, Nigeria is the most populous country in
Africa (Ucha, 2010). Consequently, its security is a
matter of vital strategic interest to other African
countries. For indeed, the collapse of instruments
of governance in the country will have larger
regional security implication for the continent than,
say Benin Republic. Two, the repeated failure of
the country over the last fifty years to harness and
transform its vast human and material resources is a
challenge that continues to mystify many. Richly
endowed with human and material resources,
Nigeria provides an excellent example of how a
promising third world country, could through years
of political corruption, mismanagement, and poor
political institutions, transit from developing to an
under-developing and then a de-developing
country. In building this framework, this paper
integrates the concepts of development and security
and shows that in the ultimate, level of national
development determines the level of security of a
country at any particular time. To illustrate this, the
paper proceeds from the view that there is a
connection between the concept of national
development and national security in which these
critical development indicators: poverty, inequality
and unemployment level of a country determine its
internal security condition. The paper starts with a
review of the concepts of development and security
where it establishes the nexus between them and
proceeds with an analysis of the three important
variables of underdevelopment in Nigeria, namely,
poverty, inequality and unemployment.
Understanding Development
Development is a relative and mostly contested
concept (Hettne, 2010). Nevertheless, it is possible
to arrive at some specific indicators of development
that are widely acceptable. For instance, it is easy
to argue that every human society aspires to strong,
efficient and dynamic economic and political
institutions that anticipate the yearnings of their
people and respond to them accordingly and
promptly. It is also possible to argue that in every
society there are minimum expectations which all
members share. These include access to functional
health facilities, access to safe drinking water,
universal qualitative education, and equal
opportunity for all members in public affairs where
competition based on merit is upheld over and
above other considerations. All these are universal
values that transcend cultural and political
boundaries. Thus, if there is anything actually
relative about our conception of development that
may largely be because of perspectives from which
one chooses to understand it. This is why students
so often try to isolate the elements of national
development and talk of them as individual topics.
Thus, one hears about cultural, social, economic,
political, and even religious development as if it is
possible to provide a proper analysis of
development without integrating these and
considering development from a holistic
perspective. For instance, Gopinath (2008, p. 91)
argues that development can only be measured in
monetary terms, and consequently, a developing
country is one in which “there is a significant
potential to raise the per capita standard of living”
of its people. This, no doubt, is the hangover from
the intellectual segregation that dominates
developmental literature in the 1960s and 1970s
when most models of development drew their
theoretical sustenance from classical economics. In
that conception, economic growth was equated
with development and was generally considered as
the fundamental objective of the decolonized states
of Asia and Africa (Peshkin & Cohen, 1967, p. 11;
Salmen, 1991, p. 295).
Even in these isolationist conceptions, it is
possible to discern an overriding understanding in
which the notion of a qualitative transformation
occurs in space and time through the trickle-down
effect. Therefore, development is no more than a
description of a particular state or physical
condition in which there is a corresponding
progress in both the physical growth and maturity
of a particular object. Applied to human societies,
development simply refers to a state, condition or
stage, which entails positive transformation in both
quantity and quality of life for all members of a
particular society. Where there is corresponding
decline or retrogression in the quality of life for a
significant portion of the population, we describe
that as the state of under-development (Rodney,
1972). In effect, development and under-
development connotes a relational state in which
one mirrors the exact absence of the other.
Mirakhor and Askari (2010, p. 1) write that
development means “quantitative growth,
qualitative improvement, and expansion in the
capabilities, capacities, and choices of individuals,
groups or states”. Similarly, Tisdell (1988) writes
that development is “the modification of the bio-
sphere and the application of human, financial,
living and non-living resources to satisfy human
needs and improve the quality of life”. A distinct
thread that permeates these conceptions of
development concerns the recognition that
improvement on the quality of life of all members
of human society is the fundamental objective as
well as the primary goal of development. The point
here is the emphasis on empowerment and skill
International Journal of Developing Societies 109
building among members of the society to be able
to transform their living conditions. The best,
succinct, and analytical conception on development
remains that given by Dudley Seers who raises
fundamental socio-economic and political
questions in his definition and seeks to relate them
to human development. According to Seers (1972,
p. 124):
The questions to ask about a country’s
development are… What has been happening to
poverty? What has been happening to
unemployment? What has been happening to
inequality? If all three of these have declined from
higher levels, then beyond doubt this has been a
period of development for the country concerned. If
one or two of these problems have been growing
worse, especially if all three have, it would be
strange to call the result ‘development,’ even, if
per capita income doubled.
The emphasis, thus, is on the individual as the
integral member of the community; the object of
any transformation, not on economic growth based
on abstract statistics. It is the position of this paper
that this conception of development provides an
excellent analytical framework from which a
proper explanation on the relationship between
development and security can be carried.
Instructively, the three indicators, as provided by
Seers, form the basis upon which this paper
proceeds with its analysis.
Explaining Security
What constitutes security in modern times is a
question that has never been answered satisfactorily
by scholars. Its perception even within one
community varies in time (Ejogba, 2006, p. 305).
For instance, until recently, most of the mainstream
writings on security studies literally defined it in
terms of a state’s capabilities to defend its territorial
integrity from threats, actual and imagined, as well
as acts of aggression from other potential enemies
(Okwori, 1995, p. 20). To this end, states build and
equip armed forces towards achieving this goal. The
main assumption of this conception is that threat of
violence, and the actual ability to commit violence
by a state, against an enemy successfully deters
threats and aggression (Rouke, 2005, p. 308; Alabi,
1997, p. 129). At the domestic level, the belief is that
internal law-enforcement agencies and other
instruments of domestic intelligence are all that is
required for a state to be secured.
There is however, an evident shift on what
actually constitutes security in the post-Cold War
era. Presently, there is an attempt to broaden it to
accommodate other relevant, if not critical,
elements within this conception. Issues such as
economic development, equality, political
accountability and good-governance are now
regarded as fundamental to any comprehensive
understanding and explanation on the question of
security. Perhaps, this is because of the fact that the
conventional militaristic conception of security that
dominated the Cold War discourse proved
ineffectual and grossly incapable of meeting
security expectations among many countries. In
this new conception, human development is
considered as central (Hettne, 2010; Booth, 2007).
Thus, we see in this shift, a new and broader
conception in which security entails the capacity of
a state to defend itself from external threats with all
the necessary means at its disposal, and internal
threats through overall socio-economic well-being
of its citizenry (Absolute Astronomy, 2011;
Tedheke, 1998, p. 6). Here, there is a greater
recognition of the relevance of other elements such
as political, environmental, economic, and social
factors as irreducible components of security of any
country (Buzan & Hansen, 2009). Hettne (2010)
defines security “as a reasonable level of
predictability at different levels of the social system,
from local communities to the global level…” The
understanding here is that at the global level, there is
a presence of an order which is predicated upon the
predictability of the behavior of other members
within the system. At local level, security thus
includes the ability of the state to predict the likely
implication of any particular condition on its
citizens. The recognition lies squarely not on the
state’s ability to enforce law and order, though that
may be important, but in creating the necessary
socio-economic conditions that guarantees fair
amount of predictability on the behavior of its
citizens. For our purpose, we define security as a
state of reduced or contained threats and tension in
which the stability of a state is not in an imminent
danger of disruption from within and without.
Stability is here viewed as the order, regularity and
pattern, which characterized the state’s condition
over an extended period.
Development and Security: The Linkage
The linkage between development and security
usually takes one of the following two forms. It can
be preventive. Alternatively, it can be promotional
(Hettne, 2010). Preventive linkage means
prevention of the causes that generate conflict in
any particular human society, while promotional
linkage or what Hettne (2010) calls “provention”
refers to creating the conditions that generate peace
in the society by addressing the structural
imbalances in the socio-economic conditions of the
people, which traditionally are the sources of
conflict. In this case, the emphasis will be in
identifying and removing the root causes of
conflicts in the society such as inequality and mass
poverty. In trying to establish a clear nexus
between development and security, we need to
remember the impossibility of establishing peace
110 A. M. Katsina
and order in any society in which there exists
fundamental contradictions in its economic
structure. It is these contradictions, more often, in
the third world that provides the manure that
nurture and sustain feelings of alienation,
marginalization, frustration and resentment among
the poor class of the society, and which ultimately
translate into anger, radicalization and violence
(Oyeshola, 2005, p. 123). In those economies,
especially African, where a wide cleavage exists
between wealth and income distribution, and in
which as a result, poverty and unemployment
complement one another on the largest possible
scale, there is an evident propensity for the people,
especially youth to resort to means, other than
lawful and socially accepted, in satisfying their
basic needs. Thus, we see parallel to the decline in
productivity and equitable income distribution, a
corresponding increase in urban crimes such as
armed robbery, prostitution, drug peddling, touting,
kidnappings, and cultism in institutions of higher
learning.
For those countries, like Nigeria, where
economic crisis is more acute, and the state risks
failure of its institutions of governance, urban
crime usually takes secondary stage in relation to
the emergence of other violent anti-state groups
that seek to supplant the state in obtaining loyalty
from the people. The ensuing competition, often
violent and bloody, provides the most ample
evidence of how (under)development and
(in)security always complement each other in all
human societies. McNamara (Tedheke, 1998, pp. 6-
7) provides an excellent analysis of how
development is essentially synonymous with
security because “any country that seeks to achieve
adequate military security against the background
of acute food shortages, population explosion, low
level of productivity, fragile infrastructural base for
technological development, inadequate and
inefficient public utilities and chronic problem of
unemployment has false sense of security”.
Accordingly, any measure conceived by a state
towards addressing the problem of insecurity must
start with recognizing that “peace and order are
sine-quo-non for the development of any society”
(Ode, 2003, p. 136).
Underdevelopment and Insecurity in Nigeria:
The Three Variables
From national security perspective, it is possible to
make a number of deductions on Nigeria’s threat
analysis in the last decade. One, as a sovereign
territorial entity, Nigeria faces no existential threat
from any of its neighbors, as is the case with, say
India and Pakistan, North and South Korea, or Iraq
and Kuwait before the first Gulf War. In terms of
military and economic capabilities, the country
towers over and above all her neighbors in such a
way that declaration of open hostility is practically
impossible by any of the sub-Saharan countries.
Although, it has for decades, maintained a love-
hate relation with her eastern neighbor Cameroon
over a disputed territory, the dispute has been
eventually resolved by the International Court of
Justice, the Hague. Secondly, Nigeria has never
been, except during Murtala and Abacha
administrations, in an open altercation with any
world power strong enough to invade it. But even
those altercations with the United States, under
Murtala and Abacha, were in our opinion attempts
by Nigeria to assert its independence and
supremacy in Africa. Consequently, we can
describe them as a competition between an
established world super power and an emerging
continental power for supremacy and hegemony in
African affairs. Three, Nigeria’s position and the
respect it enjoys in the sub-Saharan Africa, akin to
big brother, make it impossible as well as immoral
to invade another country in the region. All its
military interventions, and they were many, in
foreign lands were sanctioned by international law.
All these make the argument strong that the major
sources of threats to Nigeria’s national security will
almost completely remain internal and predicated
upon socio-economic and political imbalances.
These challenges are structural and deeply
embedded in Nigeria’s socio-political and
economic institutions over the previous decades.
Challenges such as massive corruption, tribalism,
poverty, poor governance, near-zero industrial
bases, and a single-line economic sector are often
described as characteristics of developing
countries. While this may be true, it is important to
observe that in the case of Nigeria, these
characteristics have stayed very long for any
purposive drive towards national development.
Years of military rule, complemented with an
ineffective and corrupt bureaucracy have destroyed,
by the end of the last century, any semblance of
political accountability and people-oriented
leadership.
After 1999, there was a renewed hope and
optimism in Nigeria that socio-economic and
political challenges of development that have
impeded the country’s progress and development
would be addressed. A major reason for this
optimism was the inauguration of a new
democratically elected administration, the first in
about two decades (Maier, 2000, p. 65). Twelve
years after the first transition, and four general
elections, Nigeria’s case could be described as a
huge leap from bad to worse (Aniekwe & Kushie,
2011). Today, the country sits on the brink with the
brutal reality of state failure staring it in the face. In
this period, these aspirations, optimisms, and
yearnings that accompanied democracy have turned
into disillusion and disenchantment. This anger and
frustration is increasingly finding expression in
International Journal of Developing Societies 111
violent conflicts, inter and intra-tribal and religious,
armed groups engagement with the state, as well as
ever rising level of urban crimes and insecurity. In
fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that
progressively, the state has over the last decade,
lost its privileged monopoly of force application.
Groups such as Movement for the Emancipation of
the Niger Delta (MEND) in the South-South, Boko-
Haram in the Northeast, Odua People’s Congress
(OPC) in the West, Egbessu Boys in the East, and
armed robbers and kidnappers plying its highways
with impunity have all given Nigeria the toga of a
failing, if not failed, state in this century. To
understand how the country is reduced to this sad
spectacle is, in essence, to review the narrative of
its economic growth and development over the last
five decades. This will provide a framework within
which the evolution of all manner of internal
security threats will best be understood.
“The most pathetic feature of the Nigerian
society” argues Osinubi (2003), “is that a majority
of its members are living in a state of destitution
while the remaining relatively insignificant
minority, are living in affluence”. Is this because of
skewed economic resources, or could there be
another explanation? The explanation is political as
well as economic. It is economic as far as the fact is
concerned that Nigeria has not recorded any
substantial economic growth and development in
its fifty years of statehood. A remarkable testimony
of this is the rate of economic growth from 1965 to
1996, which fluctuated in the range of 0.1% with
an average per capita income of $790, which is far
below $1,060 average for West Africa (Ogunleye-
Adetona, 2010, p. 205). Endowed with enormous
resources, human and material, Nigeria has
consistently betrayed its inability, or probably lack
of readiness, to harness these rich resources for its
development. One of the top ten crude oil exporters
in the world, its economy centers around rent and
royalty from oil export with practically non-
existent industrial base, therefore its economy is a
mono-export oriented. In the period immediately
after independence, agriculture and oil earnings
accounted for 89% and 2.7% of all foreign
earnings. Presently, there is a role reversal in which
the agricultural sector, the main-stay of rural
economy, is practically killed and crude oil exports
accounts for over 90% of all foreign earnings by
the dawn of this century (Anonymous, 2002, p. 23).
The implication of this is quite clear. It leads to
dramatic increase in the urban poverty since most
of the unemployed and underemployed rural
dwellers migrate to urban centers in search of blue-
collar jobs providing a rich reservoir of unskilled
labor force (Osunubi, 2003). Meredith (2006, p.
580) summarizes the Nigerian socio-economic
condition as follows:
Despite an oil bonanza of $280 billion, the
economy was derelict; public services were
chronically inefficient; schools and hospitals were
decaying; higher education had virtually
collapsed; roads were pitted with potholes; the
telephone system hardly functioned. There were
frequent power cuts; even shortages of domestic
petroleum supplies. On average, Nigerians were
poorer in 2000 than they had been at the start of
the oil boom in the early 1970s. Income per head
at $310 was less than one-third of that in 1980.
Half of the population lived on less than 30 cents a
day; half of the population had no access to safe
drinking water. Almost one-fifth of children died
before their fifth birthday; nearly half of under-
fives were stunted because of poor malnutrition.
Millions of people lived in slums surrounded by
rotting mounds of garbage, without access to basic
amenities.
Based on the human development indices of
literacy level, access to safe drinking water and
health facilities, nutrition, infant and maternal
mortality rates, Nigeria was ranked by the World
Bank at the bottom twenty-five in 2009 with
countries such as Kenya, Zambia and Ghana ahead
of it (Khalid, 2009, p. 35). A similar report in 2010
by the National Bureau of Statistics concluded that
over 100 million Nigerians live in abject poverty
with less than $1 per day (BBC, 2012).
Instructively, these figures were obtained after the
waves of institutional and economic reforms
launched by the Obasanjo administration in the late
1999 and early 2000. One could imagine what the
figures would be if the reforms were not
undertaken at all. For instance, Nigeria’s
employment index increased from 163 in 2000 to
1867 in 2004 (Aigbokhan, 2008). The effect, which
this negative development has on the Nigerian
people, is best appreciated in the light of the
present level of insecurity prevailing in the country,
which arguably is because of the poor management
of its economic resources.
We have noted that an explanation on this state
of underdevelopment is both political and
economic. And we have seen how poor economic
development creates a class of poor and
disenchanted majority in the country. What is left
for us is to examine the political side of this
conundrum. Political development, defined in
terms of political accountability and strong and
efficient public institutions, is crucial for any
detailed study of law, order and development in a
third world country. This is because the nature of
the relationship between political and human
development is such that they are inextricably
linked. Where political development is
considerably mature with openness and
accountability, democratic ethos and principles are
bound to guide all process of decision-making and
general governance. In pluralistic societies such as
Nigeria, this is even more critical, for it provides
the necessary environment in which all manner of
112 A. M. Katsina
socio-cultural and religious tensions can be
resolved amicably. Thus, the nature of political
institutions and leadership, as well as its grasp of
social challenges, dynamism and responsiveness to
the aspirations of the people is directly related to
the kind of security atmosphere that prevails in the
country. If the political leadership proves corrupt
and unaccountable, democratic ethos will be
repressed and aspirations of the people will be
suppressed. In this environment, public interest is
subordinate to private political interests of the
governing elite. Ultimately, this always leads to a
climate of distrust, suspicion, fear and alienation in
which the repressed feelings of anger eventually
finds expression in violent outlets.
Political developments in Nigeria since
independence follows the traditional African trend
in which there seems to be an alternating role
between the civilian political elites and the military
political elites in governing majority of the African
states. As a result of this, it is easy to make few
inferences with regards to the pattern of power
acquisition and its (ab) use in these societies.
Generally, elite power politics define public affairs
at any point in time, and consequently the
disposition of the governing elites defines the
behavior of national politics at any period. But the
general practice however is one in which politics is
defined as a zero-sum game where the winner takes
all, rather than a clarion call to nation-building on
the principles of equality, tolerance, rule of law and
constitutionalism (Tar & Shettima, 2010, pp. 135-
136). In fact, the idea of constitutionalism to an
average African and especially Nigerian political
elite never extends beyond the belief that it is a
principle to be violated with impunity. This
situation makes democratic practices notoriously
difficult to implement (Fafchamps & Vicente,
2009).
In Nigeria, the return to civilian rule in 1999
succeeded to a level, never seen before in its
political history, in entrenching the culture of
impunity among the political class at all levels of
government in which corruption, outright looting of
public treasury, flagrant violation of constitutional
principles and provisions and violent competition
for political supremacy holds sway (Aniekwe &
Kushie, 2011, p. 18). Consequently, the greatest
implication of this situation, which the political
elites engender, besides promoting nepotism,
mediocrity, and corruption, also subverts the
democratic system, perpetrates electoral fraud,
fosters ethnic and religious cleavages in the country
for their own political ends, and generally, a sense
of aimlessness and confusion as to the exact
direction the country is heading. In effect, the
political class while concerning itself with
corruption fosters the necessary conditions that in
the end provoke the present security threats in the
country. In the succeeding sections, this essay
critically looks at three important variables that
define the nexus between development and security
in Nigeria. These are poverty, in equality and mass
unemployment. The idea, it is worth mentioning
here, is to show that these indicators are actually
the fundamental security threats which have
engender insecurity in the country today.
Poverty
As a social concept, poverty is often defined in
relative terms. This is because it is a situational
problem in which needs varies from one society to
another, or even within the same society over a
specific period. This creates a serious problem of
conceptualization as to which condition is exactly
the condition of poverty, who is a poor person and
what are the basic indices of measuring poverty in
any given society? Gopinath (2008, p. 103) defines
poverty from an individual’s perspective as the lack
of healthy food, clothing, and shelter. This
definition does not provide much in terms of
shedding light on a comprehensive meaning of
poverty. Aigbakhon (2008, p. 13) defines poverty
“as a state of long-term deprivation of well-being, a
situation considered inadequate for decent living”.
The problem with this definition is in determining
what is considered as a decent living for an average
person. Even without much of an emphasis, it is
certainly obvious that the idea of decent living has
significantly different connotations to an average
African from an average American. It is for this
reason that we shall narrow down our scope on
poverty to those necessities of life that are
applicable in all modern societies. These are access
to universal and qualitative education, safe drinking
water, affordable health care and sanitary facilities,
nutrition, shelter and clothing. Taking these as
indices of poverty is however not adequate. For
while in some societies, poor persons have access
to all these and therefore, take them for granted, in
other societies, these are luxuries that are obtained
by handful. Nevertheless, we consider poverty in
its broadest form to mean a situation where
majority members of a country lack access to these
indices that make their life distinguishable from
that of animals. Adelman (1986, p. 49) argues that
abject poverty is a level “so severe that it stunts the
attainment of human potential”. It is therefore the
view of this essay that the realization of these
indices leads to the attainment of human potentials.
Conversely, their absence among a great number of
persons affects their ability to realize their human
potentials.
As an introductory analytical framework, it is
important to note that this essay is severely limited
in its access to verifiable data on poverty and the
other indicators it intends to review in Nigeria. Its
postulations are therefore generic rather than
specific. It is however of the view that this does not
International Journal of Developing Societies 113
detract in any way the fundamental objective of the
essay. A study titled Growth, Inequality and
Poverty in Nigeria (2008) prepared for the United
Nations Economic Commission of Africa
(UNECA) by Prof. Aigbakon, points that poverty
level increased in Nigeria from 27.2% in 1980 to
65.6% in 1996, an increase of about 141.2%. In
absolute terms, the reports observes that the
number of poor rose from 67 million in 1996 to
68.7 million in 2004, with the urban poor
increasing to about 40% and the rural poor to about
60%. By 2010, it is believed that about 70% of
Nigerians live under $1 per day, no less than 92%
of the total population live on less than $2 per day
(CIA World Book, 2011; Ucha, 2010). These
figures generally represent the level of poverty in
Nigeria, but in reality, do not capture its depths. Its
depth can best be seen from the thousands of urban
slums that criss-crossed the country in which
millions live in infested conditions without access
to sanitary facilities, drinking water, medical care
or affordable education for their children. So
deplorable is the condition in terms of shelter for
example, a whole family of ten or more lives
cramped in a single room without ever hoping to
escape from the clutches of abject poverty. The
streets of urban areas provide another mirror that
captures the depth of poverty in Nigeria. On these
streets, children of school age hawk, young women
prostitute, young men peddle drugs and tout in
motor-parks, and the aged and physically
challenged beg for sustenance.
The question to ask at this stage is just how
dangerous are these figures to Nigeria’s stability,
peace, and progress? And how does poverty
explain insecurity? We cannot hope to answer this
question here, without first looking at the other two
indicators of development and security in Nigeria
namely, unemployment and inequality.
Unemployment
It is quite difficult to talk of poverty without talking
about unemployment. An explanation for this is the
fact that they reinforce each other. Thus, poverty
may be described as arising out of the lack of
gainful employment opportunities for members of
the society. In Nigeria, unemployment is one of the
most enduring social problems (Aigbakhon, 2010,
p. 14). Employment means the number of people
working for wages, in cash or in kind, in public and
private enterprises. This includes those that are
gainfully self-employed. On the other hand,
unemployment refers to the number of people,
skilled and unskilled, in any given political entity
without work. In talking about unemployment,
distinction is often made between those that are
unemployed and those that are unemployable.
Unemployed refers to skilled labor force that could
not find gainful employment opportunities, while
unemployable refers to those, who lacking in the
necessary skills, cannot find jobs. In the long run,
this distinction became moot, for both instances
point to a fundamental failure on the part of the
government, in the case of unemployable, to equip
them with the necessary skills that will enable them
became gainfully employed, and in the case of
unemployed, to create the necessary environment,
through policy instruments, for meaningful
employment opportunities in both private and
public sectors.
The labor force in Nigeria is today skewed in
such a way that employment opportunities are
literally impossible to exist. Agricultural sector
absorbed about 70% of the labor force, with
industry and service sectors absorbing 10% and
20% respectively. A complete picture however
emerges when we understand that the agricultural
sector contributes no more than 30% GDP, and that
oil exports accounts for over 95% of all revenues of
the country (CIA World Book, 2011). It is easy to
see, therefore, that the agricultural and service
sectors are over bloated, and this consequently
creates a huge unemployment pool in which out of
over 90 million who are able to work, skilled and
unskilled, over 70 million Nigerians are completely
without any work (El-Rufai, 2011). For a country
of about 152 million people, this condition ought to
be quite alarming. An even more confounding
situation is the fact that the labor market is ever
expanding with about 3 million people joining
annually (El-Rufai, 2011).
The cumulative effect of this situation on
Nigeria’s socio-economic and political development
is beyond the scope of our discourse. Suffice it here
to make few observations. One, most of those
affected by unemployment in Nigeria represents the
most productive segment of its population, those
between the ages of 21-40. Two, it also means that
well over 70 million Nigerians cannot meet their
basic responsibilities in their own society. Three, the
fact that Nigeria has the resources to transform its
economy, create favorable conditions for small and
medium scale industries that can absorb this huge
labor force, creates a serious situation in which the
people became disillusioned with the Nigerian state
and its capability to promote their welfare.
Inequality
Studies on poverty and inequality generally tend to
limit their analyses to income disparity among
social classes in a given country. Obvious in this is
the apparent relegation of other indicators of
inequality such as social and political exclusion at
individual, local and national levels. A probable
explanation may be that political and social
inequalities are much more difficult to measure,
evaluate and verify. Income inequality grows often
with economic growth in most African countries
114 A. M. Katsina
because most of them do not have strong, efficient
and capable institutions that can ensure income
distribution equitably among their people
(Aigbakhon, 2008). In Nigeria, the nature of its
economy entrenches inequality. We have already
noted that the economy is primarily export
oriented, oil producing, and royalty collecting one.
Because of this, a wide gulf exists between a tiny
minority who have access to the oil revenues and
the majority of Nigerians who continue to wallow
in abject poverty. Consequently, together with a
huge percentage of Nigerians that is excluded
almost completely from enjoying the benefits
accruing from oil wealth, resentment and anger is
building among the economically excluded groups.
Muller and Seligson (1987) argue that a high level
of income inequality in a country increases the
possibility of violence against the state for at least
two reasons. The number of alienated persons in
the society that can easily mobilize is great. And
two, it is possible for the groups that emerge out of
this frustration to establish alliances with others
sharing same values. At the present in Nigeria, the
result of this is the emergence of many militant
anti-state groups such as Boko-Haram and MEND.
Nevertheless, the question that ought to be
asked, as far as inequality is concerned in Nigeria,
is the effect which income inequality has on social
and political relations. The military intervention in
the political process of the early 1980s was
conditioned to a significant extent by what was
widely believed to be the deepening polarization of
the Nigerian state between two classes. These
classes were the political class that cornered power
and appropriated public resources for their own
personal aggrandizement and the remaining
populace who suffered the consequences of those
acts. So bad was the situation that Imobighe (1984,
p. 41) observes that the level of inequality created
through deliberate policies of social and political
exclusion led to a heightened state of insecurity that
culminated in the overthrow of the civilian
administration on the last day of 1983. The
succeeding military administrations in the ensuing
years almost collectively succeeded in entrenching
politics of exclusion in which certain privileged
class that transcended regional, cultural and
religious boundaries emerged as the new power
broker in the country. Two common denominators
of this class was, and still remain, its unfettered
access to state resources and its exclusive control
over the levers of political power in the country.
Democracy succeeded in legitimizing the hold over
power that this class exerts. In all corners of the
country the phenomena of “Godfathers”, rigging
and vote buying actually substituted for the
exercise of popular will and choice in electing
public officials. As a result of this politics of
exclusion, a deeper psychological and social
inequality is fostered among the citizenry part of
the implication of which, today is the total loss of
confidence in the democratic experiment, and great
disenchantment among most citizens with the
government. Unlike, in advanced societies where
economic power offers political leverage, in
Nigeria the reverse obtains, with one dominant
social class determining, to use the words of Harold
Lasswell, who gets what, when and how.
Therefore, economic problems including poverty,
unemployment and inequality, structural politics of
exclusion, and a discriminating social system in
which an individual will never realize his potentials
without a “godfather” provide the cannon fodder of
radicalization, social tension, conflict, violence,
and the ultimate break down of law and order as we
are presently witnessing in Nigeria (Oyeshola,
2005, p. 123).
Insecurity in Nigeria: Connecting the dots
In the fore-going paragraphs, this essay tried to
establish an analytical framework within which the
current security situation in Nigeria can best be
studied and explained. It is the view of this essay
that these security threats are not isolated cases, but
rather part of the unraveling process which if not
handled properly will eventually consumed the
country. The argument of comprehensive security is
fundamentally predicated upon strong and
sustainable national development in which problems
of inequality, social exclusion, and poverty are
properly addressed. At this stage, we can only hope
to make certain, albeit generic, observations
concerning threats. The aim is to establish how
poverty, inequality, and unemployment, the three
major indicators of underdevelopment reviewed here
translate into potent threats tearing Nigeria apart in
the twenty-first century.
It is axiomatic to say that there is hardly a
country without one security threat or another, just
as it is hard to find a state that can completely
eradicate all threats to its security (Ukpabi, 1986, p.
147). Nevertheless, a proper threat perception and
analysis allows a country manages its threats
properly by allocating resources to the needed
areas. Imobighe (Alabi, 1997, p. 140) defines threat
as “anything that can undermine the security of the
nation, or anything that constitutes danger to its
survival as a corporate entity, as well as undermine
the prospects of the harmonious relationship of the
various communities that make up the nation, or
the peaceful co-existence of its people”. Poverty,
unemployment, and inequality are, without doubt,
threats to Nigeria’s peace and stability not so much
on how many people are affected at any point in
time but in what they breed among the affected
people. One, the threat is in the capacity to erode
patriotic feelings among the people. It is not a point
of debate to say that in a situation, as Nigeria’s,
where the people are convinced that their country
International Journal of Developing Societies 115
has the wherewithal to develop and transform their
miserable conditions of living but is unwilling or
incapable to do that, the people will not be patriotic
or even retain nationalistic feelings. Two, related to
erosion of patriotism is the building-up of angst and
resentment among the alienated majority against
the state and its institutions.
The manifestations of these often began with
innocuous actions such as traffic violation before it
takes greater and more dangerous dimensions
where respect to lawful authority is rejected. Three,
concordant to these two conditions is the grooming
of a mass of people, often youth, who are frustrated
with their wretched life and who discover that by
rejecting and in fact, fighting the government, they
have nothing to lose. These conditions ultimately
snowballed into a situation in which security is no
longer important for anybody in the country except
the ruling class who needs the apparatus of state to
continue with their plunder of public resources. The
situation in Nigeria since the beginning of this
century in which dozens of militant groups
emerged and challenged in the most violent form
the authority of the state; the growing level of
urban crime including armed robbery, kidnappings,
ritual killings, and cultism; the continuing erosion
of the moral authority of religions in which people
engage in acts in open defiance of their religious
and moral teachings; the culture of impunity that
characterizes public affairs; the corruption that has
become the landmark of public and political class;
the crippling poverty that is submerging the
average Nigerian; and the collapsing social and
political institutions in the country over the last ten
years, more than anything point to a gross threat
misperception on the part of the government for a
very long time.
Conclusion
In the final analysis, the paper argue that so long as
we continue to treat the issue of national security
separately from the issue of national development
in which challenges of poverty, inequality,
unemployment, social exclusion on account of tribe
and religion are not tackled proactively, the
problem of insecurity will remain very much alive
and will continue to plague the country. This
applies to other developing countries, especially in
Africa, that are grappling with the challenges of
economic growth and development, political
reforms and democratization. This framework,
though designed with Nigeria in view, recognized
the similarity of the challenges which most other
African countries face today. Wide and
institutionalized poverty, social inequality and
injustice, stagnant economic growth and
development, half-hearted political reforms, shabby
democratization processes, corrupt and despotic
leadership have remain some of the glaring
landmarks for most African countries. As a result,
youth restiveness and violence, social instability,
and conflicts have continued to plague them.
Following this discourse, we can at least
propose the following important observations.
First, for developing countries like Nigeria
therefore, national security is synonymous with
national development, and treating them as separate
subjects is not only counter-productive, but is
fraught with danger. As such, policymakers need to
appreciate this important fact, and start taking the
necessary steps and building the institutions that
could truly ensures justice, accountability and
development in their countries. Otherwise, all
measures designed to address insecurity will
remain futile. Second, the international community
cannot afford to remain impervious to issues
related to social justice, political reforms,
democracy and good governance in the developing
countries. These remain central to peace, progress
and sustainable development, and by extension,
global peace. The involvement of the developed
world in all spheres that promote these themes in
the developing world is very important. Situations
where world powers, for strategic reasons, blind
themselves to gross human rights violations, bad
governance, corruption, social injustice and
inequality among their third world allies do no one
any good. For in the end, it nourishes the
conditions that endanger the global peace.
Therefore, helping developing states like Nigeria
by insisting on good practice by its leaders through
good governance, genuine democratization process,
and accountable political leadership, is a collective
international obligation.
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IGBO SCHOLARS FORUM, Nigeriahas three international Journals all of which are multidisciplinary journals aiming to search, collect, analyse and evaluate Igbo/African thoughts and beliefs as it concerns Humanity and her world of Science, Religion, Politics, Education, Medicine, Economy, Social life, History, Law and Order, Culture and Civilization, Engineering, Business relations, Comparative politics, strategy and environment, Public policy, Language, Philosophy, etc. She also intends to find out how Igbo/African culture could relate with other cultures of the world for greater world peace and security. She therefore calls for well researched papers for publication in any of these three journals: Ekwe Jọnal, IgboScholars Internal Journal and Ideal International Journal all dedicated to the systematic articulation of Igbo/African Ideas, Thoughts and Beliefs, Culture and Civilization, Symbols and Institutions; Medicare, Economy, Social life, Security, History and Politics, Law and Order; Science and Technology, Language and Literature, Crafts and Agriculture’ Philosophy and Religion, e.t.c. Interested authors are free to send papers any time, any day as we accept papers 24/7 and publish each of the Journals three times or more every year. GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION OF PAPERS Any documentation and referencing style appropriate to author’s discipline is acceptable. However, papers should not be more than 5,000 words including abstracts and references, and every manuscript should have a cover page, author’s name(s), affiliated Institution’s address, e-mail address and phone number. All papers should be sent to Igboscholarsforum@yahoo.com or as whatsapp attachment to +2348149225739 for faster accessibility.
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The conflict between farmers and herders have constituted serious concerns and impediments to development in Nigeria. Development entails food security, of which dairy needs are integral. The global campaign for good agricultural practices (GAP) essentially focuses on the preservation of humans, animals and the general ecosystem, as the world continues to confront the depletion of the ozone layers. In Nigeria, the development concerns of farmers-herders' conflicts are not only pertinent but also daunting as the protracted conflicts increase the burden of food insecurity, human insecurity, ethic/tribal tensions and underdevelopment outcomes. While the challenges posed by the farmers-herders' conflicts are serious, existentially threatening and hydra-headed, their impacts on development of the country are massive and require urgent attention research and policy terms. This is because development can only be sustainable in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. But in situations where conflicts and insecurity are near intractable, development may be mere desideratum. It is against this background that Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs was used to examine the context, burden and tractability of farmers-herders' conflicts in Nigeria with a view to unpacking the interface of (in)security and development relative to food security in Nigeria.
Article
The conflict between farmers and herders have constituted serious concerns and impediments to development in Nigeria. Development entails food security, of which dairy needs are integral. The global campaign for good agricultural practices (GAP) essentially focuses on the preservation of humans, animals and the general ecosystem, as the world continues to confront the depletion of the ozone layers. In Nigeria, the development concerns of farmers-herders' conflicts are not only pertinent but also daunting as the protracted conflicts increase the burden of food insecurity, human insecurity, ethic/tribal tensions and underdevelopment outcomes. While the challenges posed by the farmers-herders' conflicts are serious, existentially threatening and hydra-headed, their impacts on development of the country are massive and require urgent attention research and policy terms. This is because development can only be sustainable in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. But in situations where conflicts and insecurity are near intractable, development may be mere desideratum. It is against this background that Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs was used to examine the context, burden and tractability of farmers-herders' conflicts in Nigeria with a view to unpacking the interface of (in)security and development relative to food security in Nigeria.
Article
The conflict between farmers and herders have constituted serious concerns and impediments to development in Nigeria. Development entails food security, of which dairy needs are integral. The global campaign for good agricultural practices (GAP) essentially focuses on the preservation of humans, animals and the general ecosystem, as the world continues to confront the depletion of the ozone layers. In Nigeria, the development concerns of farmers-herders’ conflicts are not only pertinent but also daunting as the protracted conflicts increase the burden of food insecurity, human insecurity, ethic/tribal tensions and underdevelopment outcomes. While the challenges posed by the farmers-herders’ conflicts are serious, existentially threatening and hydra-headed, their impacts on development of the country are massive and require urgent attention research and policy terms. This is because development can only be sustainable in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. But in situations where conflicts and insecurity are near intractable, development may be mere desideratum. It is against this background that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was used to examine the context, burden and tractability of farmers-herders’ conflicts in Nigeria with a view to unpacking the interface of (in)security and development relative to food security in Nigeria.
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The claim is now widely made that it is desirable to aim for a sustainable society, for sustainable economic development and for sustainable productive systems. This reflects the out-look of ecologists rather than the majority of economists, although a small group of economists does see particular virtue in sustainability. The outlook of ecologists is illustrated by Conway's criteria for assessing the desirability of agricultural systems. This approach, is shown to involve several unresolved conceptual issues. This leads to a discussion of the policy of a safe minimum standard as proposed by some economists and the critique of expected utility and risk-benefit analysis by Page and MacLean and whether this might provide a bridge between the views of economists and ecologists. A basis is established for considering whether sustainability of produc-tive systems is likely to be a more important goal in less developed countries than in developed countries. Further examples of the stress of ecologists on the production sustainability goal are given and additional policy prescriptions. for instance, involving nomadism and transhumance, are discussed.
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It is now beyond doubt that attention to the ‘security—development nexus’ has become commonplace in national and global policymaking. However, how ‘the nexus’ is differently imbued with meaning and ultimately employed remains underexplored. In this article, we suggest a possible framework for mapping the multiple understandings that underlie specific articulations of ‘the nexus’ in order to reveal the ways in which meaning may shift in different (yet seemingly similar) discourses. To this end, we draw upon familiar stories about ‘development’ and ‘security’, and we offer a brief reading of ways in which ‘the nexus’ is articulated in policy texts. Ultimately, this framework may hint at what such articulations may imply for the policy agenda.
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This book briefly surveys the evolution of the Western concept of development, recognizing the wider dimensions of human and economic development and the role of institutions and rules, which has moved toward the vision and the path of development envisaged in Islam. © Abbas Mirakhor and Hossein Askari, 2010. All rights reserved.
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International Security Studies (ISS) has changed and diversified in many ways since 1945. This book provides the first intellectual history of the development of the subject in that period. It explains how ISS evolved from an initial concern with the strategic consequences of superpower rivalry and nuclear weapons, to its current diversity in which environmental, economic, human and other securities sit alongside military security, and in which approaches ranging from traditional Realist analysis to Feminism and Post-colonialism are in play. It sets out the driving forces that shaped debates in ISS, shows what makes ISS a single conversation across its diversity, and gives an authoritative account of debates on all the main topics within ISS. This is an unparalleled survey of the literature and institutions of ISS that will be an invaluable guide for all students and scholars of ISS, whether traditionalist, 'new agenda' or critical.
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Maldistribution of land in agrarian societies is commonly thought to be an important precondition of mass political violence and revolution. Others argue that because of the difficulty of mobilizing rural populations for political protest, land maldistribution is irrelevant except as part of an inegalitarian distribution of income nationwide. These rival inequality hypotheses have significant implications with respect to the kinds of reforms likely to reduce the potential for insurgency in a society. They are tested using the most comprehensive cross-national compilation of data currently available on land inequality, landlessness, and income inequality. Support is found for the argument that attributes the greater causal import to income inequality. Moreover, the effect of income inequality on political violence is found to hold in the context of a causal model that takes into account the repressiveness of the regime, governmental acts of coercion, intensity of separatism, and level of economic development.
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1. BACKGROUND Thoughts on appropriate conceptualization, measurement and accurate characterization of determinants of poverty have a long history. From analytical perspective, thinking about poverty can be traced back at least to the codification of poor laws in medieval England, through to the pioneering empirical studies, at the turn of the century, by Booth in London and by Rowntree in York. Rowntree's study, published in 1901, was the first to develop a poverty standard for individual families, based on estimates of nutritional and other requirements. In the 1960s, the main focus of poverty debate was on the level of income, reflected in macro - economic indicators like Gross National Product per capita. This was associated with emphasis on growth, as exemplified in the work of the Pearson Commission, Partners in Development (1969). In the 1970s, poverty became prominent, notably as a result of Robert MacNamara's celebrated speech to the World Bank Board of Governors in Nairobi in 1973, and the subsequent publication of Redistributio n with Growth. Debate on poverty conceptualization was further upgraded by two factors. First was emphasis on relative deprivation, inspired by work in the UK by Runciman and Townsend. Townsend in particular, helped redefine poverty: not just as a failure to meet minimum nutrition or Subsistence levels, but rather as a failure to keep up with the standards prevalent in a given society.
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The problems of development and security have historically formed distinct discourses. More recently, they have been inextricably linked both in discourse and in much policy, thus creating the so-called development—security nexus that pervades much of today’s international development assistance. The empirical basis for attention to this nexus has been quite obvious given the many humanitarian emergencies occurring in the 1990s. It is less clear what, in terms of linkages, went before and what will come after. This article discusses the putative nexus in different historical geopolitical contexts, probing into its origins and speculating about the shape it may take in the future. It consists of three parts. The first deals with conceptual issues and the overall theoretical framework. The second describes four historical discourses, consecutively prevalent from about 1750 to 1980. The third concerns the current discourse on globalization and its possible future shape: global development.