Security Challenges in Nigeria: Matters Arising

Nigeria is currently facing serious internal security challenges, the most serious ones being the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa; and the Niger Delta militancy and piracy in the south-south geopolitical zone, comprising Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states. Additionally, there are security challenges posed by violent crimes, ethno-religious conflicts, resource-based conflicts, trans-border criminal activities, and election-induced violence. All these security challenges undoubtedly pose some threats to the social, economic and political stability of not only Nigeria, but also extending to the West African sub-region, where more than half of the population comes from Nigeria. This can as well be improved upon.

Currently, the most serious security threats in Nigeria are those in the category of discontent or separatist agenda, specifically the violent extremism of Boko Haram and the violent militancy in the Niger Delta. While the former uses religion as its platform, employing such tactics as suicide bombing, organized attacks on police and military installations, terrorizing rural communities, kidnapping of secondary school students etc; the latter is resource-based, and uses the control of oil found in its domain as its platform, knowing that about 90 percent of Nigeria’s revenue comes from that natural resource.

The most existential threat to Nigeria’s national security is the violent extremism being unleashed by the Boko Haram group which has its main base in the north-east. Although the Niger Delta militant groups were the first to use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) for their operations, the idea of suicide bombing was introduced into Nigeria by the Boko Haram violent extremists.

Honing this down to our nation’s political atmosphere, where elections are becoming a “do or die” affair, with most politicians becoming very militant in their approach. It has reached a stage where those seeking political offices aim by all means to control the economic resources meant for the citizens towards their own political interest, especially the governorship candidates who create armies of political thugs whom they not only arm with dangerous weapons, but also provide with illicit drugs in order to protect their interests even if it requires using violence. It is a well-known fact that the formation of the militant groups in the Niger Delta area and the Boko Haram sect in the north-east were at one time or another, part of the army of political thugs formed by certain gubernatorial candidates and politicians alike in the Niger Delta area and Borno State, respectively.

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