In this post, we take a look at the link between bad governance and insecurity in Nigeria. Insecurity has become a major issue for the Nigerian government and has prompted huge allocation of the national budget to security. Despite various attempts by government to curb insecurity and crime, the level of insecurity in the country is still high. Furthermore, Nigeria has consistently ranked low in the Global Peace Index, signifying a worsened state of insecurity in the country. With the lingering security challenges and the inability of the government to guarantee safety and security in the country, the question we seek to address in this post is “what is the relationship between bad governance and insecurity in Nigeria?” In order to win the war against insecurity, there is the need for government to offer good governance to Nigerians.
The word ‘security’ embraces all strategies taken to protect and safeguard the citizenry and the resources of individuals, groups, businesses and the nation against sabotage or violent occurrence.
Security can also be seen as the situation that exists following the establishment of measures for the protection of persons, information and property against hostile persons, influences and actions.
When people in a society are secure, they can go about their normal daily activities without any threats to their lives or properties.
Security can be viewed in four dimensions as follows:
1. Financial/Economic Security: stable and steady income,
2. Social Security: predictability of daily life (knowing what to expect),
3. Physical Security: protection from crime (feeling safe), and
4. Psychological/Emotional Security: This focuses on emotional and psychological sense of belonging to a social group which can offer one protection.
These dimensions, when viewed together give a composite definition of security as the protection against all forms of harm whether physical, economic or psychological.
However, security is not the absence of threats, but the ability to rise to the challenges posed by these threats with expediency and expertise.
Insecurity can be seen as ‘not knowing, a lack of control, and inability to take defensive action against forces that portend harm or danger to an individual or group, or what make them vulnerable’.
People affected by insecurity are not only uncertain or unaware of what would happen but they are also not able to stop it or protect themselves when it happens.
Pervasive corruption has led to the breakdown of institutional infrastructures. This has rendered the nation’s institutions very weak and ineffective.
Judgment at the court of law can now be purchased with money; students can buy grades with money; electoral victory can also be bought with money; and so on. Together, the collapse of institutions has made Nigeria unstable and shaky and has led to bad governance and democratic accountability.
Researchers have pointed to the fact that insecurity in Nigeria is due mainly to bad governance (failure of government).
Bad governance in Nigeria has manifested in the government’s inability to deliver public services and to provide for basic necessities of the masses. The lack of basic needs of the people in Nigeria has created a large number of bitter and frustrated citizens who can be triggered easily by any event to be violent.
Actually, Nigeria has the resources with which to provide for the needs of her citizens; however, due to extensive corruption, public office holders are unable to channel public wealth towards the provision of basic needs for the people. Those in custody of public funds rather prefer to embezzle and siphon the cash into private pockets.
Consequently, Nigeria has found herself in a situation where the country earns a great deal of revenue through oil sales, but fails to use these earnings to meet the needs of its citizens and to develop infrastructure that will support the economy.
Under such circumstances, there is a high tendency for high crime rate and consequent insecurity of lives and properties. Bad governance has brought about a massive inequality among citizens, and this is a main trigger of insecurity in Nigeria.
Bad governance has sometimes led to real marginalization of a section of the country; often, the affected people feel grievance and might take up against the state.
Finally, bad governance in Nigeria is a main cause of ethno-religious conflicts common in certain parts of the country. Ethno-religious conflicts constitute major source insecurity in Nigeria. These conflicts arise due to distrust among various ethnic groups and among the major religions in the country.
Ethno-religious conflict was defined as a situation in which the relationship between members of one ethnic or religious group and another of such group in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society is characterized by lack of cordiality, mutual suspicion and fear, and a tendency towards violent confrontation.
The frequent and persistent ethnic clashes and religious conflicts between the two dominant religions (Islam and Christianity), present the country with a major security challenge.
Most times, these conflicts arise due to perceived unfairness in state allocation, claim over scarce resources like, power, land, chieftaincy, local government, councils, control of markets, sharia, etc.
Actually, if state institutions were effective and functional, the real or imagined marginalization by various ethnic groups would be minimal. Hence, bad governance has contributed to the spate of ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria.
In order to address the problem of insecurity in Nigeria, there is the need for government and stakeholders to examine and resolve the causes (of which bad governance is among).
If leaders govern well, dissatisfaction and disaffection will be minimal and therefore the tendency for violence and criminal behavior will naturally be reduced.
There is the need for a visionary leader in Nigeria is detribalized. In other words, it is imperative that we have leaders who will help to mould the contending ethnic and religious groups into harmony and help to remove the mutual distrust among them.
Good governance remains the solution to insecurity challenge in Nigeria. Good governance implies that the government is responsible and accountable to the people. Indeed, peace and security is a function of good governance.
On the other hand, good governance is dependent upon effective, visionary, transparent, trustworthy and credible political leadership whose aim is to improve the well-being of the larger number of citizens.
There is the need to eliminate corruption and entrench social justice. Corruption is a cog in the Nigerian wheel development. It has retarded both the economic growth and social progress of Nigeria. It breeds inequality among its citizens, a situation that is the root cause of disaffection among Nigerians.
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