Effect of Insecurity in Nigeria on Economic Development

Insecurity in Nigeria: Impacts on Socioeconomic Development

The aim of the post is to examine some of the effects of insecurity in Nigeria on economic growth and development. In other words, we shall discuss the issue of insecurity in Nigeria and its implication for socioeconomic development. The rising wave of insecurity in Nigeria constitutes major threat to lives and properties, and discourages investors, all which stifle Nigeria’s socioeconomic development. In view of the above, there is the need for government to address insecurity in Nigeria by providing relevant infrastructure to support business and industrial growth.

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Nigerian State, Security, and Insecurity

The Nigerian state exists in order to provide security to her citizens. In other words, security is the main responsibility of the state.

The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria specifically states that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.


It is necessary to examine the concept of security to enhance a good understanding of the term insecurity.

Security encompasses the mechanism put in place to avoid, prevent, reduce, or resolve violent conflicts, and threats that originate from other states, non-state actors, or structural social and political and economic conditions.

Security is vital for national cohesion, peace and sustainable development. National security is necessary for economic growth and development of any country.

In the intelligence community, security is not the absence of threats or security issues, but the existence of a robust mechanism to respond proactively to the challenges posed by these threats with expediency, expertise, and in real time.


The term ‘insecurity’ connotes different meanings. It can be seen as a state of fear or anxiety due to absence or lack of protection. It is the state of being open or subject to danger or threat of danger.

The insecure are both uncertain of what would happen and are vulnerable to the threats and dangers when they occur.

Insecurity can be defined as a breach of peace and security that contributes to recurring conflicts, and leads to wanton destruction of lives and property.

Socioeconomic Development

Economic development and growth result from structural changes, savings and investments in an economy.

Development encompasses psychological and material factors that measure human well-being.

It is the process of empowering people to maximize their potentials, and develop the knowledge capacity to exploit nature to meet daily human needs.

The transformation of the society and the emergence of new social and economic organizations are critical indicators of development. Socioeconomic development can be defined as the process of social and economic transformation in a society.

Socioeconomic development is measured with indicators, such as GDP, life expectancy, literacy and levels of employment. Other less tangible indicators include changes in factors such as personal dignity, freedom of association, personal safety and freedom from fear of physical harm, and the extent of participation in civil society.

Indeed, there is a strong link between security and development. It is impossible to achieve development in a nation where there are conflicts, crisis and war.

Sources/Causes of Insecurity in Nigeria

The fear of insecurity in Nigeria is on the rise and this has been compounded by the rising waves of terrorism since independence.

The level of insecurity assumed dangerous dimensions in the prolonged years of military rule beginning from 1970 during which people procure arms and light weapons for personal defense.

Some of the causes of conflict and insecurity in Nigeria include the following: mutual distrust and suspicion among various ethnic groups and among the major religions in the country, perceived and real neglect, oppression, domination, exploitation, victimization, discrimination, marginalization, nepotism and bigotry; corruption; resource control and revenue sharing; pervasive material inequalities and unfairness; unemployment and poverty; weak security system; porous borders; terrorism.

Insecurity and Socioeconomic Development in Nigeria

After fifty nine years of political independence, Nigeria still ranks low in all socioeconomic indicators such as life expectancy, death rate, access to water, poverty rate, mortality rate, and crime rate.

The high rate of poverty in the country has contributed to security challenges that have bedeviled the country since independence till now with grave consequences for socioeconomic development.

The inability of government to provide a secure and safe environment for lives, properties and the conduct of business and economic activities has affected Nigerians in significant ways.

There is no investor whether local or foreign that will be motivated to invest in an unsafe and insecure environment.

Thus the alarming level of insecurity in Nigeria has made the economy unattractive to foreign investors, and this has impacted negatively on economic growth and development.

In recent time there has been an increase in the rate of theft, armed robbery especially in the banks, kidnapping and assassination in different parts of the country.

The South East states of Nigeria have the highest incidence of kidnapping; the South South and South West states of Nigeria have the highest incidence of armed robbery and fraud, while the Northern states are characterized by bombing by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

Insecurity in Nigeria has hindered socio economic development in Nigeria in many ways. These include:

1. Population displacement and social dislocation

2. Social tensions and new pattern of settlements; this is because often times, Muslins/Christians or members of an ethnic group relocate to Muslim/Christian dominated areas

3. Heightening of hostility between “indigenes” and “settlers”

4. Disruption and dislocation of family and communal life

5. Creates an atmosphere of mistrust, anxiety, and fear

6. Increases security spending by business organizations and governments

7. Deepening of hunger and poverty

8. Discourages local and foreign investment as it makes investment unattractive to business people

9. Halts business operations during period of violence and outright closure of many enterprises in the areas where incidence of insecurity is rife

10. Migration of people from area or region where there is prevalence of insecurity.

The socioeconomic development of Nigeria is dependent on the level of economic activities in the country; the level of economic activities is in turn enhanced by peaceful co-existence by people.

Insecurity in Nigeria has destroyed economic, human and social capital; thereby making socioeconomic development impossible.

For instance, the Boko Haram insurgence has almost crippled economic activities in Northern Nigeria. Similarly, activities of other militia groups in other parts of the country pose serious threat to the economic health of these regions.

The state of insecurity in different parts of Nigeria is destroying existing infrastructure and preventing a peaceful environment for the development of more infrastructure.

Consequently, the atmosphere is unsafe for economic activities by individuals; which would give them economic empowerment that will enable households not only to cater for their present generations, create wealth, but also to provide for future generations.

Conclusion and Recommendation

In Nigeria there has been rising wave of insecurity since the country attained independence in 1960.

This rising wave has assumed a dangerous dimension and constitutes threat to lives and properties, hinders business activities, and discourages local and foreign investors, all of which stifles and retards socioeconomic development of the country.

Therefore, there is the need for government at all levels to address insecurity in Nigeria since significant development is impossible amidst insecurity.

In order for government to solve the insecurity problem, there is the need to create an economy with relevant infrastructure for business operations and industrial growth.

This will enable the people to create more jobs for themselves and in turn reduce the number of unemployed youths.


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