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SECURITY CHALLENGES IN NIGERIA AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR BUSINESS ACTIVITIES AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
- Background of the study
Nigeria – now Africa’s Largest economy – continues its downward trend and falls seven places to 127th this year, largely on the back of weakened public finances as a result of lower oil exports. Institutions remain weak (129th) with insufficiently protected property rights, high corruption, and undue influence. In addition, the security situation remains dire (139th). Nigeria must continue to upgrade is infrastructure (134th) as well as improve its health and primary education (143rd).
Furthermore, the country is not harnessing the latest technologies for productivity enhancements, as demonstrated by its low rates of ICT penetration. On the upside, Nigeria benefits from its relatively large market size (33rd ), which bears the potential for significant economics of scales; a relatively efficient labour market (40th ) driven by its flexibility (20th); and a solid financial market (67th) following its gradual recovery from the 2009 crisis.
With the lingering security challenges and the inability of the security apparatus of the government to guarantee safety and security in the country, the question that borders everyone in Nigeria today is “can there be security?” Is security of lives and properties achievable? He opined that government at all levels has not done enough by not confronting frontally the situation head on and dealing with it decisively, others have argued that the situation has a political undertone or inclination calculated to serve the interest of certain political gods, who have been dissatisfied and disgruntled about the political manifestations in the country.
Ubong King, Chairman, American Society for Industrial Security CHP 206 and CEO, Protection Plus Services Limited made this assertion while speaking on the topic Security Challenges in Nigeria and the Implications for Business Activities and Sustainable Development said that Security however, can be described as stability and continuity of livelihood (stable and steady income), predictability of daily life (knowing what to expect), protection from crime (feeling safe), and freedom from psychological harm (safety or protection from emotional stress which results from the assurance or knowing that one is wanted, accepted, loved and protected in one’s community or neighbourhood and by people around. It focuses on emotional and psychological sense of belonging to a social group which can offer one protection). It is generally argued however that security is not the absence of threats or security issues, but the ability to rise to the challenges posed by these threats with expediency and expertise.
According to Ubong King, insecurity is defined as “the state of fear or anxiety, stemming from a concrete or alleged lack of protection.” It refers to lack or inadequate freedom from danger. This definition reflects physical insecurity which is the most visible form of insecurity, and it feeds into many other forms of insecurity such as economic security and social security.
The renowned Security expert said that for the Government to tackle insecurity, a key starting point should be to understand the causes of insecurity as well as to investigate their sources of social disorder and instability. King pointed out that it is necessary to distinguish between different causes as each may require different remedy. Besides, it is to provide a holistic view to the suggestion or recommendations of solutions. More often, however, policy makers are disinclined to isolate and clarify particular causes. They prefer blanket references, with the consideration that the causes of insecurity are interwoven and contributory to one another. Like in many other societies, the sources of insecurity in Nigeria have been traced to a number of factors and explained by different people. These factors have been classified or grouped into external and internal factors. Beyond the external-internal dichotomy, sources of insecurity have also been classified as either remote or proximate and immediate sources/causal factors. In Nigeria, the challenge is not so much about insecurity of external sources, but rather that of internal sources. We recognize that some internal factors have been enhanced and strengthened by the presence of external forces, but, there is no doubt that, if the internal situations did not present themselves, the external forces would be unable to infiltrate.
He also went further to expantiate on the remote (root) factors of insecurity in Nigeria.
Lack of institutional capacity resulting in government failure described as the corrosion or breakdown of institutional infrastructures. The foundations of institutional framework in Nigeria are very shaky and have provoked deterioration of state governance and democratic accountability, thus, paralyzing the existing set of constraints including the formal and legitimate rules nested in the hierarchy of social order. The state of insecurity in Nigeria is greatly a function of government failure, or can be linked to government failure. This is manifested by the incapacity of government to deliver public services and to provide basic needs for the masses. The lack of basic necessities by the people in Nigeria has created a pool of frustrated people who are ignited easily by any event to be violent. The argument here, is that, Nigeria has the resources to provide for the needs of its people, but corruption in public offices at all levels has made it impossible for office holders to focus on the provision of basic needs for the people Nigerian situation as a ‘Paradox of Plenty’. 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 people and to develop infrastructure as well as the economy. When these situations exist, crime rate is bound to rise and the security of lives and properties cannot be guaranteed.
Pervasive material inequalities and unfairness – Greater awareness of disparities in life is a major root cause of insecurity in Nigeria. This is a rooted general perception of inequality and unfairness which has resulted in grievance by a large number of people. This perception stems from the perception of marginalization by a section of the people, government development policies and political offices and this has become a primary source of disaffection and resentment. A large number of the Nigeria population is frustrated and have lost hope, especially the youths, and have now emerged to express their disillusion about the pervasive state of inequality. For example the case in the Niger Delta where the Avengers, Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders have been blowing up installations thereby reducing the exploration and production of oil to the abysmal level. The activities of the avengers were responsible for the epileptic power supply in the country as well as the inability of state governors to pay workers’ salaries due to the low revenue generated in the oil sector as a result of the attack on pipelines.
Conflict of Perceptions between the public and government – Over the years, there has been a standing mismatch between public and government perceptions. A situation which often result in the reactions of the public to the excesses of the military regimes which governed Nigeria and has continued after the end of military regimes and created a sensitivity by those in government at public intrusion in matters of state.
Weak Security system – This results from inadequate equipment for the security arm of government, both in weaponry and training. This is in addition to poor attitudinal and behavioural disposition of security personnel. In many cases, security personnel assigned to deal with given security situations lack the expertise and equipment to handle the situations in a way to prevent them from occurring.
And even when these exist, some personnel get influenced by ethnic, religious or communal sentiment and are easily swallowed by their personal interest to serve their people, rather than the nation. Thus, instead of being national watch dogs and defending national interest and values, and protecting people from harm by criminals, they soon become saboteurs of government effort by supporting and fuelling insecurity through either leaking vital security information or aiding and abetting criminals to acquire weapons or to escape the long arm of the law.
Loss of Socio-cultural and communal value system -The traditional value system of the Nigerian society like most African societies is characterized by such endearing features as collectivism, loyalty to authority and community, truthfulness, honesty, hard work, tolerance, love for others, Mutual harmony and co-existence, and identification of individual with one another (Other distinctive features of Nigerian traditional society are abhorrence for theft and high value for live. Stealing was considered extremely disgraceful and lives were also highly valued). All of these values which made society secured and safe have all gradually been thrown away and lost. New values have taken over their place over the years, with the so called ‘modernity and civilization’. All our endearing values and morals have been traded off for western values.
The immediate factors which caused Nigeria insecurity situation are inexhaustible.
Porous Borders – One major immediate factor which has enhanced insecurity in Nigeria is the porous frontiers of the country, where individual movements are largely untracked. The porosity of Nigeria’s borders has serious security implications for the country. Given the porous borders as well as the weak and security system, weapons come easily into Nigeria from other countries. Small Arms and Light Weapons proliferation and the availability of these weapons have enabled militant groups and criminal groups to have easy access to arms. Nigeria is estimated to host over 70 percent of about 8 million illegal weapons in West Africa. Also, the porosity of the Nigerian borders has made it possible for unwarranted influx of migrants from neighbouring countries such as Republic of Niger, Chad and Republic of Benin. These migrants which are mostly young men are some of the perpetrators of crime in the country.
Rural /Urban Drift- The migration of jobless youths from rural areas to urban centres is also one of the causes of insecurity in Nigeria. Nigeria is one of the countries in the world with very high rural/urban drift. Most urban areas in Nigeria have grown beyond their environmental carrying capacities and existing infrastructure and this has resulted to increased poor quality of the living conditions in urban areas in Nigeria. Out of frustration, these youths are drawn into crime.
Social Irresponsibility of Companies – Corporate social irresponsibility is a set of actions that increases externalized costs and/or promotes distributional conflicts. Companies engage in corporate social responsibility in order to offset corporate social irresponsibility. The rise of terror groups in some parts of the country is directly related to the neglect of social responsibility by companies to the community where they are operating. This was the case of the Niger Delta crisis.
Unemployment/Poverty -As a result of the high level of unemployment and poverty among Nigerians, especially the youths, they are adversely attracted to violent crime. Failure of successive administrations in Nigeria to address challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequitable distribution of wealth among ethnic nationalities is one of the major causes of insecurity in the country.
Terrorism – At the most proximate and least disputable level, terrorism is the most fundamental source of insecurity in Nigeria today, and its primary bases and sources of support have generally been located in religious fanaticism and intolerance. As “the premeditated use or threat of use of violence by an individual or group to cause fear, destruction or death, especially against unarmed targets, property or infrastructure in a state, intended to compel those in authority to respond to the demands and expectations of the individual or group behind such violent acts” which has cost 13.4 per cent of the world gross domestic product. Nigeria has lost more than 1000 lives in the Northern region since 2009 to the insurgency of this infamous sect, Boko Haram which has been ravaging the northern region of the country.
Furthermore, the Boko Haram insurgency/Niger Delta militancy is sufficiently diffuse that superior fire power of government cannot be fully effective, and to approach triumph too closely may be to forement resistance by the communities where the battle would be fought. All of the factors above are succinctly summarized in the views expressed by foreign observers about the causes of insecurity in Nigeria. Located the sources of insecurity in Nigeria in four factors: political conflicts; unbalanced development that involves horizontal inequalities; religious/ethnic distrust; and leadership failure. It could be associated with low level of economic development as a result of poor governance and high level corruption.
The insecurity environment of business refers to insecurity variables that affect the performance of a business but over which the business enterprise has little or no direct control. In Nigeria, the variables range from theft to organized armed robbery, kidnapping and demand for ransom, assassination, repeated invasion and blockading of business installations, social injustice, unemployment, lack of access to livelihood resources, rising cost of living, and bombing, pipelines destruction. All these variables of crimes and social maladies have made the Nigerian security environment to be complex.
In addition to the usual crimes, the coordinated attacks from the Boko Haram sect in the northern part of the country, besides making life miserable for Nigerians, has affected so many businesses operating in that region. The bomb explosions initiated by this group have been on the increase leading to enormous loss of life and property and a general atmosphere of fear and social tension in the country.
Statistics have also indicated that in the last one year, there is a significant decline in peace as Nigeria dropped four places to 146th out of 158 countries in the 2012 Global Peace Ranking. In fact, Nigeria has been identified as the least peaceful country in West Africa (GPI, 2012).West Africa is among the most unsecured region in the world and Nigeria is the most unsecured country in the region as it has consistently ranked high among the countries in West Africa. On the contrary, Ghana a neighbouring country to Nigeria has consistently ranked low and is taken as the most peaceful country in the region.
The implications of the Nigeria insecurity situation for organizations’business activities cannot be overemphasized. We contend that when there is wide spread insecurity, it could affect business investment, the entire business organization or some aspects of its operations which include production, marketing, finance and human resource (H/R)
The implication of the insecurity situation in Nigeria for business activities can be viewed from two broad perspectives, viz, the perspective of potential business investment and the perspective of existing business enterprise. Potential Business Investment Insecurity discourages investment as it makes investment unattractive to business people. This is because it increases the cost of doing business either through direct loss of goods and properties or the cost of taking precautions against business risks and uncertainty.
These costs have a negative impact on business development and progress. The thick arrow connecting the insecurity environment and business investment means that insecurity has been a huge blockade to business investment. World Bank on investment climate in nine African countries in which it was found that 29% of business operators in Africa and 36% in Nigeria perceived insecurity as a major constraint on investment. This situation has the damaging consequence of giving signal to the international community that Nigeria is not a safe and secure place and as such not suitable for investment and business activities.
In that case, foreign firms and entrepreneurs would decline to invest and this is particularly important in view of the efforts being made to create the desired atmosphere to attract foreign direct investment. So, it is a strong disincentive to business investment as it scares away potential investors.
This is because such environments or economies are considered high risk zones due to the high level of uncertainty about the safety of investment and lives of the managers and their staff.
Evidently, there has been a decline of foreign direct investment in Nigeria. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is usually investment targeted at building new factories or investing in actual production activities which create jobs. Foreign investors in the Nigerian economy are moving away from starting new companies or production plants and are buying up shares of quoted companies instead. Figures from the 2010 Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) annual report show a steep 78.1 percent decline in foreign direct investment while also showing a significant 87.2 percent increase in portfolio investment into the Nigerian economy to take advantage of the depression in the Nigeria stock market due to low economic activities. This can largely be attributed to the state of insecurity in the country besides the issue of lack of regular electricity supply, which itself is a source of economic insecurity in the country.
The Nigeria insecurity situation can, and in many cases, actually halted business operations during the periods of violence and also caused the outright closure of many enterprises especially in the areas or zones where incidences of insecurity is rife and are on daily occurrence, in a bid to protect lives of operators and business property. Generally, if there is no peace and security, it is extremely difficult for businesses to survive. Ordinary citizens having small and medium scale businesses cannot open shops for business transactions. Insecurity everywhere is a risk factor which business owners and managers dread and wish to avoid by relocating their businesses elsewhere. In the case of Nigeria, there is also evidence of some businessmen and manufacturing companies having to relocate particularly from the North in recent time, to other peaceful parts of the country. Non-indigenes especially Igbos and Yorubas have to return to their home states before they are killed by Boko Haram. In addition, some firms have shifted their operations to other countries like Ghana which is deemed to be more peaceful. Apart from outright closure of a business enterprise, an existing business can also be affected in the four functional areas of business shown below such as production, marketing, finance and human resource (H/R).
Production – Business enterprises rely on availability and regular supply of raw materials for production. Security problems can cut off supply of such raw materials. When a firm is unable to access raw materials needed for production due to insecurity in the source, it can disrupt production activities.
Marketing – It is not only that a business enterprise must get raw materials for production, it also must dispose off their output. Insecurity limits market availability. In addition to the fact that areas pruned to insecurity will not be attractive for marketers from outside, there will be restrictions on mobility. Besides, Migration of people from the areas to other parts of the country or outside as a result of insecurity will affect the customer base of businesses operating in the environment where the insecurity exists. Nigeria is currently experiencing this situation in many parts of the country especially in the terrorist fields of the northern part of the Nigeria. We can also recalled that this situation had occurred in the Niger Delta particularly in Warri, Delta state during the periods of inter ethnic clashes among three ethnic groups, Ijaw, Itsekiri and Urhobo, in Warri and Ijaw and Ilaje in Ondo State. Recently, Avengers started the total destruction of oil installations that belong to oil companies in Nigeria.
Finance – Insecurity also increases security spending by business organizations. This emanates from the cost of taking precautions and payment for private security services. From general observation, most business organizations operating in Nigeria maintain security personnel as well as security infrastructure in order to ensure the security of their properties and the lives of their staff and customers. It could also result to the loss of capital through burning of business buildings and properties. Beyond these, it also limits sources of fund to the business.
Human Resource – When there is a high level of insecurity in a particular area or region, there will be migration of people which could lead to a dearth in skilled labour. Insecurity affects the general human security of the people as the situation promotes fear, while at the same time limiting the peoples’ ability to work effectively. There are also circumstances when employees of a business enterprise become victims of attack and the firm losses its experienced staff through death or injury. As such, workers resign to run away from such areas and fresh people do not want to go there for employment. The implication is manpower shortage for the business which ultimately affects the success and survival of the business. This exerts pressure on the business for manpower at any cost. Due to the impact of insecurity on businesses, we support the proposition that the government must ensure the availability of public security at all times. This is crucial because if businesses fold up and investors are no longer forthcoming, then the future is bleak.
Security and development are also related in the sense that being a public good, the imperative to maintain security competes with other public goods such as education, health and infrastructure for public funds. Insecurity therefore, becomes a drain on local and national resources at the expense of development and peoples’ well being thereby, having adverse consequences on economic growth and development.
Thus, in the absence of any real threats to security, expenditures on security can be reduced significantly, allowing national and local governments to channel more resources to other public goods to improve the quality of life of the people. In addition, insecurity destroys existing infrastructure and also prevent an environment for the development of further infrastructure; and a safe environment for economic activities by individuals to give them economic empowerment that will enable households not only to cater for their present generations but also to provide for future generations.
Consequently, King posited more sustainable development initiatives regarding insecurity are needed in Nigeria and this is imperative, since security is central to development, and the national transformation agenda of the current administration may not be achieved if there is no solution to the menace of insecurity ravaging the country.
He mentioned the following as solutions to the issue of insecurity: Leadership development- It is viewed that Nigeria will have to develop visionary leadership, a leadership that is detribalized such that it has at leadership positions only people who are able to inculcate in their people or followers, the ideal of common citizenship as the transcendent factor among all Nigerians, no matter the tribe, gender, religion, economic and social status. In other words, it is imperative that we have leaders who would not be limited to championing the causes of their home state, tribe or religious groups, but rather focused on deeds and pronouncements which convincingly and positively impact on the entire citizenry of the federal republic”. The argument for this is that such leaders “will help to mould the contending ethnic and religious groups into harmony and help to remove the perceived mutual distrust among them. The process of developing visionary leadership can be challenging, but however, it can be overcome “by using institutions of the Nigerian constitution as a nursery ground to produce leaders with national outlook and with a missionary zeal to transform the nation”.
Good governance – good governance is the panacea for the insecurity challenge in Nigeria. He states that the war against insecurity would be won only by raising governance standards that is, cultivating the culture of good governance where the government is responsible and accountable to the people. In his view, security engagement cannot be separated from good governance. Many others have also linked security to governance system. The general view is that peace and security is determined by good governance. However, as good governance is a function of effective, visionary, transparent, trustworthy and credible political leadership whose driving force is an improvement in the collective wellbeing of the citizens through well conceived, effectively implemented economic policies and human development programmes. The underlying principle of good governance is the focus on people as the ultimate objective of governance.
Socio-economic development-This factor is strongly considered as the major key to peace and security in Nigeria. The challenge in solving the insecurity problem in Nigeria is to accelerate the pace of development. Development in this context consists of creating an economy with relevant social, economic and physical infrastructure for business operations and industrial growth, to provide gainful employment, high level education facilities and medical care for the people.
Elimination of Corruption and entrenchment of social justice – Corruption is viewed by everybody as the cog in the Nigerian wheel of progress and development. It is the bane of our society. It is both a social and economic monster. It is the cause of inequality and inequitable distribution of the nations’ wealth among its citizens, a situation that is the root cause of disaffection among Nigerians. It is theorized by many that fighting corruption and winning the war will bring about an egalitarian society, where fairness, social justice and equal right for all will reign supreme; where rights will not be privileges for some people, and for others, privileges are their rights: where every Nigerian will be treated and accorded position not based on tribe and sect, but on merit defined in terms of the content of his character, mental capacity and ability to deliver; where there will be no discrimination.
Radical change in values – A paradigm shift of values from the current order has also been suggested and emphasized by many, considering the role of values in governance system, leadership developmental goals, and behaviour towards corruption. It is argued that except our values are right, we cannot get it right as a nation in all of the areas that we have itemized, and except we get it right in those areas, the people will continue to suffer deprivation and injustice which will cause dissatisfaction and disaffection and consequently create an insecure environment.
To overcome insecurity there is need for intelligence gathering and surveillance so that law enforcement agents could be proactive and reasonably predict potential crime with near perfect accuracy rather than being reactive.
The menace of insecurity no doubt calls for a new approach that will be founded on credible intelligence gathering”. Government must not only continue to engage the security personnel, it must, more than ever before, recognize the need to devote more attention to security intelligence, capacity building to meet the global best practice standard and acquisition of modern technology.
There is also the need to modernize the security agencies with training, intelligence sharing, advanced technology, logistics, motivation and change of orientation. This effort will enhance the operational capabilities of the Nigeria security agencies by identifying avenues that would enable them respond appropriately to internal security challenges and other threats. In addition, there should be a complete overhaul of the security institutions in the country to reflect international standards of best practices so as to pre-empt these security breaches. In particular, the failure of the intelligence services to contain the recurring security breaches.
The consistent pattern of post damage responses to national security has been attributed to the dearth of pre-emptive intelligence among security personnel.
There should be an institutionalized approach rather than the episodic and reactive response adopted by the government at the aftermath of attacks. In addition, Government at all level should not compromise in enforcing the law. Cases of corruption are not meant to be compromised at all, let alone adjourning them endlessly. The judiciary ought to have, at this stage in our development, evolved time scales for cases. There ought to have been a time to determine a case; time to close that case; and time to deliver judgement and pass sentences. In Nigeria, cases that bother on corruption and insecurity have most often been compromised. Thus, the law is no longer acting as a deterrent. Our law enforcement agencies must therefore be incorruptible and fair. To ensure all this, there must be incentives, good conditions of service and social security. Finally, dealing alone with the issues mentioned above will not appraise the root causes of insecurity.
Policies that focus solely on single governmental agencies, such as security agencies or enactment of laws are unlikely to succeed. Instead, a coordinated preventive measure is necessary in addition to military strategies and judicial institutions. He posited that there is a need to reorder priorities and to seek better understanding of the underlying causes and dynamics of the insecurity in the country with the aim of providing effective conflict prevention and management strategies. The formulation and effective implementation of policies and programmes capable of addressing the root causes of insecurity in Nigeria are crucial, especially with regard to poverty; unemployment, environmental degradation, injustice, corruption, porous borders and small arms proliferation. Therefore, efforts to tackle insecurity can only be effective if there is a robust combination of legislative and judicial interventions with government reforms that address some of the acute human security challenges confronting a vast majority of the population.
According to king, Security just like other elements in the business environment enhances and optimizes business activities but insecurity hinders these activities and so it constitutes a threat to business organizations. There is a strong skepticism that if the level of insecurity in our country is not scaled down, our vision to be among the best 20 countries of the world may be aborted. We must strive to get to a level were crimes will be nipped in the bud before they are perpetuated. Therefore, the government, civil society groups, business organization and individuals must fight insecurity so as to create an enabling environment where business organizations will feel free and secured to achieve their full potentials and the country will itself be safe to achieve sustainable development.
- Statement of the problem
Nigeria in recent times has witnessed an unprecedented level of insecurity. This has made national security threat to be a major issue for the government and has prompted huge allocation of the national budget to security. In order to ameliorate the incidence of crime, the federal government has embarked on criminalization of terrorism by passing the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2011, fundamental surveillance as well as investigation of criminal related offences, heightening of physical security measures around the country aimed at deterring or disrupting potential attacks, strengthening of security agencies through the provision of security facilities and the development and broadcast of security tips in mass media. Despite these efforts, the level of insecurity in the country is still high. In addition, Nigeria has consistently ranked low in the Global Peace Index (GPI, 2012), signifying a worsened state of insecurity in the country.
- Objectives of the study
- To understand the impact of the current security challenges on business activities and sustainable development in Nigeria
- To understand the relationship between the current security challenges and business activities and suatainable development in Nigeria
- Research questions
- What is the impact of the current security challenges on business activities and sustainable development in Nigeria?
- What is the relationship between the current security challenges and business activities and sustainable development in Nigeria?
- Research hypothesis
H0: There is norelationship between the current security challenges and business activities and sustainable development in Nigeria
H1: There is arelationship between the current security challenges and business activities and sustainable development in Nigeria
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