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SECURITY CHALLENGES IN NIGERIA AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR BUSINESS ACTIVITIES AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
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, installation of Computer-based Closed Circuit Television cameras (CCTV) in some parts of the country, enhancement of 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 (Azazi, 2011). 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. Hence, Adagba, et al (2012), Uhunmwuangho and Aluforo (2011) are of the view that the efforts of government have not yielded enough positive result.
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 that “can there be security?” Is security of lives and properties achievable? Apparently, the security situation in Nigeria appears or at least have remained insurmountable and many people have argued that government at all levels has not done enough by not confronting 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.
Consequently, the purpose of this paper is to provide a synthesis of existing knowledge on insecurity by integrating diverse explorations and to propose a strategy for security management. In the following sections, we examine first, the concept of insecurity, the causes of insecurity in the country so as to provide a background for understanding and appreciating the enormity of the problem and our proposed model for security management in Nigeria. This is followed by an exploration of the connection between security environment and business activities and an evaluation of the Nigerian security situation and its implications for business and sustainable development. Finally, in consonance with the call on everyone by government, to contribute to the war against insecurity, the paper proposes a security management model that could assist in managing security challenges in the country.
The concept of insecurity would be best understood by first presenting the concept of security. In the view of Akin (2008) security refers to “the situation that exists as a result of the establishment of measures for the protection of persons, information and property against hostile persons, influences and actions”. It is the existence of conditions within which people in a society can go about their normal daily activities without any threats to their lives or properties. It embraces all measures designed to protect and safeguard the citizenry and the resources of individuals, groups, businesses and the nation against sabotage or violent occurrence (Ogunleye, et al, 2011). According to Igbuzor (2011) it demands safety from chronic threats and protection from harmful disruption.
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). This description structured the concept of security into four dimensions. However, these dimension can be weaved together to give a composite definition of security as the protection against all forms of harm whether physical, economic or psychological. 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.
Insecurity on the other hand, is the antithesis of security. However, because of the very many ways in which insecurity affects human life and existence, the concept of insecurity has usually been ascribed different interpretations in association with the various ways which it affects individuals. Some of the common descriptors of insecurity include: want of safety; danger; hazard; uncertainty; want of confidence; doubtful; inadequately guarded or protected; lacking stability; troubled; lack of protection; and unsafe, to mention a few. All of these have been used by different people to define the concept of insecurity. These different descriptors, however, run into a common reference to a state of vunerability to harm and loss of life, property or livelihood. Beland (2005) defined insecurity 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.
Two views are of essence to this paper. These are (1) Insecurity as the state of being open or subject to danger or threat of danger, where danger is the condition of being susceptible to harm or injury, and (2) Insecurity as the state of being exposed to risk or anxiety, where anxiety is a vague unpleasant emotion that is experienced in anticipation of some misfortune. A major point about insecurity implied in these definitions is that those 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. It is in this view that we would describe insecurity in this paper 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 vunerable’. ‘Vunerability’ is the situation that we do not know and we cannot face or anticipate. It is also something we may know would happen but we are not able to face it.
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. As Andrew and Kennedy (2003) pointed out, 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. Hence, our focus in this paper is on the 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. We present the internal causes of insecurity in Nigeria using the dichotomy of remote and immediate factors.
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