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Nigeria’s Insecurity Crisis Increases Citizens’ Panic

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Nigeria’s security crisis has taken a significant downturn with terrorist attacks going beyond the roads, to airport tarmacs and train services. Within a space of one week, an aeroplane set for take-off was attacked right on the tarmac of the airport in Kaduna while a train from Abuja heading to Kaduna had its rail track bombed, multiple numbers of passengers shot dead, injured and several others abducted for ransom. Nigeria’s insecurity has never been this bad. The government appears helpless and incapable of assuring citizens that it can protect them. Indeed, Nigerians were very shocked to hear Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi throw up his arms helplessly and blame his colleagues in government for failing to approve ‘just N3 billion’ needed to purchase security monitoring equipment for the rail line. Speaking to journalists on the train attack, he stated that the incident could have been prevented with the acquisition of a N3 billion digital security equipment.

Nigeria budgets huge sums of money for national security. In the 2022 National Budget, the sum of N1.14 trillion out of a total budget sum of N17 trillion was budgeted for the Ministry of Defence. In addition, the sum of N188 billion was budgeted for the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA). Additional sums were also budgeted for several other arms of security services, including the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps, among the plethora of multiple uncoordinated security agencies in the country. The huge sums budgeted for defence do not reflect in the quality of security provided for citizens in the country. Instead, Nigerians are seeing worsening insecurity.

Across the country, multiple security problems exist. The South East of the country that was described in the not too distant past as the safest part of the country, descended into its own security crisis which worsened when the Supreme Court to the consternation of Nigerians, removed the popularly elected Governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha and replaced him with its own choice of Hope Uzodinma. Since then in 2020, the State has known no peace and has contributed immensely to the high levels of insecurity in the country. The insecurity across the country has also been worsened by the highhandedness and impunity of security agencies throughout the country, who have responded to political agitations and protests with shooting and killing of dissenting persons. Security agencies’ highhanded and brutal response to political agitators such as Sunday Igboho in the South West of Nigeria and Nnamdi Kanu in the South East, has further contributed to escalating the political and security crises in the country.

Indeed, the Nigerian government’s obvious incapacity and incompetence in managing the country’s security crisis continues to be a source of worry, especially with no indication that the situation will improve.