Insecurity, unemployment and the rest of us

AMID the recent strike by resident doctors, a mass exodus of Nigerian medical doctors and physicians to Saudi Arabia almost happened. The doctors, apparently, are seeking for  greener pasture. Many of them have lamented the poor working condition in the country. However, truth be told, there are countless medical personnel in Nigeria who are yet to even secure a job for. In our dear country, unemployment is a ticking bomb. Worse still, Nigerians have been battling with various crimes which are undermining its security, and making it difficult for national building to take place. These crimes include, Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgency in the North-East, armed banditry and kidnapping in the Northwest, herders attack on farmers in the North-Central, militancy in the Niger Delta region, and secessionists’ agenda across both South-Eastern and South-Western regions of the country. However, when critically examined, these security challenges mostly arise due to lack of corporate social security among the citizens and unless proactive measures are being outlined and implemented, these problems would continue to haunt the spirit of the nation for many years to come.

In the contemporary world, the security of life and property remains significant to the socioeconomic survival of any given society. To achieve that, the government has a responsibility to adequately provide security in a given social formation. Several studies have suggested that violence in Nigeria may be a consequence of economic and political factors such as poverty, unemployment, inequality, corruption and poor governance. Nevertheless, poverty and unemployment coupled with illiteracy proved to be the key players that triggers violence in Nigeria. Currently, 54 per cent of Nigerian youth are unemployed. The overwhelming unemployment rate in the country is capable of causing panic. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in 2019, the unemployment rate in the country was 23.1 per cent but projected to 33.3 per cent in 2020. This figure is expected to increase up to 35.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The rate at which unemployed youth are roaming the streets is alarming. Every year, tertiary institutions graduate many students who are regrettably thrown into the labuor market with no hope of job opportunities in sight. Many become frustrated in an effort to keep mind and body together and engage in violent and criminal acts such as lucrative kidnapping, cultism, militancy, armed robbery and other nefarious activities. Meanwhile others have been terrorists ‘ victims and are quickly radicalised. It is argued that the failure of successive administrations in Nigeria to address challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequitable distribution of wealth among ethnic nationalities is one major causes of insecurity in the country. Unemployment has severe and negative implications for sustainable national development in Nigeria. Poverty also is a threat to human existence and reduces a man to a perpetual state of infancy. Despite Nigeria’s huge resources and oil wealth, poverty is still rampant among the citizens.

Indeed, over 43 per cent of Nigerians are living below the country’s poverty line of N137, 430 ($317.4) per year. Recently, a report by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), stated that 27.4million Nigerians are living in poverty, earning less than N100,000 annually. Therefore, it is crystal clear that the state of insecurity in Nigeria is largely a function of the government’s failure and lackadaisical attitude towards the poor masses. This is showcased by the inability of the government to deliver public services and to provide basic needs for the masses, notably shelter, food and clothing. The paucity of basic needs by the people of 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.

Nigeria 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. According to the latest version of National Security Strategy 2019, a document released by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), retired Major General Babagana Monguno, Nigeria’s social security strategy will ensure policies and programs to harness the strengths of the citizens to leverage on the endowed resources for collective development so as to attain their full potentials. Furthermore, the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and other social intervention programs will be made more functional and accountable with a view to enhancing the livelihood and dignity of Nigerians. Therefore, strengthening the security system with all sincerity and doggedness that it deserves is very crucial for making Nigeria habitable for every citizen and to achieve national development. The government should implement policies that are in favour of the Nigerian masses such as the social security policy that seeks to cater for the unemployed, destitute and the aged, as state security is contingent upon social security.

  • Mukhtar writes in from Madobi, Kano State, via ymukhtar944@gmail.com.

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