The Nigerian Project and the Quest for Sustainable National Security
The raison d’être of the state is the provision of security—the freedom from danger, fear, deprivations and depredations. Since independence, however, Nigeria has struggled to suppress internal contradictions within its territory in order to achieve sustainable peace and security. Nigeria has been battling a raft of violent conflicts and crimes—ethno-religious conflicts, herdsmen-farmers clashes, militancy, kidnapping, serial bombings, assassination, cross-border banditry, piracy, armed robbery and domestic terrorism, among others. Their scale, intensity and frequency have called to question the ability of the Nigerian state to effectively respond to these threats to enhance the safety and wellbeing of individuals, groups, communities and assets within its territory. It has also accentuated concern over the prospect of realising the Nigerian project. This chapter, therefore, conceptually interrogates the idea of the Nigerian project within the context of the quest for sustainable national security. It posits that the Nigerian project is about the national effort to resolve contradictions underpinned by the multi-ethnic nature of post-colonial Nigerian state in order to forge a peaceful, united and prosperous nation out of the diverse nationalities wielded into a geographic entity by a common colonial experience. It further contends that the Nigerian state is increasingly unable to deal with this evolving security due to the perverse nature of the state. The character of the Nigerian state itself undermines not only the quest for national security but also the very basis of the Nigerian project. It concludes that for the Nigerian project to be successfully pursued and consequently realised, there is the need for the total overhaul or restructuring of the character and posture of the Nigerian state through a process of national dialogue. Failure to do this will only ensure a future where the Nigerian project will continue to falter, making the attainment of sustainable national security elusive.
KeywordsSecurity threats Nigerian state National security and peace
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