Conclusion: Rethinking Internal Security Management in Nigeria
Over the past two decades, the management of internal security in Nigeria has been complicated by the outbreak of multiple security challenges. However, militancy in the Niger Delta region, Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East and persistent herdsmen-farmer clashes have tended to eclipse other security challenges like kidnapping, urban gang violence, human trafficking, arms smuggling, cybercrime and illegal migration, among others. Underpinning much of the security challenges are the post-colonial character of the Nigerian state, dominance of a rapacious elite, widespread corruption, weak institutions, rising poverty, youth unemployment and border porosity. Both formal and informal security institutions have been deployed to manage these diverse security challenges, with very little success recorded in terms of reducing the scale, frequency and intensity of violent incidents. Evidently, the use of the coercive instruments and institutions of the state to manage internal security challenges have been the most preferred option by successive Nigerian governments. The persistence of security challenges, coupled with the inability of both the formal and informal security institutions to contain them, has occasioned huge loss of lives and property in Nigeria. The approach of the Nigerian state in managing internal security challenges has been predominantly reactive, coercive and repressive rather than proactive, preventive and inclusive. This situation has undermined the prospect of peace and stability critical for national development. To more effectively address the challenges of internal security management, there is the need for urgent capacitation of state institutions and the enthronement of good governance in Nigeria through the conduct of credible elections, vigorous anti-corruption campaign and equitable distribution of resources. Good governance is key to reducing poverty, unemployment and economic deprivations that underpin much of the violent security threats in Nigeria. The underlying principle of good governance is the focus on human development as desideratum for sustainable security in the society.
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