by Odinkalu Chigozirim

GEJ2

In summary, institutions should be built, and policies tailored to meet the demands of Nigerians. The fight against terrorism should be all inclusive with the Federal Government playing the lead role.   

Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria is the world’s tenth-largest producer of oil but 70 per cent of its 160 million people survives on less than US$2 a day. Nigeria has more than 400 ethnic groups and large Christian and Muslim populations. Corruption, insecurity bothering on resource mismanagement and control, poverty, unemployment, citizenship and identity politics, and Boko Haram Insurgency are inflaming ethno-religious tensions. The history, dynamics and challenges of its development are deeply rooted in tension, conflicts, instability and insecurity.

In his 2nd Bamidele Aturu and Co Law and Development Lecture on 26 October 2009, Dr. Sam Amadi asserts that “corruption is mainly the reason why about $400 Billion realized from the sale of oil in Nigeria since 1958 has resulted in a few hundred millionaires and millions of starving and sick citizens. The reason for the situation Dr. Amadi describes is not corruption but impunity and failure of the state and institution building[1].

To compound the problem, President Jonathan on Tuesday, March 12 granted presidential pardon to Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha and six others, who have been tried and convicted of various offences in the past ranging from corruption, grand larceny to alleged coup plotting and treasonable felony by Nigerian courts. The President purported acted within his powers under Section 175 of 1999 Constitution as amended which grants the president power to grant pardon to individuals convicted by any law made by National Assembly. The presidential power of pardon is discretionary and when abused as in this instance amounts to impunity. Alamieyeseigha’s pardon encourages culture of corruption and demonstrates government insincerity to the fight against corruption in Nigeria. The Obama administration has threatened to cut off aid to Nigeria or even sanction the African country after the President’s pardon to Alamieyeseigha, Bill Gates has withdrawn support to Nigeria for polio eradication.

Bombings, killings and hostage taking are of most concern among the problem confronting the Nigeria State. Several have been killed, valuables lost and many more are displaced since the emerging trends of terrorism in Nigeria. The most recent bomb blasts in Maiduguri and Kano States left not less than seventy five persons dead.  Eye witnesses said three suicide bombers positioned their Golf car, which had been primed with explosives, between Gobison Luxury Bus and one other before detonating the explosives. Nigeria records one of the world’s highest casualty rates from internal violent conflicts, killing of innocent citizens and visitors alike and bombing despite no civil war.  Terrorism has threatened the Nigeria state at every level and endangered the human security of individuals and communities, fear and panic is the order of the day in this part of the world.

Act of terrorism undermines the rule of law, destabilizes economic activities and jeopardizing sustainable peace. Its negative impact on trade and other economic activities cannot be over emphasized, which in turn affects development. It is obvious that the security agency including the police which are responsible for internal security lacks the capacity to deal with terrorists and their activities. Maintenance of law and order in Nigeria in recent times has equally been challenging and the ability and capacity to manage National Security by the Security Agencies is in doubt by the citizenry.

The Federal Government has failed in its efforts to provide security for all and decisively deal with threats to human security such as large scale violence, insurgency, killing, bombing and other forms of security threats judging from the spate of violent attacks, killings and bombings carried out by the Boko Haram Insurgency since 2009. The negative impact of this ugly development on the country cannot be estimated on the economy as well as human lives and property. In fact, the state of affairs of the country over the activities of the dreaded Islamic sect is of greatest concern to well meaning Nigerians and international development partner including security agents who have been blamed for their inability to live up to expectation in dealing with series of bombings and other terrorist activities in Nigeria. All efforts seem not enough and lack of expertise in intelligence-led policing has hampered success in curbing terrorism and other security challenges in Nigeria. There are three types of Boko Haram confronting the Nigeria state: political Boko Haram, criminal Boko Haram and Jama’atu Ahlus Sunnah Lidda’awatiwal- Jihad (People Committed to the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad) popularly referred to as Boko Haram, together they work to ensure the present administration is ungovernable and economic activities in the country are crippled.

The recent claim by the Ansaru Islamic sect that it has killed seven kidnapped foreign construction workers in Bauchi on 16 February is of great concern. The Minister of Interior  Abba Moro told the world that the reported killing remains unconfirmed and the government under the leadership of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is yet to take responsibility for the action. “Statement by the Italian Foreign Ministry described it as an atrocious act of terrorism, expresses its firmest condemnation, and which has no explanation, if not that of barbarous and blind violence”.

In his presentation at the conference to mark two historic events in Nigeria –the fiftieth anniversary of Nigeria’s independence from British Colonialism and 50th anniversary of Ford Foundation’s grant making on human rights and governance in Nigeria, Dr. Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, argued that good governance is founded on a tripod of three values: legitimacy, accountability and capacity. To explain, the legitimacy or credibility of the government is essential both in revenue generation and service delivery[2].

In summary, institutions should be built, and policies tailored to meet the demands of Nigerians. The fight against terrorism should be all inclusive with the Federal Government playing the lead role.



[1] Sam Amadi, “Corruption and Law: A Case study of Unequal Justice/”, 2nd Bamidele Aturu & Co., Law & Social Development Lecture, Monday, 26 October 2009.

[2] Dr. Chidi Anslem Odinkalu, “Corruption and Governance in Africa: How do we break the cycle in Nigeria”, 50th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence from British Colonialism and 50th anniversary of Ford Foundation’s grant making on human rights and governance in Nigeria.

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.