On a recent transit from Zaria to Osun state Nigeria, I sighted a strange looking guy wandering around the train. Fear gripped me and I thought aloud; what if he was trying to blow up the train? I imagined the catastrophe such incident will cause if it happened and how life will come to a halt.
Just a thought of someone blowing up the train gave me a minute idea of what life is like for the people living in Jos and Borno state? How they ‘constantly live’ under fear. Most people living outside the Northern part of Nigeria are less likely to be aware of the true picture of the operation of the insurgents or what it means to live under security tension. Families are being wiped out every day with the media recording less of the actual happenings in the North East.
While having a chit-chat with a group of friends recently, it was so sad to hear about the death of nine family members wiped out in a day. There have been records of genocide around the country but with consistent occurrence in Southern Kaduna, Jos and Bornu state. It is so sad to know that no concrete steps have been taken to counter the activities of the insurgents in the country. Going by the ‘vegetable like’ approach and the helpless manner the government keeps tackling the social vices in the country coupled with the high rate of unemployment; one will wonder if Nigeria is not a failed state since most of her institutions are already failing the masses.
Former Education Minister, Oby Ezekwesil, on a recent BBC programme, Hardtalk, said that Nigeria is not a failed state but rather a state that has a problem with failed institutions. Whatever, the fact remains that a country in which the central government is failing to deliver some of their basic responsibilities to the governed such as security, good governance etc. is a failed state.
An independent research organization, Fund for Peace (FFP), ranked Nigeria 17th most fragile (failed) state in a total of 178 countries on the 2014 Fragile State Index (FSI) while taking into cognisance 12 major indicators such as mounting demographic pressures, refugees and internally displaced people, vengeance-seeking group grievance, chronic and sustained human flight, uneven economic development, poverty and economic decline, legitimacy of the state, progressive deterioration of public services, violation of human rights and rule of law, security apparatus, rise of factionalised elites, and intervention of external factors. A proper glance of the indicators shows the irrelevance of our government in Nigeria in recent years.
Nigeria is tending to a ‘total failed state’ just like Central Africa Republic, Somalia, Afghanistan etc. where the central government is incapable of enforcing laws and orders within their territories. It will only take a while for the lawlessness of the insurgents and the helpless state of the government in tackling the insurgency in the North to spread to other parts of the country if the security situation in the North is not tackled once and for all. The government needs to take concrete steps in restoring law and order in Nigeria while also ensuring the socio-economic improvement of the masses in order to return the country to a sane state.