Welcome Remarks Delivered at the One-Day National Dialogue on Emerging Security and Governance Challenges in Nigeria Held on the 29th of November 2021 at Transcorp Hilton Abuja
I welcome you all most sincerely to this One-Day National Dialogue on Emerging Security and Governance Challenges in Nigeria. This Dialogue is designed to engender not just discussions but thought-provoking contributions and recommendations capable of addressing and ameliorating the state of public safety and security in Nigeria. This Dialogue today brings to an end the series of regional based discussions across all geopolitical zones which were organized by CLEEN Foundation with a view to understanding sub-national security and governance challenges and engendering context based local solutions these problems.
The fragility of the Nigerian state has never been more evident than now. The continuous overstretch of Nigeria’s security architecture remains a grave concern to Nigerians who unfortunately bears the brunt of the recent spike in insecurity and threat levels in the country. The country is besieged by several security challenges from the North to the South which daily threatens the very foundations of the country and the survival of its people with severe implications for national development.
In a shocking reality, the problem of insecurity is fast becoming a common feature of our daily lives in Nigeria. The normalization of insecurity creates an aura of fear where Nigerians are resorting to fate, self-help and are unable to actively hold the government to account on its obligations to provide effective security for its citizens. Reports of kidnapping, village invasion by armed bandits, politically-motivated killings, terrorism, and others have characterized public safety and security discourses in the country.
We cannot but mention the culminative effort of the government in addressing these perennial challenges. We have seen an increase in defense budgeting over the years and acquisition of important equipment for the military, security operations in crisis-ridden states of the country, the design and enactment of policies and legal frameworks and their attempts at implementation. We have also seen the deployment of the military to support the operations of the Nigeria Police Force primarily saddled with internal security in the country. Despite all these efforts, insecurity has remained a daily norm. The questions we need to address at this point are: Where are we getting it wrong and why have these challenges persisted? Are we more focused on reactive approaches to dealing with these challenges than a forward-looking risk based approach that interrogates governance issues?
Simmonis (2004) in his working paper Defining good governance: The conceptual competition is on defines the concept of governance and provided four (4) basic categorization of governance as political, economic, corporate, and socio-economic development. In this categorization, he emphasized the need for government to prevent or reduce intra and inter-state conflicts, adherence to rule of law, accountability, sustainable development, promoting regional integration, enabling environment for economic activities as an impetus for growth and safety in a country. It has become evident that a critical instigator to security challenges in the country is the state of governance in Nigeria. In a research conducted by Godwin Eneji and Matthias Eneji (2020), they posited that bad governance is the primary root cause of insecurity in the country. Nigerians are faced with bad governance challenges ranging lack of transparency in governance, corruption, weak accountability for resources and injustices which serve as incentives for the insecurity challenges and as push factors for some persons to indulge in criminality. It is therefore crucial for the government to review and expand its current strategies in addressing these challenges by ensuring wholesome human security and good governance in Nigeria and for Nigerians.
It is against this background that we at the CLEEN Foundation have invited you to this One-Day National Dialogue to discuss the existential realities of Nigerians and the role that good governance can play to address such. We are convinced that the outcome of our deliberations today will contribute to a body of policy and practice recommendations that can be used by the government in addressing the concerns about insecurity and governance in Nigeria. Outcomes of today’s meeting will be taken further in close engagements with duty bearers.
I want to use this medium to thank Ford Foundation for their support in enabling us to contribute our quota to promote public safety, security and accessible justice in Nigeria. To you, our critical stakeholders, we appreciate your time to participate in this Dialogue. On behalf of the Board, Management and Staff, we wish us all a fruitful Dialogue!
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!