• The Geo-Politics Of Nigeria’s Insecurity – Independent Newspaper Nigeria

    The geo-politics of nigerias insecurity independent newspaper nigeria - nigeria newspapers online
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     In the past ten years, the South- East and North-East geopolitical zones, more than other geopolit­ical zones, have been sites of ex­periments on insecurity and militia reign. Either terrorists, kidnappers, or militias were testing the will of the government to see how long it would take for a determined state to take charge, or it was just a playground of absurdity. The result is known. Po­litical leadership and the elite failed the people irredeemably. Admittedly, insecurity on a national scale abhors partitioning. The factors at play in a place may owe their origins to factors emanating from a totally different re­gion, but there is good reason to focus on the two zones.

    In the two zones, the persistent violence had three distinct features: first, the impunity with which Boko Haram and its affiliates, and un­known gunmen have been allowed to operate; second, the helplessness of the residents; and third, the seem­ing indifference of the political elite. These defining features fuel existen­tial anger among the people.

    Somehow, lately, it appears gover­nors from both regions have found their mojo and courage to rise to the challenge, and that deserves examination and commendation. The source of this new energy and focus is unknown. One thing is clear: the federal government has done its best to redeem the situation, but its best is not good enough. The federal government just did not know how to deal with the situation beyond a military-centric option, and the mil­itary deserves commendation for the successes they have recorded so far. Both regions have never been safe places for residents and businesses.


    The connection between concrete development and the decimation of militia-led insecurity and related complications has long been estab­lished as a theoretical and practical fact. This has been lacking over the years in both regions. Save for a few cases, there has been a substantial disconnect between the people’s de­velopment aspirations and the area’s government. Actual development, especially education, helps fight vi­olence, terrorism, and its like. Lately, we have begun to see development programs in a handful of states in both regions, which impacts insecu­rity in the area.

    Besides, the people, too, are be­ginning to resist the domination of their areas by these non-state actors. Community leaders are now more involved in intelligence gathering. The locals have started organising themselves into quasi-security for­mations and are beginning to be the first resistance point even before the organised formal security apparatus of the state is involved. This calls for more synergy between the informal and formal security structures and systems in these areas for better op­erations.

    Also, the people’s sensitisation to the fact that these non-state actors purportedly fighting for unknown causes are not doing so for the collec­tive interest of the locals. Instead, the locals in their various communities are the casualties of the needless vi­olence and murderous orgies meted out on them. This new conscious­ness must be harnessed efficiently to the advantage of the communi­ties. The fight against insecurity is becoming local, and interestingly, the public sphere and media framing the conflicts as banditry and criminal­ity rather than a fight for freedom, self-determination, or religious zeal­otry is helping matters. I sincerely think that even the perpetrators recognise the impact of this new ap­proach and have turned to symbols of the state for their attacks to legiti­mise their acts as actions against the state when they are not.

    There is a temptation to believe that the insecurity in the northeast and southeast is a scam and a cash cow for interested parties due to its persistence and nature. Additionally, there is a general belief that the se­curity establishment deployed to se­cure the southeast has found collab­oration with criminals and conflict merchants to exploit the separatist agitation. In the northeast, we also find that Sahelian jihadist insur­gency had been increased by socio­economic pressures from the most impoverished states in the nation.


     The southeast represents a false agitation for self-determination, whereas the northeast’s insurgency is neither ideological nor religious. Both cases involve ordinary crimi­nals acting as agitators and religious zealots. The criminal colonisation of both regions for an extended period is horrible and disastrous. The polit­ical and traditional establishments of both geopolitical zones, led by the governors and National Assembly members, must band together, seek support from wherever possible, and bring this tragedy, which is eco­nomically strangulating and socially demoralising, to a stop. Tomorrow is too late.

    Recent attacks have shown the ruthlessness of these criminals and demonstrated unequivocally the need for exorcising this evil madness from our communities. A pattern is beginning to emerge: shoot-and-run attacks on soft targets and targeting military/police personnel to instill fear in the people. Unknown gun­men, who were said to have been enforcing the sit-at-home directive of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), on May 21st opened fire on a military checkpoint in Obik­abia junction in Aba, killing five sol­diers. The response of the state gov­ernment was decisive. The least we expected from the federal security apparatus was to fish out these cul­prits and use them to demonstrate the new vigor of fighting criminality posing as agitators. We seem to have lost this opportunity to prove a point. This applies to the recent twin bomb­ing in Gwoza, Borno state.

    In Ebonyi state a few weeks ago, gunmen invaded Ishieke Divisional Police Headquarters and started fir­ing sporadic shots. They killed and maimed people, although the report shows that five of the gunmen were killed. Hours before the attack in Ebonyi, gunmen wreaked havoc in Okigwe Local Government Area of Imo State where they killed six peo­ple. A few days later, gunmen killed two police operatives and injured two others in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia state. Between 22 and 26 May 2024, a non-state armed group attacked communities in Gujba local government area in Yobe State. The incident displaced 732 households and resulted in three fatalities and 12 injuries. Among the affected were 2,720 children, 1,038 women, and 976 men. These incidences are ongoing, and the casualties are increasing dai­ly. There is a need to quickly optimise the power of collaborative strategy between the federal security appara­tus, emerging regional architecture, state governments, and communi­ties.

    On the issue of historical injus­tices, especially in the southeast, un­fortunately, the FGN since 2015 has not addressed the grievances; they just looked away. However, the elite of the southeast have realized that there is a need to change their strate­gy. One of the manifestations of this change in strategy is the resolution by South-East Governors, supported by members of the National Assem­bly from the zone, to approach the president to release Nnamdi Kanu. Governors of the South-East had earlier resolved to fight insecurity decisively in the region, individually and collectively, in partnership with the federal government of Nigeria and other stakeholders. Though the details of how they intend to fight insecurity are scanty, at least they have found their voice.

    As Chief Security Officers of their respective states, governors must demonstrate significant com­mitment to confronting perpetrators of violence and resolving core causes of insecurity in their states and, by extension, the geopolitical zone. The sign that governors appreciate the enormity of the challenge is there. The next logical step is to confront the monster from its root. The bat­tle is not just kinetic in nature. It is a battle to win the hearts and minds of people, both the perpetrators and their victims. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes are often com­munity members and are known to the local people.

    The ideological prism which has held many people hostage to sup­port the call for Islamic militancy or Biafra romanticism resonates with people who are disenchanted or dissatisfied with the existing sys­tem. This is rooted in deep-seated anger against a system they feel is holding them hostage and from per­ceived development. I am sure that when we put good governance and leadership that brings dividends of democracy such as economic and infrastructural development, social justice, and the rule of law, the level of agitation will reduce, and people will have little reason to want to up­turn the system.

    It is time the states addressed the interconnected concerns such as unemployment, poverty, bad gover­nance, injustices, resource compet­itiveness, and the development of an inclusive society. Effective gov­ernance at the state and grassroots levels is critical to resolving the issue of extreme violence and criminality. Regional cooperation among states and between states and the center is beginning to bear fruit, albeit only in terms of psychological effect and public perception.

    We must all work together, ir­respective of geopolitical zones, to create a better future for the affect­ed communities, states, and regions. Conflicts have their place in the ag­itation for change. However, as we see in these and other regions, per­manent conflict will only reduce the affected areas to barbarism and put them further away from modernity.

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