Internal Security Crisis in Nigeria: Causes, Types, Effects, and Solutions – Dawood Egbefo and Salihu, Hadizat Audu

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Our Take: Individuals or organizations commonly use violence to express their unhappiness with situations. Because security issues are a natural part of life, it is unlikely that insecurity can be eradicated. Given the impossibility of eliminating security crises, all society requires is a framework for managing and controlling security crises.


The main objective of this research is to show that the causes of internal security are inevitable and it is part of the fabrics of the society. What the society showed strive for is regulation of crisis or its amicable settlement whenever it arises. Since the extinction of security crisis seems impossible, all the society needs is a mechanism for security crisis management and control. Security crisis is inevitable because it can originate in individual and group reactions to situations of scarce recourses, to division of function within society and differentiation of power and resultant competition for scarce supplies of goods, states, valued roles and power as an end itself. A society without security threat is a dead society since security crisis is a reality of human existence and therefore a means of understanding social behavior. Thus in this paper, internal security crisis as it relates to its causes, types, effects and solutions seems a more sensible starting point in addressing the threat to Nigeria’s existence.


The problem of internal security crisis cannot be properly understood nor decoded unless the analysis and the interpretation of the underlining causes, types, effects and solutions are premised on the contemporary global financial and economic crisis. The undercurrents of the interconnectedness between the contemporary nation-states pose a fundamental challenge of the issues of internal security, conflict management, and development especially to the developing third world countries. In the contemporary world if has become extremely difficult to divorce internal security from external pressures. Indeed, internal security is symbiotically linked with the global politics and its other dynamics. For example, while the revolution in information technology has impacted positively on the global economic, it has also radicalized the perceptions of the victims of global politics on the issues of justice, poverty, ethnicity and inequalities arising from the contradiction of western imperialism. It has reawakened the minds of the oppressed to seek for justice and equity outside the framework of the nation state. The ‘Arab Spring’ of Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, South Sudan etc readily comes to mind.

However, beside the external pressure in Nigeria internal politics affecting the growth and expected development of the economic poses a great threat to internal security. The proliferation of small and big arms in many parts of the country has resulted in the toughening or hardening of position between warring parties. Dangerous weapons including explosives are now readily available to criminals and terrorist groups. There by compounding the problems of internal security. There are other contending issues, for example, what precisely has made the Nigerian state so volatile and vulnerable to all types of internal threat/security crisis, undermining the legitimacy of the nation states? What are the causes, types and the effects of internal security threat in the context of Nigeria? And how adequate are the mechanisms for the maintenance of internal security? Finally, what are the likely solutions that can extricate Nigeria form internal contradictions generating and promoting internal security? These contending issues form the thrust of this study.

The Global Financial and Economic Crisis and Nigeria’s Internal Security Problems a Major Contending Issue

It is evident that the global financial crisis has affected both poor and rich nations; the severity of the impact on individual countries will vary according to their economic, social, political and cultural settings. Sensing the panic mood in Nigeria shortly after the financial crisis erupted in the United States, and the widespread social and economic effects around the globe, the then Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Charles Soludo, proclaimed that the Nigeria economy, because of its low integration into the global economy, would not suffer serious adverse impact. He later called for a press conference reassure the public that the “all Nigerian Banks are safe” and promised that the CBN would do whatever is necessary to keep the Banks healthy. On the stock exchange market, foreign investors, who controlled about 65% of holdings in the NSE (Nigerian Stock Exchange), were made to divest and withdraw their ownership in various companies in Nigeria. This compounded the situation of NSE as a result of increasing lack of public confidence, which is affecting its prospects aside financial, loses (Okeke, 2008).

Accordingly, Soludo’s early optimism was dictated by the theory that economies without or with rudimentary financial markets connected or linked with the global economy are less likely to have financial crisis. However, everyone knows that he wanted to be positive because expressing doubt on the health of the banking sector would have triggered off serious national panic. The leaders have, however, started to sing different songs as they have realized that the society would not escape unharmed by the global financial crisis because Nigeria is part of the global economy. In fact, the impact of the global financial crisis has reached the shores of Nigeria as the fear of global economic recession has started to drive down oil prices. With all the twists and turns in the new global economy. Nigeria needs leaders who are committed to tackling the sociopolitical and economic problem facing the nation. There should be massive investment in the non-oil and agricultural sector of the economy, commitment to sustainable monetary and fiscal policies, and sufficient highly skilled personal to supervise the needed reforms and manage the affairs of the nation. As a nation with weak institutions and poor infrastructure, there will be high economic and human toll on Nigerian if the crisis in the new global economy is not resolved soon; as the economy worsens the level of public discontent is expected to increase. However the rising insecurity in Nigeria and the cloud of uncertainty surrounding the Goodluck Jonathan administration appear a much bigger threat to the Nigeria than the global financial crisis. Without proper planning and effective intervention the internal insecurity crisis rocking the nation state could transform the country’s longstanding economic problems into a social crisis.

Internal Security Crisis and the Contending Issues: Causes, Types, Effect and Solution

Internal security is very critical to the functions of the state. The essence of the state is the promotion of good life and the creation of political conditions that would enhance the welfare of the citizenry. The state cannot perform the first primary purpose of the state unless maintenance of law and order is achieved. Therefore, internal security is quite an important aspect of national security/development. It was for lack of security that the Hobesian state of nature rendered life brutish, nasty and short. The concept goes back to the cradle of nation-states themselves. Armies for domestic peace-keeping and maintaining national sovereignty have existed since the dawn of recorded history. Civil and national police forces have also existed for millennia. Intelligence agencies and security services of government stretch back to antiquity such as the Roman Empire, Ottoma Empire and that of the Kanem Borno. While the general concepts of keeping a nation secure are not new, the specific modern English term “internal security” it came into common parlance in the 20th century. Methodologies and strategies to achieve and maintain the highest possible desired state of internal security have been consistently developed over the modern period to this day. However, the concept of national or internal security is very difficult to define because the root term, security, has remained a contested concept. In other words, it has no universally accepted definition due to its many-sidedness arising from ideology and timeframe being addressed, as well as the locus of analysis.

More, so, the issue of internal security is so critical to nations and national leaders that they are prepared to stake anything in defense of the nation, or to maintain its security. Hence Walter Lippman observed that a nation is secured to the extent that it is not in a position to lose core values, life, property and liberty. Internal security also refers to the requirement to maintain the survival of the nation-state through the use of economic, military political power and the exercise of diplomacy. President Olusegun Obasanjo, while presenting his grand strategy, declared that the primary objective of national security shall be to strengthen the Federal Republic of Nigeria; control crime, eliminate corruption, enhance genuine development, progress and growth and improve the welfare and well-being and quality of life of the citizenry. (Obasonjo in Attah, 2006) this responsibility is usually assigned to the armed forces. But the internal aspect of national security is never accorded much recognition nor attracts substantial; Nigeria government has no any well articulated policy on internal security. It has relied on adhoc measures, fire brigade approach, excessive use of force, road blocks and persuasion which is never respected by anybody. And this partly explains why the internal security of the nation has become very precarious. For instance, the devastating impact if armed robbery on the socio- economic   development of   Nigeria notwithstanding,   the agitation for a national conference on internal security is yet to be placed on the agenda for national discourse.

At a general level, security simply suggest freedom from danger of threats, safety-or the ability of the state to protect and promote its cherished values and legitimate interest and enhance the well being of its people. Therefore, according to Imobighe, internal security may be conceptualized as the freedom from or the  absence of those tendencies which could undermine internal cohesion and the corporate existence of the nation and its ability to maintain its vital institutions for the promotion of its core values and socio-political and economic objectives as well as meet the legitimate aspiration of the citizenry. It implies freedom form danger to life and property and the presence of conducive atmosphere for the people to purpose their legitimate matters within the society (Imobighe 1990).

Furthermore, internal security could also be defined as the totality of the nation’s equilibrium state which must be maintained to enhance the state performance of its responsibility without unnecessary interruptions from anywhere. Internal security involves government coordination of all those actions that would guarantee that the equilibrium of state is constantly maintained or quickly brought to normal whenever it is threatened by any form of civil disturbances or distractions from students, political or religious groups (Iweze 1990).

From the above it is crystal clear that internal security simply suggests freedom from threat and the ability of the government to create and sustain an atmosphere conducive for the pursuit of economic interest by the population without interruptions from anybody. And when there is a threat, it includes the ability of the government to quickly intervene to minimize the impact on the citizenry. Furthermore, it also includes the capacity of the government to create and maintain agencies and mechanism, and even institution that would guarantee freedom from danger. Therefore, threat to life and property be it from the armed robbers, Boko Haram attack, civil disturbances, roadblocks that endangered the road users and other distractions are symptomatic of lack of internal security.

A general assessment of the democratic dispensation from 1999 to date is that it has allowed people to vent their pent-up tension and disaffection with the existing social, political and economic order. This consequently led to the proliferation of militant ethnic and religious movements collectively referred to as militias. Starting from Odua People Congress (OPC), Arewa People’s Congress (APC), Bakassi Boys, Egbesu Boys of Africa (EBA), Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign  State of Biafra (MASSOB), Niger Delta Peoples’ Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), “Boko Haram” and other various groups that often do not have a specific label or designation. The activities of these groups posed considerable economic, social, human, and political threats to the sovereignty and co-existence of Nigeria and thus a threat to internal security. A general look at the activities of the members of these groups shows that they sometimes not only usurp the law enforcement functions of the police but also wear provocative uniforms and openly brandish offensive weapons without any authorization. These activities therefore seriously violate general laws that were made for ensuring due processes in law enforcement and criminal justice administration and for preserving public order and peace in the Nigerian society.

From the above, it is evidently clear that internal security in organically linked with the peaceful coexistence among Nigeria’s multi-ethnic population. If there is danger, if there is threat to lives and property and if there are civil disturbances, riots, demonstrations, communal and religious conflicts and, if the governments lack the capacity to tackle these problems effectively, then the peaceful co-existence of the diverse multi-ethnic groups would suffer.

At this juncture, one may ask, are there threats to internal security of Nigerian nation? And what are the causes, forms, effect and the solutions? These questions are all addressed as we progress in this research.

The Contending Issues (Causes, Types, Effects and Solutions)

The precarious security situation in Nigerian has shown very clearly that Nigerian is more threatened from within than from without or any external aggressors. In our attempt to explain the contending issues, unlike some other scholars who lumped the causes, forms and effects, a separation will be attempted here in order to address it from its root to give room for functional and effective solutions.

Causes of Internal Security Crisis in Nigeria

Many scholars have identified religious, political, intolerance, mismanagement of resources, subversion, sabotage, espionage, armed robbery, muting and coop d’état and so on as the main cause of internal security crisis in Nigeria. Yes they are, however, there are deeper structural problems arising from the inherent contradictions and that of the global financial economic crisis which are engendering conflicts and crisis that are manifesting in forms of political and religious, intolerance, corruption and resource mismanagement. These structural problems are:

  • Issues of good government and accountability that is still a mirage and lacking among our leaders, be it at the local government, state government and federal level. The issue is also lacking in the private sector of the economy. (Azee, 2005; Babawale, 2007 Akambi, 2004; Asemota, 2004).
  • Poor nature and scope of economic development this centres on what has been happening to poverty what has been happening to unemployment and what has been happening to inequality? (Alkali 1997, Artwood 1998, Boeniger, 1991, Muo, 2007).
  • The effects of rapid population growth on the economic development of Nigeria. This has been identified as a major cog in the wheel of economic development in Nigeria and reasons for internal security threat since 1960. (Bolatinwa, M. 1987, Buhari 1987, Lawal M.B 1995).
  • Electoral fraud as impediment to Nigeria’s search for internal security. Nigeria has a long history of electoral rigging and fraud that have been frustrating the wishes of the people to choose those who exercise political power. Precisely because of this history, elections in the country have often been associated with political tension and indeed violence and crises. (Adekanye, 1990, Chukwuma 2006, Daniel 2001, Jibrin 2006).
  • Growing rate of poverty and the Hungary among Nigerians. Poverty is a situation or condition of hopelessness and a condition of being poor and wretched Aliyu (1979) defined poverty as a situation in which people live below a predetermined standard value in terms of income and conditions of living, hence the rating and description of individual and nations as being poor. About 50% of Nigerians live below poverty line and about 70% live in rural areas with no infrastructure, food, shelter and so on. According to Aliyu, most Nigerians are hungry and always aggressive and intolerant. The effect of poverty and lack of food makes the poor to indulge in violence and antisocial activities which threatens the security of the state. (Agbede 2005, Eitzen 1980, Obasanjo 1999, Olagbemiro 199, Sunday Punch, 2006).
  • High rate illiteracy among Nigerians. The rate of illiteracy is very high in the country, figures from various education departments showed that education in some part of Nigeria has sustained a progressive decline over the years. The implication is that social, political and economic mobilization policies of the government do not trickle down to the majority of the youths and other agents of peace. (Alli 2006, Alphousus 2009, Suleiman 2008).
  • The consequence of corruption and unethical practice in Nigeria. Corruption is essentially the product of man’s greed for earthly grandeur, power and authority. It exists when an individual illegally or illicitly puts personal interest above those to the people and the ideals she or he is pledged to serve. Generally the in consequences of corruption and unethical practice in Nigeria are multi-dimensional and multi-faceted. The implications are overwhelming and have far reaching negative implications for internal security required for the nations co-existence and development. These consequences include: poor leadership, underdevelopment, unemployment, concentration of wealth on the hands of a few, political instability, internal insecurity and discouragement of foreign investors e.t.c. (Apenda, 2006, Igbama 2007/2008, Orngu 2006, Adule, 2005).
  • Synergy between national security and democratic rule. The linkage between national security and democratic rule is that of mutual transmissibility of impacts and repercussions. Therefore, with prolonged years of military rule,  it is expedient to note that only a democratic framework can provide succour to Nigerians at this critical security conjuncture, and create scope necessary for the transformation for the state from the authoritarian form experienced under the military rule to a people centered one. This will open up channels hitherto blocked for dialogue, negotiation and peaceful settlement of conflicts. (Suberm R.T 2003, Odogin 2005, Arowesegbe 2005).

Therefore, probably the nexus between national security crisis and democratic rule is like addressing the fundamental question-national security, whose security? If democracy is centered on the people and the people is said to mean the poor, disadvantaged, or the many, it therefore implies that for national security to be achieved to avoid crises, it must be people-oriented.

Nigeria’s perception of security is a reflection of a realist paradigm of projecting its power within a state centric system. This perception is increasingly becoming problematic. This is because a state-centric perception in democratic rule is an anachronism, along with growing internal opposition to the hegemonic statist perspective of national security. (Olukoshi 1992, Nweke 1988 and Imobighe 1986, 1986 and 1989) (In Cyril, 1997) argued that state and dominant class interest eclipse national security in Nigeria. The consequence of this is that national security planners tend to strengthen the coercive apparatus of any government any time the nation is faced with internal security challenges neglecting non-coercive and social welfare approaches.

Another synergy between security and democratic rule is seen in the huge budget on defense against public health, education, agriculture, and provision of essential services e.t.c. when you compare the budget allocation to national security and defense with other vital sectors mentioned above, the difference will justify where government priorities lies. However, the real security threat in Nigeria is the problem of underdevelopment, poverty, political instability and social injustice. These threats cannot be reasonably confronted by military preparedness. The crudest expression between security and the socio-economic and political structure is expressed by the cliché about the choice between the guns and butter.

More butter for the populace rather than guns to defend their peace. Dwight Eisenhower (in Briggs, 1990:313) corroborated this when he said: “no matter how much we spend for arms, there is no safety in arms alone. Our security is the total product of our economic, intellectual, moral and military strength” the emphasis here is that too much emphasis on military hardware does not necessarily determine national security or prevent security crisis. In Nigeria, the long years of military rule naturally concentrated on the military imperative, thereby neglecting the non-military option and this created a volatile atmosphere to peace and security. (Hank 2004, Aja 2008, Byrant 1995)

By implication therefore, we are all in a perpetual state of internal security crisis. As such security cannot be reasonably and adequately confronted by military preparedness. Booth in Nwolise, 2008, observed that one of the themes of the new thinking is the idea that security policy should have political accommodation as a primary and persistent aim. He further advocates for the emancipation of the individual. To him emancipation means:

Freeing people from those constraints that stop them from carrying out what freely they would choose to do of which war, poverty, oppression and poor education are a few… it is emancipation, not power and order, in theory and practice that leads to stable security.

Booth in Nwolise (2008) and Ali (2006) thinking along the same line posited that threats to national security can manifest in economic, political and social forms. McNamara (1968) again warns that coercive force alone cannot guarantee national security especially in situation of structural injustice and endemic poverty.

Other causes of insecurity in Nigerian, some scholars have adduced it the dysfunctional legal system, problem of job insecurity; greed capitalism practiced in the country; various class of corruption; and the unemployment of the youth especially those with primary and secondary and university education. (Specific manifestation)

Types of Internal Security Crisis in Nigeria

We can now discuss the specific manifestation of the internal security threat the Nigeria nation has experienced for several decades now. First and foremost, Nigerian state has experienced violent eruptions arising from political, religious and ethnic conflicts, Professor Elaigwu has cited numerous conflicts that resulted in the loss of lives and properties between 1980-2003 in Nigeria while Alubo cited about 89 between 1999 January 2004 (Elaigwu 2005, Alubo O. 2006). Most of these threats to the nation’s security involved the use of modern instruments of warfare and also essentially fought between majorities and minorities in several parts of the federation. In each of the threats, the integrity of Nigerian nation has been drastically affected or at least questioned.

The following has been classified as the experienced manifestation of threat to the nation’s security.

  • Controversial Census: Nigeria’s past experience of national censuses has not been pleasant; instead, it is replete and coloured with controversy based on regional or geopolitical and ethnic factors. Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about our economic planning was/is the failure successive government to conduct a successful census (Takaya, B. 1995).
  • Inter-Ethnic Rivalry: the inter-ethnic and religious communal protests have become an endemic phenomenon in Nigeria since independence. The know riot was a case in point. A cursory examination of the communal protests statistics confirms the negative role of primordial factors of religion and ethnicity. Of recent and even currently the communal protests cut across geo-political regions in Nigeria. For instance, the Ijo (Ijaw) Itshekiri and Urhobo with several other conflicts has become a perennial problem for the national government yet to be resolved. (Otite 2000). Some of these clashes had to the declaration of a state of emergency, traumatic and unhealthy upsurges suffered by those affected, and embarrassment on the national government on many occasions which had forces the government to give “short at sight orders”.
  • Revenue Allocation: this has been a long standing issue in Nigerian federalism. Being a plural society there has been agitation from the oil producing geo-political region that a fixed percentage of revenue accruing to the federation account directly from Natural resources are set aside as derivation for the region, perhaps this is to compensate communalities which suffer serve ecological degradation arising from the exploitation mineral resources in their areas.
  • National Conference it was/is an attempt to address the problems arising from the constitution that led to a Clarion call by ethnic minorities for the constitutional national conference to determine the future of Nigeria as a political entity. The neglect of this call raises internal security threat especially in the south east and south west political zones.
  • Federal Character: the federal character principle is a derivative of the plurality of the Nigeria society. It was to serve as positive steps to correct the political imbalances which have disadvantaged sections of the Nigeria society. As laudable as this principle is it has only encouraged mediocrity at the expense of meritocracy; tribalism, ethnicity and several other sentiments.
  • Geo-political zoning of Leadership: the complexity of the Nigerian society also called for a modified and peculiar presidential system in which six key executive and legislative offices are zoned and allowed to rotate among six identifiable geographical groups. In the implementation of this provision, the country had been divided into six zones.
  • North East
  • North West
  • North Central
  • South West
  • South East
  • Southern Minority (South South)

However the zoning of these key offices has only led to the marginalization of the minorities in choice of leaders outside their zone.

  • Leadership it appears Nigerian leadership is grafted on ethnic loyalty. Nigeria leaders still show this overtly or covertly in either administration. Such elements of ethnic and religion affinity still to divide Nigerians and encourage centrifugal forces to prevail. (Ake, 1967, Akindele, 1998, Dudleg 1973, Takaya 1995).
    • Wrong use of Security Agencies: the use of police, armed forces and security operatives to suppress, intimidate and subvert popular will has further brewed distaste and animosity between the people and security personal. As perceived agents for propagating unpopular state policies and for subverting the electoral process in elections, the task of creating healthy civil-police, civil-military and paramilitary relations will for all intent and purpose become more elusive. (Adejumobi 2003, Menamara 1968).
    • Existence of Political Militias: the tendency by the political parties to arm jobless youths for purpose of elections and other evil act has multiple effects on society. The task of disarming these elements is largely unsuccessful thereby increasing the rate of violent crimes, inter and intra- communal strife and security crisis. (Ajayi 2009).
    • Monetization of the Political Process: this has restricted political participation particularly at the highest levels to only those who can afford it. (Antonia 2005, Bello, 2003).

Effects of Internal Security Crisis

Internal security in Nigeria has both short and long-term consequences. In the short term, when mobilized cultural symbols charge people to violent action. The immediate effects are devastation both calculated and mob action lead to massacres and widespread losses of human capital-warriors, community leaders, vibrant youths, entrepreneurs, occupational specialists, husbands, wives, children etc. There are also devastations of property-houses, farmland and crops, farm equipment, live stocks and vehicles e.t.c.

In addition, there has been increased urban violence coordinated by ethnic militia. The intra-ethnic conflicts have graduated from more outbursts of violence in Lagos, Kaduna, Zaria, Kano, Jos, Suleja and other cities to a near-war situation in the South-South. The security situation in the country has become so precious that hostage-taking of oil worked and some government officials, vandalization of oil pipelines, kidnapping bomb blast of religious places market and schools are becoming uncontrollable.

Presently secessionist movements have emerged such as the movement for the actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra (MASSOB), the “Taliban” and the “Boko Haram” groups in north east, agitating for the reconstruction of Nigeria as an Islamic country and the abolishment of western culture especially education. There are also volunteer forces in the Nigeria delta demanding control of the oil wealth. All these new rebellions movement constitute threat to the internal security of Nigeria and obstacles against national integration and development.

There is also a deployment of government troops, the Nigeria police, mobile police, army, and navy to quell or control some of these internal security threats. Beside the government normally set up commissions of enquiry to examine the remote and immediate causes of these conflicts. All of these activities have led to a diversion of scares resources, human, material and finance to resolve such conflicts.

The incidence of mismanagement of resources is well known and do not deserve our comment here. Except to agree that, energy kobo stolen in Nigeria contribute to national insecurity. It simply means the weakening of state capacity to provide the basic needs of the people. People are forced into all lands of criminality because of their poor material existence. This assumption is at the root of at armed robberies, human trafficking drug abuse, prostitution, etc, that have become in recent times.

There is also the problem of subversion – a calculated move or series of clandestine activities designed to undermine the nation’s governmental set-up. Sabotage/ vandalization, the deliberate destructions of an industrial process, including the human and natural resources or public utilities as well as sensitive military, oil installation in order to grind the nations to a halt! Moreover, espionage, smuggling, influx of alien and political assassination constitute real threat to national security.

Poor image in the international community: internal security threat has lowered the image of the country and makes it unattractive in the eyes of the international community. The international community deals with nations with security threat with a lot of deep-seated fear and suspicions. Nigeria is no longer respected globally and many investors are forced to relocate to other west African countries due to threat to lives and properties (Campbell 2009).

Underdevelopment of the Country: internal security crisis 1960’s is responsible for the ills of Nigeria. It is responsible for poor standard and lack of public utilities such as roads, unstable electing supply, and low standard of schools. Because of internal security crisis and real threat to providers and facilitators of those facilities.

Unemployment: large scale eruptions of ethnic religious and other conflicts witness in this nations has discouraged investors especially the private sector. Consequently the teeming youths who graduate from educational institutions remain unemployment and idle in the major cities. These youths engage in anti-social vices such as armed robbery, drug abuse, prostitution, vandalism, cultism etc, in order to make ends meet.

Low Foreign Direct Investment: Foreign investors become discouraged in investing in nations that will reduce the investors’ competitive advantage due to internal security threat. Nigeria since the intensification of internal security threats has been losing the benefit of the current globalization dividends and phenomenon.

It affects the stability of government: loyalties are fragmented by thoughts of fear and improbabilities, thereby destabilizes the institutions of the state. The efficiency and efficacy of institutions of both public and private as decisions-making process is not only slowed down but also is incoherent and often irrational when a nation faces internal security crisis.

Flight of Graduates: internal security threat causes talented and skilled people to seek employment outside the country rather than stay and engage themselves in productive activities for the nation’s development. Out of fear, and threat to lives and properties some Nigerian university graduates prefer to live and work in Europe, America and some Arab countries even with less salaries and loss of dignity.

Solutions to the Internal Security Crisis in Nigerian

From the foregoing we can clearly see the damaging consequences of internal security threats as shown in different perspective. However, how has the Nigerian state managed her internal security crisis? What are the available mechanisms for minimizing the impact of these activities? The instruments of internal security are those agencies vested with the responsibility of internal security of any given country. The instruments can be divided into two categories namely the coercive and non- coercive. The coercive instruments are the armed forces (the Army, Navy and air force and the Nigerian police force). The non coercive instruments are those agencies whose activities must of necessity not attract public attention. These are State Security Service (SSS), the Custom and Exercise Department, the Immigration Department, the Nigerian Prison Service, the Federal and State Fire Service, the Security Unit of Cabinet Office, the Judiciary, Civil Defense and the Federal Road Safety Corps Marshal and some established by some state government in South East, West and South-South.

The political use of the above agencies and paucity of funds have distorted their functions. The military is capable but it is primarily trained to protect the territorial integrity of the nations. In situation where they have been invited, it has been tragedies because of the impact of their mortal shell! While the Nigerian police in spite of the change of symbols to policing with integrity. The public perception of their role has hardly changed it is evidence that Nigerian police are poorly trained and poorly equipped. The society is very hostile to them. They are yet to be trusted! Road users are intimidated to pay tithes at road blocks. The police commission can still do something.

With the above points in minds this aspect of the paper recommends that:

  • Orientation of the armed forces on coercive and non-coercive force should be constantly embarked upon.
  • Proper and more modern way of security management networking as adopted by some advance state of the world may be adopted.
  • Modern and state of the art equipment weapons and logistics are provided the armed forces and other security agencies.
  • More funding and proper management of such funds be instituted in all governmental and private security agencies.
  • There is the urgent need for the government to address and tackle the issue of poverty, hunger, quality education, population growth, and crime, underdevelopment corruptions in the private and public institutions.
  • The appointed elected or nominated political leaders should apply good governance and accountability while in office and those found guilty of deviancy be prosecuted and banned from office.
  • Mediation, intervention, dialog, government enquires, intercession by government delegates and traditional rules and other Nigerians of substance should always be used to settle internal security threats rather than raw and brutal application of military might been experience any time there is any eruptions of security crisis in the country. (Ali 1993, Alubo 2006, Otite 2000, Fleiner 2002, Imobighe 1990).
  • Our type of “greed and timid capitalism” need reformation this type of greed and timid capitalism operated in Nigerian encourages people to accumulate wealth for themselves and their families as much as possible many people find the African culture of sheering a difficult thing to do, since they are used to accumulating and hoarding much for themselves. These habits do not encourage poverty alleviation.
  • The government and the private sector should promote rural development, including sustainable agricultural programmed and management of natural resources this will g0o along way in providing employment for millions of our youths that want to stay and earn a living in the rural areas (Agbaje 2009).
  • Election violence can be minimized or combed if political parties and voters play the game according to the rules the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian constitution have set out the rules and rogations that are expected to guide the conduct of election in this country if all those involved in electoral activities adhere to these rules and regulations, the incidence of violence and real threat to the nations security during elections would be minimize or even completely eradicated. (Alloysius 2005, Diamond 1999).
  • A total restructuring of the productions and reward system so that those who engage in production event the level of rural peasants get appropriate reward for their activities rather than over inflating the economy through bogus remunerations and allowances to politically elected or appointed officials.
  • Inflations must be controlled. Multinational cooperation must be kept in check and profit made reinvested in the country for further development.
  • Practice of true federalism. The persistent clamor for more power for the states, especially in terms of fiscal autonomy and control over police, emergence of ‘political Shariah’ and increased contestation over citizenship are some of the more immediate consequences of the contractions between a non-centrist political society and over-centralized federal system. To a large extent, the federal structure was out of place with the realities and demands of political society. This largely explains the persistent demands for constitutional reform by champions of ethno-regional interests and those who believe that only true federalism can successfully manage the problems of internal security threats. True federalism is expected to align with the dynamic demands of political society. (Adele 1985, Eghosa 1988).
  • Early warning signals of ethnic conflict should not be ignored by the state. In several cases, there are clear traditional stages between the beginning of the escalation of tension and the outbreak of violence-warning signals that precede full-scale conflict. It is during these traditional moments that interventions are very crucial.
  • Above all, the ethnic groups must be provided the opportunity to renegotiate their co-existence in a federal system.


The Nigerian federation is more threatened within than any external aggressors. This chapter therefore posits that the security of a country does not depend solely or primarily on the country’s military capacities but on the strength and reliability of the various interrelated linkages which could ensure and sustain unity in diversity, promote technocratic rule and expected development. There is therefore a need for a re-think because burrowing from ken booth’s phrase of what he referred to as “The somewhat declining currency of military strength”, socio-economic development and human security should form the bedrock of national security because it is the security of the ordinarily man and women in a society especially in a multi-ethnic states like Nigerian that translate into the security of the nation. Our nascent democracy headed by our promising president Good luck Ebele Jonathan cannot thrive in an atmosphere of instability and insecurity. So it is only in a genuine democracy that citizen can control or influence government decision and actions bearing in mind that the security of the state is not threatened.


• A proper and more current method of security management networking, such as those used by several advanced countries, should be adopted.
• The military forces, and other security institutions should be provided with cutting-edge equipment, weapons, and logistics and training on the use of coercive and non-coercive force.
• All public and private security agencies should be allotted more financing with proper management of such funds.
• The government must address and deal with the issues of poverty, hunger, quality education, population increase, crime, underdevelopment, and corruption in private and governmental entities as soon as possible.
• While in government, appointed or elected political leaders should practice good governance and accountability while sanctioning defaulters.

About the Author(s):

Egbefo, Dawood Omolumen(Ph.D.): Lecturer, University, Lapai, Niger State, Nigeria

Salihu, Hadizat Audu (TRCN) Department of History and Heritage Studies, Kwara State University

Source: International Journal of Arts and Humanities

Keywords: Internal security, Government, Management and control, Crisis

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