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Egunjobi T. Adenik: Poverty, Unemployment and Insecurity Challenges in Nigeria

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Dr. Egunjobi T. Adenik is a Nigerian economist. Her research interests are in political ecology, tropical agriculture, environmental and development policy, and livelihood security. Much of his fieldwork has been conducted in West and Southern Africa.Her research over the past few years has fallen into three broad categories:

1) analysing the broader political economy and interactions between local people and the environment (or political ecology); 2) livelihood security, famine early warning, and hunger; and 3) environmental dimensions of modern and traditional agriculture. She also has a decade of practical experience in the field of international development, having worked as a project manager and policy analyst for organizations such as the World Bank's Environment Department.

Poverty, Unemployment and Insecurity Challenges in Nigeria

The type of insecurity she wrote about can be described as insecurity arising from banditry, insurgency, Boko haram (terrorism), kidnappings of nationals and foreigners, robbery of various kinds, bomb explosions in major centres and prisons, ethnic conflicts, Fulani herdsman unlawful possession of farmlands, capture of territories and cultism. These activities lead to death, using people for rituals, burning, loss of property and assets and displacement of citizens in the affected areas which have grave consequences on the political, social and economic sustainability of the economy, and of course the welfare of citizens. Currently, many third-world countries, especially in the African region, are not only experiencing economic development stagnation but also social upheaval. In this context, SPCIS invited Dr. Adenik to share her insights and recommendations on how to perceive and address the security threats faced by these countries.

Currently, Nigeria faces several security challenges and ranks as the 16th most dangerous country; (Nigerian Tribune, 2019), and also 151 out of 162 in the 2014 Global Peace Index. It can be inferred the pattern of insecurity is regionalized: insurgency and murder by Fulani herdsmen is prominent in the north; kidnapping exist in the south and predominantly in the south - east; the militia groups and ritual killings are prevalent in the south; with political and non-political assassinations prominent in all regions.

The factors that can lead to insecurity and its increase can be divided into remote and proximate factors. The remote factors include; the loss of a socio-cultural and communal value system, quest for power and authority, insincerity by public officers, corruption, inadequate infrastructures, low social security, weak security system, low institutional capacity due to government failure to perform her traditional functions and ethno-religious conflicts. The immediate and proximate factors include unemployment, poverty, inequality, porous borders, rural/urban drift, low corporate social responsibility by the private sector, terrorism and injustice mainly by the judicial arm of government.

2. Ways of solving insecurity challenges include;

  • Reducing poverty by promoting inclusive growth and ensuring that poverty programs target the poor as beneficiaries. Policies must also be geared towards reducing the inequality gap.

  • Reducing unemployment through creating jobs and creating environment favourable for the promotion and success of entrepreneurship. Generating employment can be done through private-public partnership, making macro- and micro-economic policies that will allow both local and international businesses to thrive and encouraging the establishment of small- and medium-enterprises, especially among the youths.

  • Conviction and strict penalties for perpetrators when captured to serve as deterrent and in addition, a fair, impartial and efficient judicial system. This will make such atrocities unattractive.

  • A strong and committed armed force is needed to fight against insurgency thus, procuring sophisticated arms and ammunition if possible superior to the opposition is a requirement. In this regard, the menace, corruption among public officers which increases the quest among youths to get rich quick and spent money lavishly should be curtailed.

  • Having a strong value system where hard work is honored and recognized as against respecting the wealthy even when the source of such wealth is questionable must be pursued.

The current policies in Nigeria do take cognizance of poverty, unemployment and insecurity issues, however making necessary policies and implementation of such policies are different matters in Nigeria. A lot of these policies are never implemented in such a manner to bring the desired results. For example, most policies geared towards poverty reduction do not target the poor but are distributed politically and tainted with corrupt practices. It was discovered that it has become avenue for some citizens basically the rich to continue enriching themselves with public funds without performing any meaningful service. Thus, while government make good policies, implementation is not properly handled to feel the desired effect on the people (poor, who are the target) and the economy.

Again, while entrepreneurship studies have been included in school curriculum, many graduates are yet unskilled and cannot start their own businesses and where they possess such skills there exists financial and infrastructural constraints that makes starting impossible. Although policies exist to take care of such challenges on paper but not in implementation. An example is the establishment of micro finance banks to enable small and medium scale businesses assess loans with little or no collateral. However, most entrepreneurs are discouraged from assessing such loans because of the high interest rate and the short payback period.

Contact: Xu Feiyao

Interview: Ye Jiewen

Editor: Sun Zhishan



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