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AYGF Calls for Collaborative Action to Address Nation’s Insecurity and Economic Woes.

Africa Youth Growth Foundation has called for concerted efforts by the government, security agencies, civil society, and other relevant stakeholders to address the state of insecurity and the unstable economy.

Speaking at the AYGF 2024 Annual Retreat, the executive director Dr. Arome Salifu noted that for more than a decade, Nigeria has been plagued by unprecedented occurrences of violence, crime, and insecurity. In recent years, the rise of herders-farmers clashes has been notable, with Benue State at the center experiencing the deadliest attacks. Disputes over land and resources, intensified by climate change and the spread of the Sahara Desert, have also led to violent conflicts resulting in numerous casualties. The attack in Plateau state earlier in the year also further highlights the urgent need for intervention and resolution in these communal conflicts.

In 2022, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) continued to operate and control territory, facing setbacks from the military’s counter-insurgency campaign and infighting with Boko Haram. The North West witnessed deadly raids and kidnappings for ransom by various bandit groups, adding to the complexity of the security situation. The Middle Belt region, characterized by conflicts between pastoralists and farming communities, contributed to over 57% of reported civilian fatalities. These challenges emphasize the necessity for a comprehensive and strategic approach to address the root causes of insecurity.

Nigeria’s southern states faced occasional outbreaks of violence, including banditry, cultism, and increasing electoral violence. The South East witnessed an intensified separatist insurgency by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), leading to attacks against security forces and electoral officials. The proliferation of local security outfits, while praised for assisting federal security forces, raises concerns about accountability, human rights abuses, and alleged collusion with local political elites.

Notably, Nigeria was cited as one of the most violent countries in Africa, with an increase in political violence events and approximately 3,900 fatalities resulting from violence targeting civilians. The North West and the Middle Belt regions accounted for two-thirds of overall civilian fatalities, emphasizing the need for concerted efforts to address violence against civilians nationwide (ACLED – Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project)

Dr. Arome Salifu further noted that the issue of kidnapping, particularly the abduction of schoolchildren, poses a severe threat to families in Nigeria. Over 1,000 students have been abducted since December 2020 with the kidnapping industry expanding into previously safe areas. Barely a week into the New Year, Five sisters were abducted by gunmen in Abuja, the nation’s capital, with the eldest being executed despite the payment of the ransom provided. In another case, 30 people were abducted along the Abuja-Kaduna highway at Dogon Fili in northwestern Kaduna state. Mass abductions and kidnappings for ransom have been a nationwide problem for several years but kick-started in the new year at a rapid pace (DW, 2024). The need for effective measures to counteract this threat is evident, as it jeopardizes education, livelihood, and the well-being of rural and urban communities and citizens at large which are some of the thematic focus at AYGF. 

One could also fault the increase in crime and violence nationwide on the current state of the Nigerian economy as it has become unbearable, for the average Nigerian to get by financially and in all capacities, especially since the removal of fuel subsidy in June 2023. A decision that was aimed at redirecting funds towards public infrastructure, education, healthcare, and job creation by the newly elected (at the time) President Bola Tinubu. However, the decision resulted in a significant rise in transportation costs and food prices across the country, impacting the daily lives of Nigerians. Various critics noted that the decision would drastically increase poverty levels and disproportionately impact the most vulnerable sectors of society (Business Insider Africa, 2023) which was the case in the immediate aftermath. 

In addressing these challenges, AYGF made the following recommendations to the government, non-state actors, and stakeholders:


  1. Integrated Approach to Insecurity and Economic Development: Advocating for an integrated approach that addresses both the economic challenges and insecurity concurrently. The government should formulate comprehensive policies that synergize efforts to boost economic growth while simultaneously addressing security concerns. 

This might include increasing targeted investments in key sectors, such as agriculture and infrastructure, to stimulate economic development and create employment opportunities, thereby contributing to enhanced security.

  1. Strengthening Intelligence and Security Cooperation: The importance of strengthening intelligence capabilities and fostering collaboration among security agencies cannot be overemphasized. We recommend the establishment of a coordinated and intelligence-driven approach to counter insecurity, involving information sharing and joint operations both at local and national levels.
  2. Investment in Youth Empowerment and Skill Development: Increased investments in youth empowerment programs and skill development initiatives. The government should focus on equipping the youth with relevant skills for employment and entrepreneurship. This approach not only addresses economic challenges by fostering a skilled workforce but also mitigates the risk of youth involvement in criminal activities due to unemployment.
  3. Transparency and Accountability in Economic Management: The government should communicate openly about economic policies, budget allocations, and resource management on all fronts. With more effective measures to curb corruption and ensure that financial resources are utilized effectively for sustainable development, fostering public trust and contributing to economic stability.
  4. Community Engagement and Conflict Resolution Mechanisms: Community engagement and the establishment of effective conflict resolution mechanisms are very crucial. The government and key stakeholders should foster dialogue between communities, address grievances, and promote understanding. Investing in community development projects and initiatives that address the root causes of conflicts can contribute to lasting peace and stability, thereby creating an environment conducive to economic growth.
  5. Government Action on Currency Crises and Support for Local Economy: Lastly, We urge the government to take decisive action on the crises surrounding the exchange rates of the naira and the dollar, as they significantly worsen Nigeria’s economic conditions through inflation. In tandem with this, we call upon Nigerians to support locally-made goods and services, contributing to the mitigation of these adverse effects on the economy.

These recommendations collectively aim to address intertwined challenges of economic development and insecurity in Nigeria, fostering a comprehensive and sustainable path towards progress. Africa Youth Growth Foundation hopes that in 2024, despite the challenges from last year and earlier this year, Nigerians will experience better days and that the government and other relevant stakeholders will see to it that we attain greater heights.

© 2023 AYGF Nigeria

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