Eco­nomic cost of Nige­rian in­se­cu­rity

Business Day (Nigeria) - - COMMENT -

The Boko Haram in­sur­gency started as an­other in­sur­gency, in the Niger Delta, was thaw­ing fol­low­ing the amnesty pro­gramme of the fed­eral govern­ment in the same pe­riod. A decade af­ter, Nige­ria’s nu­mer­ous in­ter­nal se­cu­rity crises have in­ten­si­fied. Most no­table among the myr­iad of is­sues is the Boko Haram in­sur­gency in the North East that has given birth to other chal­lenges in the north such as break­away Is­lamist fac­tions such as the Is­lamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and An­saru; and a pas­toral con­flict in the North West and North Cen­tral, a re­source war that is threat­en­ing to turn into a full-fledged eth­nore­li­gious war es­pe­cially in the old North­ern cap­i­tal of Kaduna.

In vir­tu­ally all sec­tions and geopo­lit­i­cal zones of the coun­try are a form of ris­ing vi­o­lence or an­other, of­ten chal­leng­ing the Nige­rian state for ter­ri­to­rial con­trol. Kidnap for ran­som which was once the strat­egy of Niger Delta mil­i­tants threat­en­ing to crip­ple the coun­try’s oil-based econ­omy, is now be­ing car­ried out as a full busi­ness ven­ture by youths and other or­gan­ised armed groups op­er­at­ing in large un­governed spa­ces and forests across the coun­try.

Sam­bisa For­est in Borno state which is now used as one of Boko Haram’s key stag­ing ar­eas is a sym­bol of the tragedy of eco­nomic rev­enue lost to vi­o­lence and in­se­cu­rity. The Bri­tish colo­nial ad­min­is­tra­tion had gazetted the Sam­bisa For­est as a re­serve in 1958, mak­ing it one of the con­ser­va­tion lega­cies be­queathed to the Nige­rian state by the colo­nial govern­ment. In 1977, the area was re-gazetted as a Na­tional Game Re­serve for the preser­va­tion of rare an­i­mals and also as a way of gen­er­at­ing funds from tourism. The for­est, which was home to a va­ri­ety of wild an­i­mals such as bush ele­phants, leop­ards, lions, hye­nas, ba­boons, mon­keys of var­i­ous species, and gazelle, as well as about 62 dif­fer­ent species of birds is now home to squadrons and bat­tal­ions of troops from the Multi­na­tional Joint Task Force from Nige­ria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon, as well as Boko Haram.

The ear­lier vi­o­lence in the South has left the coun­try’s oil fa­cil­i­ties un­der a shoddy amnesty that pre­serves an un­easy peace, but the un­easi­ness of the peace is be­ing felt in hot ca­pac­ity across Nige­ria’s ter­ri­to­rial and in­ter­na­tional wa­ter­ways in the Gulf of Guinea. Ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Bureau, pi­rates kid­napped 27 crew mem­bers in the first half of 2019 alone, and one in four global piracy in­ci­dents in 2018 hap­pened within Nige­ria’s ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters, ac­cord­ing to in­ter­na­tional in­sur­ance car­rier Al­lianz Global. About 45 per­cent of global piracy oc­curred in the Gulf of

Guinea in the first quar­ter of this year, ac­cord­ing to Al­lianz. There were 47 re­ported in­ci­dents, up from 38 a year ago, mostly tar­get­ing con­tainer ships and bulk car­ri­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to Al­jazeera, the eco­nomic cost of this piracy in the re­gion in 2017 was $818 mil­lion, a no­table in­crease from the $793.7 mil­lion it was in 2016. Out of the $818m, a quar­ter was spent on pay­ing for mar­itime se­cu­rity in a re­port from Oceans Be­yond Piracy (2017). Pre­vi­ously in 2012, the cost of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea due to stolen goods, se­cu­rity, and in­sur­ance was es­ti­mated to be about $2 bil­lion. These fig­ures are a to­tally dif­fer­ent dis­cus­sion about the im­pact of vi­o­lence in oil pro­duc­ing ar­eas that some­how af­fect oil pro­duc­tion, lead­ing Nige­ria to lose about 400,000 bar­rels of oil to crude oil theft, which amounted to at least N4.8 bil­lion in 2015. Main­tain­ing the same amount in theft in 2019 when Nige­ria be­came the world’s cap­i­tal on oil theft, the coun­try lost about N1tril­lion.

In a coun­try squeezed for rev­enue thus lead­ing to ques­tion­able tax poli­cies such as the stamp duty on rent as well an anti-busi­ness pol­icy (now sus­pended) that sought to make NIPOST a com­peti­tor to, as well as a reg­u­la­tor in the lo­gis­tics sec­tor of the econ­omy, we are yet to take into ac­count how ris­ing lev­els of vi­o­lence af­fects our im­age, which in turn af­fects the econ­omy. Nige­ria has an im­age prob­lem. The US State Depart­ment’s travel ad­vi­sory for 2019 to­tally ad­vises its cit­i­zens against trav­el­ling to at least 24 out of 36 states in Nige­ria. When the US em­bassy an­nounced an im­me­di­ate in­def­i­nite sus­pen­sion of in­ter­view waivers for visa re­newals for ap­pli­cants in Nige­ria, the rea­son given was not just be­cause Nige­ri­ans over­stay their visa. It was also due to the fact that non-nige­ri­ans were us­ing Nige­rian pass­ports to ap­ply for Amer­i­can visas which con­sti­tutes a se­cu­rity threat to the US.

There are a lot of things Nige­ria needs to fix, but if it would seek to com­mand re­spect glob­ally, it must fix its in­ter­nal se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.