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A country in a quandary where millions and millions of people require assistance in one form or other, where buying newspapers, magazines, and books is a luxury, people being displaced, and the horrendous terrorism of mass abduction of school kids is intermittently growing foolhardy.
“Our country’s history is fraught with episodes of authoritarian governments stifling freedom of speech, with dire consequenes for anyone who spoke out of line.” `~ Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani (journalist)
Let’s take a glimpse of the country’s status and its history. It is Africa’s leader in many aspects:
, → Population of over 200 million
→ GDP of 514 billion USD
→ The largest economy in Africa
→The largest shareholder of African development bank
and many other activities
The country gained its independence from the UK in 1960 and since then, it faces various forms of major instability, whether political, economic, social and security challenges. Despite being Africa’s leader and ahead in many other aspects globally it is still a highly underdeveloped country incapable of exploiting its desired potentiality. It receives the major portion of the foreign assistance from the US, it still stands among the world’s lowest Human Development Index, it has failed to improve its crumbling infrastructures, it has failed to improve the lifestyle of its citizen.
Nigeria’s pension system is quoted as “RETIREMENT HELL” the elderly who are supposed to receive their pension has been reported as dead on the government’s report and now with little money or no money left with them they had to rely on their relatives, friends, and well-wishers. The government has sanctioned the social media platforms by introducing an “Anti-Social Media Bill” which criminalizes peddling false and malicious information and now the citizens are feared of it. According to the bill, those who are convicted will be fined 300,000 Naira and 3 years of imprisonment.
“We are sitting on a time bomb on the issues of fake news”
– Information minister (Nigeria)
It is said that it’s just their way of suppressing activism and prevent any act of confrontation against the state. #ENDSARS It can be related to the anti-police brutality protests that swept across the country for two weeks and not to forget Twitter played a key role in it. There were unconstitutional attacks and arrests by the security personnel on a large scale. However, there are valid cases against the negative impact of social media in Nigeria. Various ethnic rivalries, religious intolerance, and other forms of aggression have been staked by fake news items on social media and are widespread in Nigeria.
There used to be “Military Rule” in the country from 1983-1999, the period in which those who criticize the government were harassed and detained. In 1984 the government passed a decree which even shut all means of communication viz.TV, radio, newspapers, and others.
The country suffers from ethnic and religious strife and the most common reason is the land issues, job issues, socio-economic issues, and others and often these are fueled by the politicians that constitute the major issue. The southern part of the country struggles profusely with social unrest, criminal activities, and corruption.
When we discuss the various social issues we find Islamic sharia law is one of ‘em. When we divide the country into north and south we find that majority of the Muslims resides in the northern part and Nigeria has allowed the Muslim community to control and manage their issues with their Islamic sharia law which means it doesn’t apply to the citizens living in the southern part where the majority is Christianity and other communities except the Muslim community. But when we throw light on this fact we find that the Muslim communities don’t care about the religion of the people living in the northern parts while enforcing their Islamic sharia law.
Another issue is the ‘BOKO HARAM’ and Militants in Nigeria. Boko Haram is the deadliest and most active terrorist organization in Nigeria. We are not devoid of the fact – the regions, states, or area which struggles with the crumbling infrastructure, social-ethnic clashes, unemployment, frustrations with the corruption ultimately give rise to terrorism and sooner this deadly disease engulfs the nearby region too, that is the case of Nigeria. There have been studies and reports prepared which reflect that millions and millions of people have been internally displaced and thousands of people killed in these nefarious acts.
A dispute in Boko Haram’s leadership also has added to the further terrorism leading to the foundation of Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) which is recognized as a foreign terrorist organization by the state department in 2018.
Nigeria Delta and its Militants
The country has enormous oil wealth and to surprise it has also been a source of huge turmoil in the region. With the drilling of oil from the sea since 1958, the country inadvertently spilled millions of barrels of oil in the region because of a lack of required infrastructure or one can say the lack of leadership. The government launched a billion-dollar project to recover the loss but it has only led to the increased conflict and violence in the region and increased attacks on oil installations have pushed the country into recession. Piracy has increased on the “GULF of GUINEA” and increased attacks on oil installations pose a threat to oil production. It is one of the world’s largest exporters of crude oil but still imports 90% of the country’s domestic gasoline requirement and also suffers from fuel and electricity shortages.
The country hasn’t done its homework on “Natural Gas Flaring” it is a concept of not having a remarkable infrastructure of exploiting the natural gas reserve.
There are also innumerable cases of Security sector abuse, if we shed some light on the security forces and the police forces of Nigeria they have gone maniacal committing human rights abuses, brutality, harassment, bribery, torture, and extrajudicial killings which to my knowledge is not what the security sector is meant for.
The country’s enormous subsidy on fuel hampered the economic growth and the increase in global oil price did little to counterbalance such inflated subsidy costs. The people often misemployed this subsidy and involved in blacking the subsidized resources for higher prices in the nearby regions.
Why the country is not being able to counteract??
A report prepared by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace concluded that “decades of unchecked corruption have hollowed out the Nigerian military and security services and rendered them unable to effectively combat Boko Haram or ethnic-religious and communal conflicts.” Lack of coordination and cooperation between various administrating authorities and security forces, and service intelligence inflames the problem. It ranks poorly in the transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.
In 2015, the country stumbled to the point that it even borrowed money for international organizations for paying its government employee.
In 2018, Nigerian National Power Corporation (NNPC) stated that the country is paying $2 million USD as its assistance in the form of a daily subsidy and therefore the government reduced subsidies dramatically which adds to further the violence and strikes in the states forcing the government to restore its previous subsidy to a large extent.
In June 2018, World Bank announced that it had approved a total of $ 2.1 billion USD in concessionary loans to Nigeria through its International Development Association entity to support access to the basic infrastructure to the country viz. Access to electricity, promotion of nutrition programs, improving sanitation, piped water connection which is very low, and enhancing governance. The government’s Eurobond sales gathered $ 4.8 billion USD in 2017 with an additional $ 2.5 million USD sold in Feb 2018.
It is one of the least performings countries on the Human Development Index begging rank among the top 25 countries from the bottom. According to the World Malaria Report 2020, 27% of the global malarial case is in Nigeria and also 23% of the global malarial deaths. In terms of Tuberculosis, it ranks 7th among 30 high TB burden countries, and also it has the world’s second-largest HIV/AIDS infected population.
China has supported Nigeria a lot in terms of economy, it has profusely invested in a variety of infrastructures such as transport, manufacturing, agriculture, energy, and hydropower projects.
While summing up my words I would like to say that the country needs to be salvaged out of its misery. Fighting terrorism is Sisyphean but we the world, the big economies, the international forums together can retaliate it in a way or another. The whole world is fighting it in a way or other, the journalists by penning down their thoughts, the media by spreading awareness and measures, the business personalities by working in a way to provide jobs, employments, and upgrading their economy, the government of all countries are trying in their own way, the service sector by providing their services, the citizens by cooperating (except the unwanted element of society who furthers this violence and terrorism), the working class, the institutions and others. The various forums hold and conclude meetings every year with the objective of countering terrorism, fighting global climate change, boosting the economy of the country, ensuring education to be delivered to each being of this earth i.e. bickering about making the world a better place to live is of no use or their adoptive measures are going to be established just on papers, leaving and pushing these countries into Gehenna deeper and deeper until the terrorist organization of these countries is strong and powerful enough to spread the terrorism in other regions, states, and countries. It is obvious that no country wants to risk the life of its soldier sending them to terrorist affected countries to conclude a peace which is Sisyphean but it has already become the need of the hour, did we fail to retaliate, every economy will pay for an un-tradable price in a way or other. The young kids, youths, and people who deserve a better future will end up being entangled in another decade of terrorism, rather than getting precocious they are forced to hold guns in their teensy hands.
(An ordinary being)