In the last few years, security issues have intensified in Nigeria. From periodic insurgents’ onslaught and farmers-herders lethal clashes to unending inter-communal clashes. In addition to the recent surge in indiscriminate ransom kidnap, human trafficking, cultism, violent robberies. Nigeria’s security woes seem endless. The 2019 report of the Global Terrorism Index ranks Nigeria third among 163 countries on the scale of key global security trends and patterns of terrorism. The report reveals that Nigeria accounted for 13 per cent of all terrorism-related deaths globally in 2018, with a 33 per cent rise in the number of fatalities compared to 2017.
Nigeria has maintained the third position since 2015, suggesting that efforts targeted at mitigating security challenges have not produced optimal results. But that may also slightly not be the case. According to the report, terror-related incidents in the country increased from 411 in 2017 to 562 in 2018, and deaths from terrorism rose to 2,040 in the same year. Notably, there was a significant decline in body counts by insurgents in the Northeast to a rise of fatality in the middle belt region largely caused by farmers-herders crisis. Currently, banditry has plagued most parts of the Northwest and extensively Northcentral region. Aside from the terror-troubled Northeast region, other parts of the country have witnessed a marginal increase in security threats. It is highly suggestive that violence and conflict are shifting from the Northeast to other parts of the country.
2019 can largely be regarded as a rough year in Nigeria in terms of the surge of insecurity. The Nigerian state in August revealed that with about 330 attacks, bandits killed over 1400 people within seven months. According to the Nigerian Police Force, 685 people were kidnapped in the first quarter of 2019 and there were 1071 deaths caused in crime-related events, with Northwest region topping the death list. While ensuring adequate measures to counter-terrorism in the Northeast, it is important that adequate attention is given to rising trends of insecurities in other regions of the country.
With the Northwest region now a hotbed for bandits, the current peace deals by state governments in the region should be comprehensively evaluated and implemented to ensure that it can broker stability and sustainable peace in the region. Also, interstate highways have become havens for kidnapping gangs, highway patrols should be increased to ensure that they are free and safe for road users. The long-sought security sector reform and the Nigeria police bill should be fast-tracked to position the nation’s security sector and its agencies to be able to manage the new and ever-evolving dynamics of security challenges in the country. Acting on reliable data, relevant government institutions should take proactive policy actions to checkmate the new security trends.