The research investigated the peace building initiatives and insecurity concerns in Nigeria with particular reference to the North-East experience in relation to national security. The relationship between insecurity and peace building, the impact of insurgencies on national security, the contributions of the United Nations (UN) in addressing the menace and the challenges will also be discussed. This study covers the period of 2008-2018.
The study adopted the qualitative approach using secondary data to solve the research problem. Findings revealed that effects of insecurity and violence on the national security of Nigeria to be insecurity, poverty, poor socioeconomic development, unemployment, forced displacement and wanton destruction of lives and properties. Also the issues encountered by the various security agencies in combating the incidence of insecurity and violence in Nigeria were identified to be poor funding, lack of basic equipment, poor welfare package and lack of training of the security personnel. The strategies to tackle this issues rest majorly on the government to provide all these necessary things in order to counter insecurity and violence in Nigeria. Analysis on the partnership and contributions of the United Nations (UN) in addressing the scourge of insecurity and violence in North-East Nigeria revealed that UN has mobilized the member states to support Nigeria in peace building. Although USA has not been committed to her promise, but other African countries, China, France and Britain has participated in the UN effort at restoring peace in the North East Nigeria. Finding further show the efforts of successive Nigeria governments and diplomats in engaging the United Nations toward solving the problem of insecurity and violence in North-East Nigeria which were majorly the setting up Joint Task Force in curbing the menace. The Nigerian troops have also assisted the United Nations in her missions of peace keeping and conflict resolution in the North-East by protecting the UN officials and aids in their humanitarian efforts.
Conclusively, this study as revealed that the effects of insecurity and violence on the national security of Nigeria to be insecurity, poverty, poor socioeconomic development, unemployment, forced displacement and wanton destruction of lives and properties. Base on the findings indicated to this study, it is therefore recommended among others the government should tackle the root cause of insecurity which are poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, corruption and lack of commitment to national development; Necessary equipment and training should be provided for the security forces in an attempt to discharge their duties effectives; Nigeria government should cooperate with United Nations and other members states in their peace building initiatives; There is need to rehabilitate the remorseful terrorist who has surrender to the government and use the information obtained from them to decimate the unrepentant ones.
1.1 Background to the Study
The exceptionality and centrality of the United Nations (UN) is widely recognized. This is because; at the international level the United Nations has remained the most formidable conglomeration of nations guarding jealously, its cardinal objective of ensuring the maintenance of international peace and security (Adelusi & Oluwashakin, 2014). More so, it has been observed that the world has become generally less peaceful in recent times. The decrease in peacefulness has reversed a long time trend in peaceful coexistence since the end of the Cold War (Adelusi & Oluwashakin, 2014). Many countries of the world are engulfed in one form of conflict: violence, terrorism, civil unrest, insecurity and insurgency resulting to deaths and increase in the number of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs). The number and intensity of the high profile conflict extremism, violence, terrorism and civil unrest has had a detrimental effect on peace and development in many developing countries including Nigeria (Obamwonyi and Owenvbiugie, 2015).
Conflict extremism, terrorism etc are capable of destroying both human and physical capital as well as economic and financial institutions. Further, it can lead to disruption in consumption, investment, business and trade, production and divert investment from productive areas of development including entrepreneurship development, education, infrastructure, and health into areas of violence containment: security, high prison population etc. The cost of conflict extremism, violence and terrorism on a society and a nation is significantly very high (Blanchard 2014; Ogege 2013).
Peace is therefore an essential prerequisite because without peace, it will not be possible to achieve the level of cooperation, trust and inclusiveness necessary to solve our challenges and empower our institutions and organizations. In post-conflict societies and nations like the North Eastern region of Nigeria, peace building offers itself as an important option for rehabilitation, integration and economic recovery (Orhero, 2015). Peace building has been evolving as the dynamics of the global environment dictates. Peace building has expanded beyond the United Nations popularized definition of action to solidify peace and avoid relapse into conflict (Evans et al, 2013) to a holistic understanding of the needs for security, justice, political stability, socio-economic recovery and sustaining peace.
There is now a growing awareness both at the national and global levels that to establish a lasting and objective peace and sustainable development requires marshalling more activities that cut across many domains. Agenda for Peace, peace building as a process has continued to evolve to encompass state-building activities and those activities that aim at strengthening the socio-economic aspects of the society. On this note, the United Nations’ definition could be expanded to include actions and principles that seek to address the root causes of conflict, insecurity, insurgency and violent extremism in order to build or rebuild social relationships and structures capable of sustaining peace (Brabani, 2010). Conflict, violent extremism, insecurity and terrorism affects to socio-economic development of nations.
Peace therefore becomes inevitable for sustainable economic development. Literature indicates that regions and countries with high profiles of violent extremism and insecurity experience low economic activities and lack sustainable livelihood opportunities. As a result these countries are poor compared to those that do not experience conflict, insecurity and violence (World Bank, 2011) and Barnett et al (2007) like Japan, the USA, Korea, Britain etc. The 2009 UN Secretary General’s Report on Peace building set out five priority areas for interventions in post-conflict contexts: establishing security, building confidence in a political process, delivering initial peace dividends, and expanding core national capacity (UN, 2009).
Explicitly, economic and entrepreneurship dividends fall under priority three: delivering initial peace dividends. Since then a lot of researches have been carried out linking peace building to education, gender, community development, security, human rights and children (World Bank, 2011). However, as stated earlier, few of such researches link peace building to sustainable entrepreneurship development. Peace building efforts have impacted positively on the economy of some African nations like Mozambique, Burundi, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Somalia, and Democratic Republic of Congo.
In Nigeria, conflict, violence and insecurity occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram insurgency in the North Eastern region appear to be the primary challenge in recent time and a very significant factor militating against development including sustainable entrepreneurial activities that would have reduced poverty in the region (Abubakar, 2013). The challenge of development has been further compounded by the following drivers of conflict, extreme violence and insecurity: youth unemployment, lack of empowerment (dependency syndrome), poverty, political exclusion and corruption, inadequate room for creativity and innovation, gender inequality, high rate of illiteracy, ethnic diversity and religious intolerance. These drivers are certainly responsible for the woes in this region (Adelusi & Oluwashakin, 2014).
At present peace is gradually returning to North Eastern Nigeria and peace building becomes inevitable to restore enduring peace and kick-start development. Peace building as use in this context is anchored on activities that seek to address the root causes or potential causes of violence, creating a societal expectation for peaceful conflict resolution and of course, stabilizing the society socio-economically, religiously and politically (Michael, 2010; Sandole, 2010)
The study appraises the peace building initiatives in North East Nigeria by the United Nations. The efforts of Nigeria governments toward allying with the United Nations in the fight against domestic terrorism are also a major issue in the study. The activities of insurgency and violence have dented the image of the country over the years and urgent solution is needed to bring an end to the scourge. The study is uniquely necessary since the roles of United Nations is analyzed and discussed (Mudashir & Ibrahim, 2013).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
All societies and nations need peace to exist and develop. However, peace is often violated due to conflicts, violent extremism, terrorism and insecurity arising from youth unemployment, poverty, gender imbalance, economic and political exclusion, faith-based intolerance, low level of education, ethnicity, corruption, inadequate room for creativity and innovation among others (Obamwonyi and Owenvbiugie, 2015). These vices have brought negative consequences on economic development of many African nations including Nigeria.
Nigeria, as a country, is under internal security threats occasioned by acts of domestic terrorism which greatly affects the nation’s stability and well-being (Ogundiya 2009).
Prominent among these acts of domestic terrorism are ethno-religious fighting, violent and un-abated attacks in the oil-rich Niger-Delta, small arms proliferation, bombing and wanton destruction of property (Ogundiya 2009). Domestic terrorism, especially Boko-Haram insurgence negates security and where there is no security, anarchy strives and there is no development. Any threat to the national security will definitely have far-reaching negative consequences on Nigeria’s foreign image, the country as a whole and the world at large.
The North Eastern region of Nigeria has been faced with conflict situations like: violent extremism and terrorism occasioned by the insurgent activities of Boko Haram since 2009. How can this area return to peace? This is where the problem lies and restoring harmony to the area is one of the merits of United Nations. The founding of the United Nation (UN) after the Second World War has provided a stimulus for rigorous approaches to the study of peace and conflict resolution across the world (Ramsbotham, Woodhouse, & Miall, 2016). There has been dependence on the UN for peace building initiatives in order to savor the situation in North-East Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study is to examine the extent to which United Nations’ peace building initiatives has impacted on the national security of Nigeria as well as the efforts of Nigeria government in partnership with the UN to tackle this menace. The specific objectives are to:
- examine the effects of insecurity and violence on the national security of Nigeria;
- identify the issues encountered by the various security agencies in combating the incidence of insecurity and violence in Nigeria and proffer strategies to address the issue;
- analyze the partnership and contributions of the United Nations (UN) in addressing the scourge of insecurity and violence in North-East Nigeria;
- determine the efforts of successive Nigeria governments and diplomats in engaging the United Nations toward solving the problem of insecurity and violence in North-East Nigeria;
- ascertain the roles of Nigeria in assisting the United Nations in her missions of peace keeping and conflict resolution in the North-East.
1.4 Research Questions
In order to achieve the objectives of this study, the following research questions will be relevant to this work:
- What impact does insecurity and violence have on the national security of Nigeria?
- What are the issues encountered by the various security agencies in combating the issues of insecurity and violence in North-East Nigeria and what strategies can be adopted to address this security challenge?
- What are the contributions of the United Nations (UN) in addressing the scourge of insecurity and violence in North-East Nigeria?
- What are the efforts of government and diplomats in engaging the United Nations toward curbing the menace of insecurity and violence in Nigeria?
- What are the roles played by the Nigerian government in assisting the United Nations in her peace building initiatives in North-East?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The significance of the study is that the findings of this research would contribute to policy input for members of the Security Council at the Federal, State and Local Government levels. Secondly, the findings would be useful to the various security agencies such as the Nigerian Police, State Security Services and their operatives who are directly charged with the onerous task of maintenance of law and order as well as members of the armed forces.
This research will also be useful to members of the media especially defense and security correspondents who report issues related to national security. The study will also highlight the specific contributions and efforts of the United Nations (UN) in their peace building initiatives to solve the problem of insecurity in North-East Nigeria. The issues of insecurity and peace building initiatives have been studied by previous authors but this study is significant because it focuses on the efforts of Nigeria governments and diplomats in engaging the United Nations to ensure that insecurity and violence in the North-East are terminated through peace building initiatives.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study covers peace building initiatives and insecurity concerns in Nigeria with particular reference to the North-East experience in relation to national security. The relationship between insecurity and peace building, the impact of insurgencies on national security, the contributions of the United Nations (UN) in addressing the menace and the challenges will also be discussed. This study covers the period of 2008-2018. This period is chosen because of the upsurge and intensity of insecurity concerns within the period in Nigeria and the urgent need for a long lasting solution.
Nevertheless, the researcher chose to treat the issue of insecurity and the peace building initiatives of the United Nations instead of other menaces like kidnapping, hostage taking, fraud, etc because it helps to present the current image of Nigeria due to the scourge and the efforts government and diplomats should make to partner with the United Nations in ensuring peace and security is provided in the North-East.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
1. Domestic Terrorism: for the purpose of this study, domestic terrorism, as conceptualized by Akanji (2009) is: “The act of terror committed within the boundaries of a sovereign state against civilians, the government and public and private properties in a bid to coerce or intimidate the government or people of that state”.
2. National Security: the study adopts the definition by Obasanjo (2009) which states that national security is the: “Aggregation of the security interests of the individuals, political entities, human associations and ethnic groups, which make up the nation. The security interest includes safety of life and property, economic, psychological and mental well-being and the freedom to pursue the attainment of legitimate objectives without hindrance” (Obasanjo 2009). Obasanjo’s definition is comprehensive as it touches every aspect of human endeavor and the society and hence will be adopted as the definition for this study.
3. Peace Building Initiative: Peace building is an intervention technique or method that is designed to prevent the start or resumption of violent conflict by creating a sustainable peace. Peace building activities address the root causes or potential causes of violence, create a societal expectation for peaceful conflict resolution, and stabilize society politically and socioeconomically. The activities included in peace building vary depending on the situation and the agent of peace building. Successful peace building activities create an environment supportive of self-sustaining, durable peace; reconcile opponents; prevent conflict from restarting; integrate civil society; create rule of law mechanisms; and address underlying structural and societal issues. Researchers and practitioners also increasingly find that peace building is most effective and durable when it relies upon local conceptions of peace and the underlying dynamics which foster or enable conflict (Coning, 2013).