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Addressing the trio challenges facing Nigeria

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By Usman Oladimeji

Insurgency sow chaos, hinder economic development and deter investors.

Nigeria is facing a trio of formidable challenges which are insecurity, rising inflation, and inadequate productivity. These issues are intertwined and demand a comprehensive strategy for resolution. The security crisis impacts every aspect of the country, affecting all states within the federation. Neglecting the issue of insecurity only exacerbates the problem, as insurgency, banditry, and kidnapping sow chaos, hinder economic development, and deter potential investors in the country. Insecurity has majorly plagued the Southeast and Northern region for a very long time.

Also, the Indigenous People of Biafra’s-Monday sit-at-home orders were enforced in the Southeast region which was aimed to demonstrate their dominance in the region, but instead led to a mass exodus of investors to neighboring towns in the South-South. Despite efforts to encourage investment in the homeland, the region suffered the consequences of their actions. In 2023, a prominent Igbo organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo launched an initiative to discourage the public from participating in the sit-at-home protests. They highlighted that the annual economic impact of the order amounts to a staggering trillion Naira, comprising losses in production, revenue, and workforce.

Bandits and terrorists have ravaged farming communities.

Insecurity in Nigeria has greatly impacted the agricultural sector, leading to a decline in productivity. Bandits and terrorists have ravaged farming communities, creating an environment where farming is no longer feasible. As a result, the country is facing high food inflation, which in turn erodes purchasing power, diminishes savings, and hinders business growth. This combination of insecurity and inflation has resulted in low productivity levels within the agricultural industry. Reduced productivity results in the economy operating at only half its potential, making it more challenging to generate new employment opportunities, increase salaries, and enhance quality of life.

With banditry on the rise, it is imperative for both federal and state governments to take more decisive action. They must confront bandits and terrorists with increased viger. Importantly, they must also work to build trust and inspire confidence among citizens in their efforts to combat these security risks. The lack of transparency surrounding recent bandit activities has left many feeling uneasy and in the dark. Taking for instance, the mysterious approach by which the government used to secure the release of the abducted Kuriga pupils remains unknown. In addition, it is crucial for Nigeria to tackle the underlying issues that lead to conflict, including poverty, unemployment, and injustice.

Embracing innovation and technological progress is key.

To prevent crises like the one that occurred in Okuama community, Delta State, governments need to promote interaction and teamwork among diverse groups. Equally important is providing proper training, reorientation, and resources for the nation’s security forces. Productivity is another critical factor that must be given adequate attention. Nigeria needs to breathe life back into its factories and business hubs, where companies can utilize skilled workers to create products and services. Investments in infrastructure like transportation and power are essential to lower operational expenses. Embracing innovation and technological progress is key.

The complex nature of the triple threats necessitates a comprehensive strategy involving the Nigerian government, private sector, and civil society. In addition, Nigeria has the opportunity to collaborate internationally to access financial and technical support. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned of additional threats to Nigeria such as water management and climate change in March 2023. According to the United Nations agency, a staggering 78 million children in Nigeria face significant danger due to a combination of three water-related challenges: insufficient access to clean water, poor sanitation and hygiene practices, waterborne illnesses, and the impacts of climate change.

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UNICEF ranked Nigeria as the second most vulnerable country out of 163 globally in terms of climate and environmental risks. Groundwater depletion has forced certain communities to dig wells twice as deep as they did ten years ago. The irregular and intense rainfall patterns have resulted in floods that pollute the already limited water sources. Suggestions were made to increase investment in the sector, utilizing global climate funds and enhancing climate resilience in the WASH sector and local communities. A significant number of individuals do not have access to clean water, with concerns from UNICEF that Nigeria could take up to 16 years to achieve complete coverage.

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