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Security Issues in Nigeria: Kogi State as a case study–Pt1

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Editor’s note: This article is intended to focus on security issue in Nigeria with specific reference to Kogi state, North Central region of the country. It considered threats to lives and properties, while identifying possible solutions. 

Israel Ojih

Security is a state of being safe and secure from any form of endangerment. Under security, lives and properties are safe from dangers that can destroy, kill or deform the peaceful state.

Insecurity is the opposite. A state of insecurity leaves people psychologically uncertain about what may happen to them and their properties. Security is so important in the human existence because it affect their conduct in the society. It affect where they can live and trade. Security of lives and properties determines, to a large extent, the national development of a nation. It is also important to know that security is a responsible of all members of the society but which is enhanced by good leadership. 

This article is intended to focus on security issue in Nigeria with specific reference to Ukanukpoda community in Ofu Local Government area of Kogi state. In the course of this consideration, threats to lives and properties will be identified and possible solution to prevent life endangerment will be proffered. 

Nigeria has come under global focus recently for a couple of reasons. The notable reasons among others are poor governance, corruption and insecurity. Insecurity is a global challenge in the contemporary world. Most countries of the world are faced with one life-threatening issues with uniqueness depending on the geographical location and the political atmosphere of such an area. 

In countries like Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan, Somali and Kenya among others, security issues have always called for international communities to respond with troop to restore normalcy. But in the wake of 1999, Nigeria has been featuring prominently as one of the countries in the world ravished by internal security problems: communal clashes, extra-judicial killings, robbery, road accident, diseases, religious clashes, militancy, kidnapping, thuggery, terrorist attacks etc. have claimed a lot of lives and have destroyed properties worth millions of dollars in the last 20 years.

While the insecure state of the Nigerian society spreads across the six geo-political zones with disturbing frequency, but there are no machinery in place to restore the confidence of Nigerians. Some states are more at a cross-road than the their counterparts. For example, Borno, Yobe, Zamfara, Adamawa (all in the north) states are dangerous because of adamant insurgency which for many years has been headquartered in Northeast by Boko Haram. Not only are many people dead as a result of attacks even those who live are scared as people move around with the question of “who’ll be the next to die?”. Billions of nairas have been lost and in most of the states respectively, so that even the living are lifeless as the dead.

The same predicament has been in record since President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration to the present regime–about the activities of the Niger Delta militancy. Although their activities on the pipeline have been managed comparably well, it was not without heavy monetary cost as most ex-militants are still being rehabilitated with tax-payers money.

As if these were not enough, herdsmen and their dealy attacks is rating close to Boko Haram currently in terms of the danger they post to local farmers, local traders and several communities in the Middle Belt. Tens of thousands of lives and properties have been destroyed in Benue as a result. As a common trend with these attacks in the Nigerian environment, herdsmen killings have spread to Nasarawa, Kogi, Kwara and a few other states in the Middle Belt.

Kogi state, being flanked on all sides by other states in the Middle Belt has not only shared in the insecurity of the country in the past but also still exposed to serious security doom if not checked and tackled with all political will it requires. It is important to know that Kogi share boundaries with Benue, Kwara, Enugu, Anambra, Abuja and Niger states. These peculiar geographical loaction of the state has made it easy for free trade and commerce from the neighboring sister states.

The large farmlands at the extreme boundaries with other states have all made a natural allowances for native Kogi farmers to also share farmlands and boundaries with these states. It is important to note that these mass farmlands are also attracted to herdsmen due to the rich nature of the pasture, local thieves who come to steal farm produces, communal clash and land dispute etc.

Aside these which are threats to lives and properties, key attention will be given to herdsmen attacks, political thuggery, robbery, kidnapping and the poor health care service on Kogi with emphasizes on the safety of lives and properties in Ukanukpoda village, which is located at the eastern part of Kogi state.
Kogi state has consistently lagged behind in terms of leadership. And we all aware of the fact that where good governance is poor, all sort of evils prevails. And due to this security issue, Kogi State is in a porous state, has had influx of criminals.

To be continued…

Ojih writes from Abuja

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