Nigeria as a very dangerous place

Nigeria as a very dangerous place

By Emmanuel Onwubiko

Cumulatively, Nigeria has become increasingly dangerous for human habitation due to the combination of a number of factors.

Politically, Nigeria is badly administered both centrally and at segmented dimension and the direct consequence of this is that the total absence of good governance has led to the decline in the standards of living of most Nigerians.

Before returning to the declining standards of living caused by the absence of good governance, it will be appropriate to state that absence of good governance has also led to the unleashing of insecurity in the public space.

The general breakdown of security across board in the country has resulted in the most recent global rating of Nigeria as the fifth most dangerous country in the world for tourists to visit.

The World Economic Forum recently released their Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, which analyses the state of the travel and tourism sectors in 136 countries around the globe.

As a part of this report, the WEF ranks the safety of each of those countries. To come up with this ranking, the forum "measures the extent to which a country exposes tourists and businesses to security risks mainly related to serious harm to people (violence and terrorism)." 

The ranking does not take petty crime into account.

Nigeria’s top ranking as the number five most dangerous country in the world for tourists  is seen generally by most Nigerians as the most logically accurate analysis of the state of breakdown of law and order in Nigeria. 

This calls for greater commitments on the part of government to do the needful to check the trends. There must be a fundamental shift of strategy by the armed security forces to confront these motley of security threats to our corporate existence.  

Whilst we hope that this World's report will spur on and spark off in the Nigerian government the zeal to combat these vicious security challenges, it is appropriate to affirm that this  fundamental empirical fact of Nigeria being a very dangerous country even for her citizens to live constructively, is hinged on the fact that lynch mob justice has become rampant even as the law enforcement  capacity of the armed security forces is seriously compromised and undermined. 

Although the World's rating recently released aforementioned left out petty threats to security, we can say rightly that the threats posed to lives and property of Nigerians and foreigners within Nigeria by a range of armed freelance hoodlums have contributed adversely in shaping this notorious image for Nigeria internationally. 

Only last week in Lagos, the former national capital of Nigeria, over half a dozen suspected criminals were burnt to death by the mobs who have the bottled up angst about  the failure of policing in Nigeria which has almost collapsed thereby occasioning the resort to self help measures. 

In Lagos the phenomenon of badoo cultists has posed some of the most difficult security challenges for the citizenry. 

Back to the global rating, a jourmalist Sarah Schmalbruch who reported from the World economic Forum in a report dated June 9th 2017, the global institution stated that Nigeria is ranked number five of the most dangerous countries for tourists to visit.

Such war -torn countries like democratic Republic of Congo which ranked 20th,Chad, Mali, Bangladesh and Lebanon, were even rated far safer than Nigeria.

Nigeria is being ranked fifth because according to this world body, two extremist groups Boko haram and Islamic state West Africa are responsible for much of the violence that occurs in Nigeria and commonly target heavily populated areas like churches, schools, restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues.

The United States Department of state says visitors “should be vigilant at public gatherings and locations frequented by foreigners” and to “exercise extreme caution throughout the country due to the threat of indiscriminate violence”.

Similarly, in the same month of June 2017,the institute for Economics and peace, rated Nigeria as the fifteenth most dangerous country in the world in the year 2017,in its eleventh edition of the Global; peace  index(gpi) report.

The researchers compiled their reports based on evidences generated from a total of 163 independent states based on how peaceful or dangerous that they are currently.

The 163 states cover over 99.7% of the world’s population and are assessed using 23 indicators, each banded or normalized on a scale of 1-5.

The index measures global peace using three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic and international conflict, and the degree of militarization.

On these three factors we can say that Nigeria is doing badly to such a spectacular level that the Nigerian chief of Defence  staff General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin apparently  justified the rating of Nigeria as one of the most dangerous places on Earth even much worse than the above two reports from the Western world.

The Nigerian chief of Defence staff had stated in New York last week that Nigerian military faces 14 major security threats. 

Few hours back the Nigerian Army Chief Lieutenant General Yusuf Buratai reportedly accused Mali of not doing enough to stop the Islamic State's terror network from using Mali as operational ground. He was said to have protested publicly during a courtesy visit by his counterpart from Mali in Abuja. 

Corollary, the Nigerian speaker of the Federal parliament Mr. Yakubu Dogara had similarly warned that the military of Nigeria have increasingly become a mere policing institution because they are now widely deployed across the country. 

This sentiment goes to show that Nigeria is indeed a dangerous place on earth.

In the current Global peace index (GPI) report, Nigeria ranked fifteenth behind Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Central African Republic, Sudan , Ukraine, Pakistan and North Korea.

In terms of the global human development index, Nigeria currently ranks number 152 of the 188 countries in the Human development index of 2016 issued by the United Nations Development programme, UNDP, in Abuja.

According to the 2016 report released by the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, in Abuja, Nigeria retained its 2015 status with a computation of 0.527 which was two points above 2014 computation of 0.525.

In the report launched by the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, Central Africa Republic ranked 188.

The HDI, a composite statistics of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, is used to rank countries into four tiers of human development.

Nigeria’s HDI value for 2016 positioning it at 152 of 188 countries puts the country on Low Human Development (LHD).

The country is followed closely by Cameroon in number 153 and Zimbabwe in 154 positions.

The new report places Nigeria below neighboring Ghana and Zambia positioned at 139 , Gabon, 109 , and Equatorial Guinea, 135 .

The global report was officially launched on March 25, 2017 in Stocklom, while the Nigerian version was launched few days back. 

On the global front, Norway tops the table as the number one country in the HDI, closely followed by Switzerland and Australia which came joint second.

Similarly, Germany was placed on the fourth position while Denmark placed on the fifth position.

The HDI indicates the number of people with access to education and other basic amenities. 

The other day, some public primary schools in some Northern states canvassed the continuous implementation of the free feeding scheme for lower primary pupils because for the only ten days the scheme was implemented selectively in some schools in Jigawa the turn out of pupils was impressive but after the feeding scheme was abruptly stopped hundreds of pupils have been diverted by their parents to their farms to look for what to eat. 

In Imo, Kogi, Osun, workers are owed over 15 months salaries. Social crime has skyrocketed.  

Attacks on farmers by armed Fulani herdsmen have become widespread all across Nigeria thereby worsening the rate of hunger in the Country. The threats posed to lives and property by armed Fulani terrorists have forced Benue, Taraba and Ekiti states to legislate against open grazing of cattle to save the farms from being destroyed. The peaceful Fulani herdsmen also go through violence of rustling of their cattle by armed syndicates. 

Apart from individual threats such as the specific threats that this writer has encountered about twice in the last three years due to my human rights activities, most Nigerians face the prospects of death from Vehicular accidents and from such extra-legal killings by armed members of the security forces.

These dangers have built up for many years now. The Rule of law is grinding frustratingly to a stop and anarchy and impunity  are being unleashed. 

For instance on Monday July 26th 2010, a popular newspaper in Abuja reported that fourteen persons, mostly traders that sell wares in the open Madalla market in Niger State were  burnt to death when a petrol tanker fell on its side and its content caught fire and spread around the area.

The accident caused terrible traffic jam as thousands along the ever busy Kaduna-Zuba  road could not come in and out of Abuja for several hours due to the serious flame and dark smoke from the burning petrol tanker.

Two other vehicles were burnt to ashes as a result of the accident, which occurred at around 1:00 Pm. The affected vehicles were said to be behind the petrol tanker that caught fire.

Eye witness said that the driver of the petrol tanker and his motor boy were among the casualties.

Reacting, the Niger State sector commander of the Federal Road Safety commission (FRSC) Tuma Dalok, confirmed the number of casualties and said the petrol tanker somersaulted while on high speed, which detached the vehicle head from the body.

The sector commander said the tanker caught fire, which consumed mostly people selling items around the area. 

Zonal coordinator, FCT of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Ishaya Isa Chonoko also said that about 10 people were killed as a result of the accident. 

That was in 2010.

But from then till now, over 20,000 Nigerians have died from accidents due to poor transportation infrastructures in Nigeria.  On Monday this week, a container strapped loosely on a trailer collapsed and crushed an 18 seater passenger bus killing 5 passengers. The culprits who causes these massive loss of lives are never brought to justice. Then there is this notorious fact that poor maintenance of public infrastructures are responsible for some of these deaths. 

The collapse of public sector infrastructures is caused by widespread corruption in the public service at all levels.

Public service both at the central and state government administration has increasingly become impeded and weakened by corruption thereby making life to become short, bruttish, intolerable and threatened. 

It is therefore not unexpected that Nigeria could be rated as one of the most dangerous places in 2017. 

*Emmanuel Onwubiko is Head of Human rights writers Association of Nigeria  (HURIWA) and blogs @www.emmanuelonwubiko.comwww.huriwa@blogspot.com

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