Over the last two decades, Nigeria has been plagued with a series of security challenges which have left a number of its citizens in a perpetual state of fear. These security challenges have pinned a red flag on its geographical location and consequently deterred economic and trade relations with other countries. Ranging from abductions, killings, arm-banditry and terrorist attacks, the West-African country, often regarded as the giant of Africa is ranked as the 7th most dangerous place to live in Africa and the 17th most dangerous place to live in the world (IEP, 2020). Nigeria’s global peace index (GPI) rank of 147 puts Nigeria just above Sudan (GPI rank – 153) and under Mali (GPI rank – 144) in Africa (IEP, 2020).
In the north-eastern region of Nigeria, armed conflicts have killed over 40,000 people and displaced millions from their homes since 2009 (PR Nigeria, 2020). This urgency has been predominantly caused by terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa. Moreover, the country lost 3,188 people (9 per day) in 2019 to mass atrocities. The number of lives lost in Nigeria seems to keep increasing, 695 people were killed and 396 kidnapped in January 2020 alone (PR Nigeria, 2020). This socio-political crisis calls for a state of urgency and demand for good governance.
In 2020, Nigeria allocated 1.78 trillion Naira to defence and security. This makes up 16.8% of the total budget of N10.59 trillion Naira (Budgit, 2020) and dwarfs the allocation of other crucial sectors such as the health sector which accounts for a mere 4% of the 2020 budget (N441Bn). Does this enormous spending on defence translate to peace for Nigerians or Nigeria should consider other options in its quest to secure the lives of its citizens?