African Research Review

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Insecurity and Civil Society Response in Nigeria: A Historical Perspective and its Implications for Peace and Development

Evelyn Obiageli Dike


Insecurity is rife in Nigeria. This violence-ridden stage has triggered self-help methods with attendant proliferation of arms. Ethnic sentiments are common resulting in institution of ethnic militias. Parochialism characterizes these security measures which in the long run wedges war against security and peaceful co-existence of humans. In the hands of myriads of groups and individuals, a jigsaw security network is presented and this at best promotes insecurity. Government incompetence tolerates and backs various security methods; hence, the prevalence. It is clear in this paper that governmental failure cannot be mended with bogus and amorphous security groups. Compromised governmental backing of self-help methods intensifies insecurity where the parochial interest of the government in power is projected and protected by the vigilante or self-help groups. Various forms and levels of vigilante, risks inherent in them as well as the consequences of their unchecked existence are discussed. Recommendations are made as way out of the woods. Provision of security is fundamental to peace, progress and development. Self-help method at best represents the parochial and limited interest of persons or groups and often conflict. It cannot be a good complement to governmental mandate so long as governmental overhaul of etiquette for a secure environment continues to be treated with levity and ambivalence.

Keywords: security, arms, violence, insecurity, self-help, vigilante
AJOL African Journals Online