Nigeria Military Security Problem Analysis

Nigeria faces multiple problems such as ethnic conflicts, human rights violations, the crippled economic and political situations, corruption, and security issues. Fighting terrorism and providing peace and stability are the tasks of the top priority for Nigeria due to a dramatic increase in the number of kidnappings, robbery, and brutal killings. This concern is of critical importance to other countries, particularly the USA, since Nigeria is an important economic partner for the USA through oil imports and destination of direct investment. Nigeria has assumed the role of the leader of the black races, and the failure to provide national security affects its ability to perform security obligations on the continent and achieve its foreign policy objectives.

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The Threat of Terrorism

The most pressing problem in Nigeria is terrorism. Since 2009, guerilla fighters have dragged the country into a rampant massacre, killing more than 4000 people and displacing nearly 300 000 people (Pizzi, 2014). The most dangerous and violent terrorist group is Boko Haram that poses a threat not only to Nigeria but to other states as well due to their allegiance to the ISIS and extending influence in the neighboring countries. The Boko Haram radical group carried out bombings of schools and mosques, kidnapping and assassinating politicians, religious leaders, women, and children, targeting places crowded with civilians for a long time. This unprecedented atrocity must be stopped for good before it rises to the level of genocide.

In April 2014, the terrorist of the Boko Haram group kidnapped more than 276 teenage girls from the boarding school in Chibok. Two days before, the insurgents killed hundreds in Kala Balge. These are the latest examples of terrorists acts of violence and the militarys inability to put down the insurrection. There is a negative tendency for an increase in the number and the scale of violent attacks (Pizzi, 2014).

In 2015, Boko Haram pledged their allegiance to ISIS. Their connections to the international terroristic organizations may provide them with more resources necessary for extending the area of influence. The group has already crossed the borders to Cameroon, Niger, and Chad. With an advanced training and financial support from ISIS, it may become possible for them to wage a war on the African and the European continents.

The Military Incompetence

Fighting terrorism and safeguarding civil society requires strong defensive and peacekeeping forces. Nigeria is in a deep national security crisis with its unorganized, under-resourced, corrupted, and poorly trained army. As a result, the Nigerian military is unprepared to deal with organized criminal activities, let alone quell the insurgency. Strengthening and restructuring army is the task of critical importance for Nigeria.

The catastrophic condition of the Nigerian army has roots in the past. Politicians have used the army only to oppress people. There has never been such a notion as national security but only the protection of the regime and single individuals. The fear of mutiny has led to the lack of investment in the soldiers training and purchasing military equipment. Thus, nowadays, the Nigerian army has neither technical resources nor motivation and necessary skills to respond to the terroristic threat. Most importantly, the soldiers do not possess the sense of moral duty to protect civilians. Other obstacles are the high level of corruption, conflicting officers ambitions, and factionalism due to diverse ethical composition of the army (Fayemi & Ball, 2004).

Historical mistrust between the civilians and the military is strengthened after the multiple cases of violating human rights - torturing and murdering thousands of detainees and looting from the population. Corruption and the neglect of human rights are deeply embedded in all the spheres of human life in Nigeria, including the military. The army without a strong leadership, the respect for human dignity, and loyalty to the nation cannot be efficient in fighting terrorism (Fayemi & Ball, 2004).

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Dwindling Cooperation with Western Nations on the Security Matters

Multiple security and domestic challenges require the assistance of other states and the international organizations. However, there are several hindrances such as unwillingness of the government to admit that Nigeria needs help and the fear of the consequences of Western intervention. Other obstacles are the extensive record of abusing human rights and the unclear foreign policy and security strategy.

There is a lack of coordination between the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. More to say, the Nigerian Institute of International National Affairs and other agencies have not been able to establish a civil authority leadership in the area of security and foreign policy. It is of critical importance to integrate these agencies and define clear goals of security policy for national safety (Alli, 2012 pp. 74-76).

According to the rules of international organizations, there are restrictions on providing military assistance to the states with the record of violating human rights. The failure of the government to apply the Principle of Responsibility to Protect creates an insurmountable obstacle for attracting international assistance for peacekeeping purposes (Alli, 2012, p.73).


In the face of the numerous complex problems, it is clear that Nigeria needs reforms in all spheres of life, including social order and national security. Society must rest on the principles of justice and the respect for human rights and freedoms. Amassing military forces without ethical reorientation of society and its institutions will be of no effect. Before rebutting terrorists, the nation must face its domestic challenges. First, society must turn away from corruption, greed, and neglect for human life and embrace compassion, democracy, justice, and peace. There is a need in settling local conflicts and consolidating diverse ethnic groups into one nation, satisfying the needs of all population strata and promoting socio-economic reforms. Providing a system of justice, achieving improvements in social and public life, maintaining stability and national integration will be possible to deal with national security crisis. The next step is to define a clear strategy for the foreign and security policy, restructure, train and consolidate the army, and eradicate corruption in the military structures. The main threat nowadays is Boko Harams atrocities: therefore, all financial and military resources must be employed to subdue the insurgency, incarcerate the criminals, and stop their violent activity. It is also important to prevent possible future attacks and be able to respond to them instantaneously. The army needs a strong leadership and a chain of commands to become a powerful tool of the state. Nigeria may as well need the assistance of international organizations such as the UN or the Amnesty International Organization to stop terrorism and build democratic civil society. With sophisticated training, structural reorganization, and investment in equipment and training, the Nigerian army will be able to defeat criminals and protect the nation (Ujomu, 2001).

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