Nigeria’s huge potential, a population of over 200 million people, is sadly confronted by a legion of unprecedented security challenges. For example, as a result of high child mortality rate, mass killings and ethnic fractionalization, the Global Terrorism Index listed Nigeria as the third country most affected by terrorism in the world. In like manner, Nigeria is scored as the second country in Africa with the highest risk of genocide and the sixth globally.
On its part, the Global Peace Index disclosed that the West Africa country is currently defined by political instability, citizen alienation, terrorism and violence. Named as the 17th less peaceful state, Nigeria was further recently counted among the countries with the least peace in the world. An article published on the 5th September 2019 by Forbes Magazine rated Nigeria as the third-worst place to live in the world. Alongside Brazil and South Africa, the giant of Africa made the list of worst places to be in the world.
Amidst the seeming precarious security situation in the country, the writer argues that knowledge of China’s military and space capabilities could assist Nigeria tackle its intractable insecurity crises. This article shall consider four key areas where Nigeria can borrow a leaf from China to overcome the menacing situation of insecurity across the country.
First, for more than two decades, the Chinese legislature approved an increase in the budget of the country’s military, including the People’s Liberation Army. Experts on Chinese political and security affairs affirm that this allotment is meant to sustain modernization of the Chinese military to secure and maintain new ships for its navy, acquire new aircraft and cruise missiles and buy unmanned aerial vehicles for its air force as well as modern nuclear armaments for the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Forces.
Second, the Chinese system comprises of both national-level and provincial-level expenditures. This is because their internal security is a shared responsibility between these two levels of government. Therein, both internal and external security spending are top priority. This is in addition to huge spending on domestic infrastructural development and the Belt and Road Initiative.
Third, key to tackling insecurity in China is industrialization and employability – labor and social security are linked. The Chinese government strategically increases employment opportunities amongst its population towards entrenching economic and social transformation. With trial and error, since 1978, the Asian country has been able to have in place a labor and social security system which corresponds to the socialist market economy system. It is believed that once people are engaged and they enjoy meaningful wages, this takes their mind off crime and criminality.
Fourth, with an improved minimum wage system and enforcement of guidance price level system for the labour markets across-the-board plus an unemployment Insurance System, China is able to provide the basic livelihood guarantee system for laid-offs from state-owned enterprises. By creating a welfarist system, it fans the flames of patriotism and a strong sense of nationalism amongst its citizenry.
This year, Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 33.3 %. Experts are of the view that unemployment is a driver for conflict. Crime rate increases where there’s decline in youth employability and lifting the masses out of poverty. The crime rate is worsened by the scourge of ritual killings across the country. Strike actions currently embarked by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions (NASU) have further put workers in a sorry state.
Boko Haram insurgency, ongoing militia activities, armed banditry, farmer-herder clashes and separatists’ agitations have further brought the country to its knees. To crown it all, the country faces food crisis. A report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation indicates that food crisis will affect Nigerians in 21 states and FCT including, 416,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The statement also noted that between June and August 2022, about 19.4 million people will face food insecurity across the country.
Despite scoring high in peace keeping operations around the globe, allotting N4.62trillion to the federal security sector in the past five years and spending billions of naira on security votes, the nation appears to be heading towards Timbuktu. What is more, the central government with its full might of security architecture seems helpless in the face of marauding attackers who are bent on shaming the nation. How can a government that has paid deaf ears to calls for state-policing be exculpated? Amidst this grim scenario, whence shall come our help?
Well, for the Federal Government to address the issues of criminality and general situation of insecurity in the country, it must learn from international best practices while developing homegrown solutions. The Chinese Model of tackling issues namely employing labour and social security should serve as a catalyst for creating employment opportunities for our army of jobless youths and establishing a more transparent social security system.
In conclusion, at the heart of addressing overall development in the 21st century is improving the quality of education and ensuring a safe environment that attracts foreign investors. Rather than being content with receiving a high-level delegation from the criminal investigation experts from China with real experience into Nigeria, our own experts should be consulted. Unless Africa is content with collecting handouts from China in form of loans, the Continent should look inwards towards intellectual liberation. This can only come about through local solutions while comparing meaningful notes. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Fr. Dyikuk is a Lecturer of Mass Communication, University of Jos, Editor – Caritas Newspaper and Convener, Media Team Network Initiative (MTNI), Nigeria. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.