Wednesday, April 11, 2018 /12:50PM /FDC  

Nigeria has been marred by social unrest,&;
including Boko Haram terrorism9 and herdsmen attacks10 just to mention a few.&13;
As a result of this unrest, the country ranked 149th out of 163 countries on&13;
the Global Peace Index in 2017.11 The impacts are broad: agricultural&13;
production has been devastated, public infra-structure such as schools,&13;
hospitals and bridges have suffered significant damage, and the loss of life and&13;
mass displacement of people are astounding. Yet, security spending in the 2018&13;
budget is $1.58 billion, which translates to a paltry $8 per Ni-gerian.12&13;
Evidence from other economies such as Germany, Japan and Botswana, with&13;
relatively peaceful environments, suggests that this is low for a country of&13;
Nigeria’s population. It is also low compared to the global average. Global&13;
total defense spending is expected to reach $1.76 trillion in 2018, translating&13;
to $220 per person.13 Indeed, there is a need for more robust defense spending&13;
to improve the security condition of the country, which would in turn contain&13;
the economic costs of unrest and support economic activities.

Cost of Insecurity to Nigerians and the&13;
Nigerian Economy
On the Global Terrorism Index Rankings in&13;
2017, Nigeria ranked 1st in Africa and 3rd globally, largely due to the&13;
activities of Boko Ha-ram and herdsmen attacks.14 At least 15 out of Nigeria’s&13;
36 states are currently experiencing violence and upheaval from these two&13;
groups. Boko Haram operates predominantly in the north eastern part of the&13;
country (and is also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon). The herdsmen&13;
predominately attack in the southern region of the country. These violent&13;
events exist alongside south-south clashes among rival cults and militant&13;
at-tacks targeted at crude oil facilities.

The 15 states high-lighted in the map are&13;
mainly agrarian economies, representing approximately 47% of Nigeria’s total&13;
land mass and 32.5% of its GDP.15 Insecurity in these regions disrupts economic&13;
activity, particularly agricultural activities, and slows aggregate out-put&13;
growth in the economy. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai,&13;
has estimated that the economic impact of Boko Haram activities in the north&13;
east has cost the country N274.5bn ($9bn), with the loss of agricultural&13;
production put at N107bn ($3.5bn).16 This loss to agricultural production might&13;
have explained the reason for the decline in Nigeria’s total output of&13;
commodities such as cowpea, wheat and groundnut which are predominantly&13;
produced in the north east. As of 2016, the output levels of these key&13;
agricultural commodities were below 2010 levels.

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As for the impact of the herdsman attacks,&13;
there have been media reports that farms have been destroyed, crops have been&13;
lost and the incentive to plant again in these areas has declined. These&13;
effects could translate to deepening poverty and food in-security. Insecurity&13;
results in damage to critical infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and&13;
bridges. Boko Haram has carried out suicide bombing attacks on schools, markets&13;
and car parks among other places.18 while these attacks continue, more of&13;
Nigeria’s infrastructure is poised for destruction.

Furthermore, insecurity has displaced about 1.96&13;
million people resulting in extreme pressures on those who have been displaced&13;
and on the federal and state governments that must provide humanitarian&13;
assistance.19 According to the Minister of State for Budget and National&13;
Planning, Zainab Ahmed, the federal government and the six north-east states&13;
spent $6.4bn on interventions and humanitarian service in 2016 and 2017.20 This&13;
translates to an average of $3.2bn per an-num. It also represents about 8% of&13;
combined spending by the federal and state governments in the country.&13;
Governments have also had to sustain this expenditure amid unemployment and&13;
other infrastructural challenges that require huge fiscal spending.

Given these huge economic costs of&13;
insecurity, the Nigerian defense sector is likely being underfunded. This is&13;
reflected in low staff strength, weak surveillance system, and a paucity of&13;
arms and ammunitions. Ac-cording to the Institute for Economics and Peace,&13;
Nigeria had a relatively small military and private security sector in 2016.&13;
The organization noted that there are 219 police officers for every 100,000&13;
Nigerians, significantly below both the global median of 300, and the&13;
sub-Saharan Africa average of 268.21 Similarly, Boko Haram especially has been&13;
alleged to possess more sophisticated arms than the Nigerian military. Indeed,&13;
the paltry $8 per capita spending on defense has made containing insecurity&13;
operations more diffi-cult.22

By comparison, Germany, with a population&13;
of 83 million people, spent an equivalent of $44bn on its defense sector in&13;
2017, amounting to a per capita amount of $530. As of 2017, the country was&13;
ranked the world’s 16th most peaceful country on the Global Peace Index. In&13;
Asia, Japan – a country with population of about 127 million – expects to spend&13;
$46.5bn on defense in 2018. This translates to $366 per head. The country is&13;
ranked as the world’s 10th most peaceful country on the Global Peace Index,&13;
compared to Nigeria’s ranking of 149th. On the Global Terrorism Index, the&13;
country is ranked 54th, better than Nigeria’s 3rd position.

Within the continent, Botswana, Africa’s most peaceful&13;
country, appropriates the second largest share of its total spending to&13;
defense. In 2018, the country is projected to spend P2.78 billion pulas&13;
($294mn) on de-fense.25 Given a population of about 2.25 million people, the&13;
country would spend approximately $130 per capita on security. Also noteworthy,&13;
Botswana’s police ranked the best in Africa on the World Internal and Security&13;
Police Index, while Nigeria’s police ranked the worst.

Nigeria needs in-creased defense spending (albeit with&13;
a close monitoring on spending to avoid mismanagement) to enhance the country’s&13;
arms and ammunitions, increases its number of armed personnel and train them&13;
efficiently. Higher recurrent spending in form of improved salaries may also&13;
boost motivation and improve performance amongst security personnel. Together,&13;
both a stronger arsenal and motivated defense personnel could do a lot more to&13;
contain insecurity. However, should the government decide to sustain its&13;
relatively low defense spending in the country, the impact of the defense&13;
sector to combat insecurity is poised to be limited and the continued negative&13;
impacts on the economy, infrastructure and Nigeria’s population are set to&13;
persist.

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