REFLECTIONS ON CONFLICT AND NATIONAL SECURITY: THE MILITARIZATION OF CIVILIAN GROUPS IN NIGERIA

Abiodun Fatai

Abstract


The increasing degree at which civilian groups are becoming militarized under democratic dispensation in Nigeria has continued to raise serious concern for national security and development in Nigeria. While the mainstream literature, suggests that conflicts is a bye-product of strained ethno-religious relations in Nigeria, the reality suggests that the failing nature of the Nigerian state resulting from its declining capacity, acute poverty, geometric unemployment and consequent underdevelopment has been the main cursor of conflicts. The study reflects on conflicts and national security with consequence for the militarization of civilian groups in Nigeria. Through a qualitative method, the paper argues that in the absence of state capacity, citizens’ frustrations and hopelessness breeds agitation and militarization against the state, either as a mechanism for pressing home their demand or as economic strategy or the defensive mechanism for repelling the apparatus of the state. It recommends improved state capacity through good governance and zero tolerance to corruption, true federalism which ensures fairness and equity; as well as government dialogue and debate as a measure of conflict resolutions rather than repressive tactic and strategy that breed conflicts and militarization of civilian groups.

Keywords


Conflicts, National Security, State capacity and Militarization

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