Wednesday 23 December 2020

Nigeria Keeps Mum About Financial Times’ ‘failed State’ Verdict

 The Federal Government is yet to react to the raging controversy over an editorial by Financial Times suggesting Nigeria is on the brink of becoming “a failed state.”

The verdict came barely a month after an investigation by Cable News Network (CNN) which exposed the government’s alleged complicity in the shooting of unarmed protesters at Lekki toll gate during the nationwide #EndSARS protests in Lagos.

The respected newspaper x-rayed the heightened insecurity in the country manifest in banditry, kidnapping and terrorism before warning that “Africa’s most populous country is teetering on the brink.”

The publication wrote: “If the latest kidnapping turns out to be its work, it would mark the spread of the terrorist group from its north-eastern base. Even if the mass abduction was carried out by ‘ordinary’ bandits – as now looks possible – it underlines the fact of chronic criminality and violence. 

“Deadly clashes between herders and settled farmers have spread to most parts of Nigeria. In the oil-rich but impoverished Delta region, extortion through the sabotage of pipelines is legendary.

“In its three remaining years, the government of Mr. Buhari must seek to draw a line in the sand. It must redouble efforts to get a grip on security.”

The editorial advised the President Muhammadu Buhari administration “to restore trust in key institutions”, including the judiciary and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the 2023 elections. It insisted that the country deserved a “generational shift.”

“The broad coalition that found political expression this year in the #EndSARS movement against police brutality provides a shard of optimism,” the newspaper added, admitting that the country “has a relatively stable democracy” the youths could leverage “to reset the country’s narrative.”

The editorial continued: “Extortion is a potent symbol for a state whose modus operandi is the extraction of oil revenue from central coffers to pay for a bloated, ruinously inefficient political elite. Security is not the only area where the state is failing.

“Nigeria has more poor people, defined as those living on less than $1.90 a day, than any other country, including India. In non-COVID-19 years, one of every five children in the world’s out of school lives in Nigeria, many of the girls.”

The medium’s stance is a confirmation of the lingering concerns. The 2020 Fragile States Index has suggested that Nigeria is marked as more fragile with 97.3 points as against the global average, which stands at 65.58 points. The country had reached 103.5 points in 2016.

Recently, members of the organised private sector raised concerns about the rising level of insecurity, especially as it affects investments and food security. The insecurity has driven up the prices of food in northern states to an all-time high in the past few months.

Just on Monday, Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, expressed anger over what he described as routine attacks on travellers and villagers by insurgents along the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway.

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