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Nigeria-On A Slippery Slope

The aftermath of a car-bomb attack

The Nigerian criminal community has lost it’s innocence.Make no mistake about it.From kidnapping of school children to car-bomb attacks,nothing is ff-limits or sacrosanct.The government has yet to wrap it’s head around  that fact.Nigeria is on a slippery slop:the simplest definition of a slippery slope is that,in a chain of related events,the hardest step to take is the first one.Once the first step has been taken,subsequent steps come easier.Government needs more than moral suasion to combat this scourge,profitably.The genie is already out of the bottle.We cannot hope to re-bottle it.Appealing to the sense of morality criminals works,only if they know that the alternatively is the sword.Because,certainly,these guys have no conscience.

Government needs to remember,that while the basic condition for humanity is a sense of fairness,the basic condition for society is security.People first came together as group,in an attempt to ward off predators; in the belief that society,through a sovereign,would provide them with protection,people forfeited their natural rights to self-defense.It follows that the primary duty of government,is the protection of life and property.When government is unable or unwilling to provide this service,society becomes nasty and brutish.A descent into the rule of the mob and vigilante disorder beacons.Government should not underestimate or discount the ability of  the people to take the law into their own hands,in an attempt to re-claim their original rights of self-defense.

To tackle this problem,government needs a mix of police measures and social dynamics.One without the other would not work.First,the government immediately needs to boost it’s security capacity.The police,as it is presently constituted,is under-armed,under-equipped and under-motivated.They would struggle to deal with the depredations of  semi-illiterate armed robbers,not to talk of internet-savvy graduate-criminals.We need a police force that can do the business,in a knowledge-based  society,in the global village.This is the immediate step to be taken.Now

Second,government must take cognizance of the dynamics shaping our society,as it changes negatively.Government must address economic growth,by meeting the needs of it’s branches: education,health-care and infrastructure.This would promote economic growth and increased productivity.Government must address the need for a social safety-net,for those who are unavoidably unemployed.A measure of re-distribution is necessary to maximize the gains of increased productivity.The dehumanization of young people can only equip them for a life of enforcement.If they are outside the employ of the security services or the ruling political party,they would still employ these skills where ever they can.Regardless.

Government needs to fight corruption.We need to bring corruption to heel.As long as the “feeding frenzy” amongst politicians continues,an ethos of impunity and greed would would continue to be promoted.This is the basic propblem.Kids are growing up learning that society cares about only “success”;how you “succeed” is irrelevant.We need to punish criminal behaviour,regardless of the people involved.A society that rewards the meritorious rather than criminal or rent-seeking behaviour,will find itself ,by and large,making due progress.We should not be super-stitious,one plus one will always get you two.If we want a different result,we need to change the equation.

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5 responses to “Nigeria-On A Slippery Slope

  1. codliveroil October 8, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    In the light of Nigeria now being 50 years old, and one of the most undeveloped nations in the world,
    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/08/23/africa.resource.curse/index.html

    you raised very valid points.

    The recent wave of crime sweeping the country indeed does show a government that is not living up to it’s responsibilities. The creation of militias or armed groups which now have an ethnic affiliation which has gone unchecked should be brought to an abrupt halt. I was first aware of this when the Bakassi Boys, sprung up in response to armed robberies in a town in the South East. Now every state has vigilante militia ready to do whatever they want, answerable to no government. As usual the government did nothing.

    The fight against corruption is only worth embarking upon, if society can see tangible benefits from combating it. What the government has been doing to date is superficial and a gimmick. It has achieved nothing and has thereby failed to spark the public imagination. Which has resulted in corruption for the most part going unchecked. So the result is that Nigeria has notched up one of biggest examples known to humanity of a society that has failed to develop in any meaningful and substantive way, despite 50 years of oil wealth. The government has to show that by fighting corruption, society will benefit, when society sees the benefits then you will have all hands on board figuratively speaking, then corruption will reduce.

    I’m not hopeful that the way politics stand now in Nigeria, will bring any meaningful positive change. Personally I’m in favour of board of technocrats (Nigerians) who have gained kudos overseas in their field of expertise. Bring them home, ask them to lay the framework and foundation to re-vamp the economy, set up structures to ensure that government functions properly, (this includes crime fighting agencies). I think a body that draws up plans, and ensures that whatever government comes into power carries those projects through, so that we can see a continuous policy bearing fruit, rather than the ‘stop-start’ nature or even worse complete reversal of policies that various governments are now enacting.

    This board of technocrats, should be given 5 – 10 years, should be apolitical and should reconstitute INEC, allowing them to become professional and credible so that elections can be conducted in an atmosphere where things are working. The technocrats being apolitical, would have no political leanings, the only thing that is required is for the new government to fulfill key development projects within it’s lifetime, if they are failing, then new elections or the council of technocrats will have to step back in. Brazil, Bangladesh are some nations that have successfully adopted this approach.

    Finally, a lesson that has not been learned to date is that we have do do things properly and we have to learn from our mistakes, which to date the people of Nigeria have not heeded and hence our predicament.

    • henryik2009 October 9, 2010 at 5:58 pm

      Codliveroil
      Thanks for your comment.I like your idea about bringing in technocrats whether or not they are involved in politics.Please check out the post on knowledge-aristocrats.

  2. codliveroil November 11, 2010 at 1:42 am

    I’ve checked out the post on knowlege-aristocrats and left a comment, thank you.

  3. Whitny Meetington January 6, 2011 at 11:14 am

    It was extremely interesting for me to read that article. Thanx for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read more soon.

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