Terrorism, conflicts and foreign investment
All over the world, terrorist activities and conflicts which have become unmanageable are a direct threat to investments, both local and foreign. No investor would like to commit valuable funds in a country where security is not guaranteed. It is for this reason that governments make security a priority. It has been established that Africa has a lot of potentials and the suffering peoples of the continent should fare better if the resources are properly managed. But mismanagement, official corruption and insecurity are a recurring decimal. Nigeria is a huge market for any investor. But with the current spate of terror and kidnapping activities, those investors are likely to have second thoughts about coming to Nigeria.
Kidnapping for ransom seems to have come to stay in Nigeria. But it does not have to be. With strategic thinking and deploying enough human and material resources to the menace, kidnapping rings can be broken. The current situation is scary. Abuja and Lagos, the two prime cities of Nigerian State have not been spared. School children who leave their homes for school have been violently kidnapped and kept incommunicado for weeks, sometimes months. Recently, an underground tunnel was discovered as a kidnappers’ den right in a highly-populated area in Lagos. The case of the notorious kidnapper ‘Evans’ who operated a vicious armed gang for years without being caught does not inspire confidence. In his active days, he had policemen guarding him at public functions. Before he was caught, Kelvin Oniara another notorious kidnapper held Delta, Edo and Rivers States to ransom by abducting powerful people at will. Although Oniara was arrested by officers of the Department of State Security (DSS) in 2013, he is yet to go through trial and conviction.
Travellers on the highways are not spared. Highly-placed citizens on private or state assignments have been abducted while travelling to Abuja or to other destinations within the country. It has also been reported how commercial buses are stopped on the highway, searched and persons taken into custody by hoodlums. The North East, specifically Borno State, has been locked in a borderless war for about a decade. In spite of the assurances of the Presidency that the Boko Haram sect has been ‘technically defeated’ its activities are still a nightmare.
Added to all of this is the negative narrative which some African leaders have sustained through action and character. While some have stolen billions of dollars from the coffers of the state and deposited same in foreign banks, others have developed a penchant for running down their countries in the headlines of media outlets abroad. The multiplier effects of this narrative are counterproductive to the struggle of nations to break out of poverty and underdevelopment. The level of stealing that has taken place on the continent, going by the figures being released by anti-graft agencies is staggering.
Africa needs foreign direct investment. To attract investors, government must endeavour to create a conducive environment. This can be achieved by being tough on crime, enunciating thought-out and credible economic policies, avoiding sudden policy somersaults and being sensitive to all the indices that make for good business relations. Kidnapping must be stamped out. The government must take charge and secure the territorial integrity of the country. A climate of fear and uncertainty ate antithetical to doing good business. The feeling that the country may not survive another mass upheaval is palpable. In other words, through words and actions some have sustained the narrative of disintegration. This must stop. Working with the National Assembly and leaders across the country, the Presidency must ensure that peace, justice and security reign.
The National Assembly has a role to play in ensuring stability. The lawmakers have not shown enough real concern over the security situation in the country. If anything they have added to the feeling of uncertainty in the land particularly with the manner they handled the restructuring debate. There is general anger against federal lawmakers at this time. They have not fully demonstrated that they represent the will of the people with their self-serving laws and selfish policies.
The Federal and State governments must live up to their constitutional and social responsibilities. Security is the bedrock of the modern state. Individual security is usually guaranteed through a state of well-being. Individual well-being cannot be assured in a state of anarchy. It follows therefore that for individuals to be happy, the State must discharge its duties. A secured state will also attract direct investments from all over the world. It is security that African governments and indeed the Federal Government of Nigeria must pursue with all seriousness. Ineptitude and collusion with criminals by State officials is part of the problem. All persons caught colluding with criminals should be speedily punished to serve as a deterrent to others.
The point must be made that security also depends on active participation by the citizenry. The government and security agencies should create an atmosphere that would make citizens free and safe to provide intelligence for the overall benefit of the state.
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