Countering Insecurity in the State and its Capacity to enhance Human Security

Seye Oyeleye (Akure - Study Tour of Ondo State by the Participants of Course 30)

“Countering Insecurity in the State and its Capacity to enhance Human Security” – Seye OYELEYE, Director General, DAWN Commission

Countering Insecurity in the State and its Capacity to Enhance Human Security

Study Tour of Ondo State by the Participants of Course 30 of The National Defence College, Abuja

Being a paper delivered by the Director General of DAWN Commission, Mr. Seye OYELEYE, at a 2-Day Lecture for the Participants of Course 30 held at the Public Service Training Institute (PSTI), Ilara-Mokin, Akure, Ondo State on Thursday, 4th November, 2021


Countering Insecurity in the State and its Capacity to Enhance Human Security

A Paper Presented to Participants of Course 30, National Defense College on Thursday 4th November, 2021 at the Ondo State Public Service Training Institute, Ilara-Mokin, Ondo State.

by Mr. Seye Oyeleye M.A, LL.B (LOND), Director General, DAWN Commission.


I am indeed delighted to be at Public Service Training Institute, Ilara-Mokin to deliver this paper on Countering Insecurity in the State and its Capacity to Enhance Human Security to participants of Course 30 of the National Defense College.

I would be doing myself and everyone else here a disservice if I do not appropriately appreciate our courageous and gallant officers. We recognize all your efforts in sustaining the territorial integrity of this nation we call ours. We are forever indebted to your acts of selfless service in protecting our country and ensuring we have a nation that we call home. May God continue to protect and preserve you all as you discharge your duties.

Kofi Annan, the late former secretary general of the United Nations, once said, “human security is the freedom from fear, freedom from want and freedom from indignity”. Although, he later added the “and the freedom of future generations to inherit a healthy natural environment” (United Nations, n.d.).

This is a paradigm shift from the state-centric definitions of security that involves the protection of territorial integrity and national sovereignty.

Thus, through my presentation, I will be exploring the positive correlation between countering insecurity and an increase or improvement in human security. To do that, I will explore the concept of security and streamline it to the emerging notion of human security. Thereafter, I bring it back home by starting with my perspective on the causes of the high incidences of insecurity in the country at the moment. This is followed by providing examples of countries that have approached the challenges of insecurity from the human security angle. Following that, I briefly describe the Southwest perspective and conclude by offering recommendations for the way forward.

What is Security?

There are traditional and non-traditional conceptions of security. Traditional security is “when the nation state is secure to the extent to which it is not in danger of having to sacrifice core values, if it wishes to avoid war, and is able to, if challenged, to maintain them by victory in such war” (Walter Lippman, 1994, in Niklas Swanström, 2010).

Traditional security as a phenomenon, was limited to the scope of wars amongst nations. A particular reference are the Thirty Years’ War, the Napoleonic wars, and the different civil wars that transpired in Europe between the 17th and 18th century. Security in those eras was seen as protecting the State from the violence and invasion of other States (Rothschild, 1995). It was defined exclusively in terms of the ability of the State to defend its territory and its values against military threat. It was simply about survival of the State.

Non-traditional security issues are challenges and threats to the survival of and well-being of peoples and states that arise primarily out of non-military sources, including climate change, resource scarcity, epidemics, natural disasters, uncontrolled migration, food scarcity, transnational crime, drug and human trafficking, as is well epitomized in the concept of human security (Cabellero Anthony, M., 2016 in Consortium of NonTraditional Security Studies in Asia, 2020).

The transition from the traditional conception of security to the non-traditional conceptions of security began as far back as the French Revolution of 1789 (Rothschild, 1995). However, radical attitudinal changes towards the security began in the 1960s simultaneously with the commencement of development studies and later peaked in the 1990s in the aftermath of the Cold War and the emergence of the human development approach (Peace Building Initiative, 2009).

Human Security

Human Security in its broadest sense consists of three components that simultaneously define its scope. As I earlier alluded to, human security is the freedom from fear, freedom from want, and freedom from indignity. Here, freedom from fear are conditions that allow individuals and groups protection from direct threats to their safety and physical integrity, including different forms of direct or indirect violence, whether deliberate or
not. Freedom from want refers to conditions that allow for protection of basic needs, quality of life, livelihoods and human welfare. Freedom from Indignity is the condition where individuals and groups are assured of the protection of their fundamental rights and are allowed to make choices and take advantage of opportunities in everyday life (Tadjbakhsh, 2013).

Unlike the traditional conception of security that is state-centric in nature, the human security approach places emphasis on the individual. It proposes that the traditional notions of security fail to address insecurity in a comprehensive manner and that security for the State does not automatically trickle down to the citizens.
Human security threats include both objective and tangible elements such as little to no income, chronic unemployment, poor access to quality healthcare and education amongst others. Subjective perceptions such as the inability to control one’s destiny, indignity, fear of crime and violent conflict etc. are also threats to human security. These threats can either be direct or indirect. Direct threats are those deliberately orchestrated such as
systemic persecutions. Indirect threats are those that occur unintentionally or structurally, examples are under investment in critical socioeconomic sectors such as education, health and social protection.

The absence or presence of human security can be measured against quantitative indicators such as crime rate, violence, unemployment, freedoms and protection and promotion of human rights.

It can be used as a programmatic tool by applying a set of principles to policy making. As the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 states, the approach should be operationalized through policies and programmes that share the following characteristics:

1. People Centered:

This ensures that individuals and communities fulfil their duties as both actors and beneficiaries of interventions.

2. Interconnected and Comprehensive

Considering that, threats are mutually reinforcing and inter-connected, serious consideration is needed to avoid negative harms while promoting positive interventions.

3. Context Specific

Though, insecurities vary considerably across different settings and times, the human security framework is universal in that it is relevant to people everywhere. A response should therefore take the situation in its context and not impose one-size-fits-all approach on very different settings/scenarios.

4. Preventive Measures

The approach requires preventive measures that avert downside risks and stop these risks’ impacts from escalating, which requires an analysis of causes and risks factors. The application of the features of both traditional and human security to the Nigerian context reveals the extent to which Nigerians and by extension residents of Ondo State are secure.

Security in Nigeria

Nigeria is indeed going through one of its most troubling times in its history. The menace caused by Boko Haram and its splinter group Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP) in the North West and North East; the rampaging bandits wreaking havoc in North Central, the incessant farmers herders clashes and kidnapping occurring practically across the country.

These are all worsened by the socio economic situation of the country, where over 10 million children are out of school; over 20 million people are unemployed, gender inequality, where we have a paltry GDP per Capita of $2,097, and a life expectancy of 54 years (Oyekanmi, 2021).

These negative realities are as a result of many factors, but most importantly, in my opinion, the administration of the country. It is glaring for all to see that Nigeria is simply a federal state on paper alone and a unitary state in practice.

The inefficient management of the country can be traced to the 1966 Military coup that ushered in a series of coups until the transition to democratic rule in 1999. As is characteristics of military governments all over the world at that period, the Nigerian Military rulers sought to consolidate the power they acquired. To achieve this, they issued several decrees that transferred powers from sub-nationals to the central government.

Therefore, security which was in the purview of the regional governments to begin with, became the sole responsibility of the federal government. So at different points in time the security of Nigeria was being directed from Lagos and Abuja. With a growth in population from around 50 million in the 60s and 70s to 130 million in the 2000s, the security apparatus has refused to change despite clear indications that the system was and continues to fail. More so, the approaches to the different security challenges continues to remain the same: the purchase of military equipment, increase in recruitment to the different security agencies, significant increase in budgetary allocation to the security sector just to mention a few. This was and remains the order of the day, whether it was fighting against the Niger Delta militants, Boko Haram, Bandits, Kidnappings, cultism, Ritual Killings, Farmers-Herders Crisis and cybercrime.

Likewise, the extreme concentration of both political and financial power at the center severely impedes the socioeconomic development of the country. In the 1st and 2nd Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the exclusive and concurrent legislative list makes provisions for the powers of the federal legislature and state legislature. Mineral resources situated in States and Local Government are unfortunately situated in the hands of the federal government. The provision of infrastructure for the construction and operation of railway is also within the purview of the Federal Government as well as for the arbitrary distribution of public revenue between the Federation and the State. Of the revenue generated by the whole country, 52.68% is retained by the center, the State government obtains 26.72% and the local governments 20.60% (Taiwo K. and Veiga, L.G., 2020).

With States and Local Governments financially and politically handicapped, the extent to which they can address the socio economic challenges taking place within their jurisdiction and therefore apply the concept of human security is limited. Human security places emphasis on creating conditions that enables people to maximize their choices of who they want to be and do what they want to do (Tadjbakhsh, 2013). This entails protecting people from economic, food, health, environment, personal and political threats (United Nations, n.d.).

States and local government in Nigeria are for several reasons unable to create these conditions. One of these reasons however is the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended, which concentrates power in Abuja and leaves residual powers for the sub-nationals.

Human Security: Global Best Practices

Although no country has adopted the approach of human security as such, there are a number who have adopted some its principles to create conditions that enables their citizens to be free from want, free from fear, free from indignity and allows their future generations to inherit a natural environment. Norway is leading the world in reducing inequality and advancing human security. In the country, education is completely free. Homelessness rate in the country is less than 0.1%. Norway is one of the safest places to live and has the world’s second smallest gender gap (World Economic Forum, 2020).

Citizens in the country are expected to live around 82 years and have a GDP per capita of $67,284 (World Bank, n.d). According to the Healthcare Access and Quality Index (2015), the Scandinavian country, with a score of
over 90 has a robust healthcare system that guarantees access and quality. Access to political rights and civil liberties is also very high. Freedom House in its Freedom in the World 2021 Report rates Norway 100/100 in that regard (Freedom House, n.d.). Norway has also set a target of reducing emissions by 40% by 2030 (National Geographic, 2019).

Vietnam which was one of the poorest countries in the world 3 decades ago is presently rivaling China in economic growth. In 1993, 53% of Vietnamese lived in poverty. In 2016, only 10% live in poverty. The country invested significantly in its people and infrastructure. Increased budgetary allocation to education especially basic education. It also ensured internet access was cheap and widely available. Its economic growth has been impressively inclusive with employment rate of women within 10% that of men.

Efforts were also made to make it easier to start and run a business in the country. There was a deliberate policy to improve the manufacturing sector of the country which eventually employed millions of their youth (World Economic Forum, 2018).

Countering Insecurity: The Southwest Perspective

As I made reference to a few minutes ago, the ability of Southwest States to adequately promote the human security of their residents is limited due to the dysfunctional system of government being practiced in Nigeria. However, despite these limitations, our States have made some strides towards protecting us from threats to our human security. They have supported the Federal Governments National Social Investment Programmes
(NSIP). Constructed houses to bridge the massive housing deficit in the country.

Implemented policies that limited the economic and human cost of Covid-19. Increased recruitment of teachers to reduce the massive teacher-pupil ratio and built schools in several locations. Initiated several youth employment and entrepreneurship schemes. Support has also been provided for MSMEs within the Region. Majority of our States have passed legislation that protects and promotes the rights of children, women and persons with disabilities. There have been tangible investment in the agriculture value chain by allStates in the region, guarantying food security. Efforts towards improving the ease of doing business in the States have attracted foreign and domestic investment which have created jobs for a teeming youthful population.

Earlier this year, Ogun State entered into a partnership with the CBN and Prime Anchor on the cultivation of 4,500 hectares of land. The Ogun State government plans to generate 14,000 direct and indirect jobs from the venture (Ekeke, 2021).

In Ondo State, there is a bubbling industrial centre in Ore in Odigbo Local Government Area. At least 7 investors have brought their business to the Ondo-Linyi Industrial Hub. Amongst these are the Chinese Truck Manufacturers, Dongfeng Trucks whose assembly plant at the hub commenced operations in 2020, the same year the Sunshine Chocolate Factory was commissioned (Oyewamide, 2020).

The Ekiti State government revamped the moribund Ikun Dairy Farm in partnership with Promasidor Nigeria Limited. A total of $5 Million was spent to import cows and thenecessary machines. At optimal level, the farm will produce 10,000 litres of milk per daily Ajayi, 2021).

Recognizing that personal and community security are components of human security, the States in the Region collaborated to birth the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) codenamed Amotekun. The creation of Amotekun was facilitated by DAWN Commission on the instruction of the Governors of the Southwest States after the high incidences of ritual killings, armed robberies, cultism, and kidnapping, which culminated with the killing of Pa Fasoranti’s daughter during a kidnap attempt, Mrs. Funke Olakunrin.

Amotekun has since then gone on to record significant successes. The people of the Southwest have also accepted and celebrated the creation of the security network with a sense of pride attached to it. The Outfit has partnered with other security agencies in each of the States in the Region to drastically reduce the incidence of kidnapping, cultism, armed robberies compared to 2019 levels.

Approaching the challenge of insecurity in Nigeria today from the human security perspective is a goal definitely worth working to. The benefits are tremendous for every section of society and it will most importantly enable Nigeria actualize its development aspirations, as is evidenced by the countries cited earlier. The following are some of my thoughts on the way forward from this point.

Recommendations/Way Forward

1. Restructuring Nigeria Is Non-Negotiable.
a. All efforts and agitations should be geared towards that sole objective.
b. In Restructuring the country, the Local Government and Local Council
Development Areas should be taken into consideration as they are closer to
the people.
c. There must be continuous lobbying for State Police.
d. The principles of Fiscal Federalism must apply in a restructured Nigeria.

2. Consolidate on Gains Made by the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP).
a. Hon. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs recently Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk
recently said the NSIP has benefited 12 million households. The next target
should be 30 Million households (Yakubu, 2021).
b. Increase funding for the programmes so as to expand their reach and
deepen their impacts.

3. Work towards increasing budgetary allocations to education and health sector
a. The greatest investment a country can make is in its people. They generate the largest returns in the short, medium and long term.
b. Allocations to the educations sector should be 25% of the total budget, as recommended by UNESCO. Vocational and Technical Education should be given the policy priority they deserve.
c. 15% for the health sector, as agreed by African Leaders at the Abuja Declaration in 2001. Universal Access to Healthcare should be pursued using health insurance schemes.

4. Apply Creative and Innovative Approaches to Taxation
a. Nigeria’s GDP to tax ratio is one of the lowest in the world. The ratio continues to hover around 6%, compared to the African average of 16.5%, 34.3% for Western Countries and 22% for China. (OECD, 2020). If we are to effectively enhance the human security of Nigerians, we must generate
and amass the revenue needed to implement policies that fulfil that

5. Investment in Infrastructure
a. There should be a national declaration of a state of emergency on the power challenges we continue to endure.
b. As exemplified by Vietnam and many other developed or developing countries, industrialization is the most effective and efficient way to create jobs and to lift people out of poverty. To industrialize, we need energy and
the right policies. We already have the labor force.
c. Priority should also be given to investing in transportation infrastructure. This is germane as it facilitates commerce. Commerce breeds economic growth.
d. The challenges facing the Apapa Port must be urgently dealt with as it is costing the Nigerian economy billions of naira annually (Akhator, n.d.).

6. We must include youths, women and other marginalized groups in the decision making process in all facets of our society.

7. Technology must be adopted in the fight against crime.
a. Procurement of Unmanned Aerial Systems
b. Installation of CCTV cameras across the State and Region
c. Establishment of a Fusion Center for intelligence gathering, analysis and dissemination.

8. Address the Systemic loss of Values and Cultural Heritage
a. Carry out activities that promote value re-orientation in the Region
b. Institutionalizing and Dissemination of bite size messages through social and traditional media platforms and anchored by the Youths
c. Develop content on core Yoruba history, culture, tradition and values for
History Curriculum.
d. Adopt the State of Osun template of creating messaging that helps recreate our values

9. Address the Challenge of Paucity of Data
a. Data is the lifeblood of governance and development. Without it, it is like walking into a dark room to look for a black hat. There is no way you can make progress.
b. Great places to start are the establishment of a regional data bank through
the State Residency ID Card.

10. Check Population Growth
a. Our population is gradually becoming a curse rather than a blessing.
b. Deliberate policies must be put in place to stabilize the population growth rate, which presently stands at 2.5% and a birthrate that is 5.3 per woman, according to the World Bank.
c. Economic growth and socio economic development accompanied by high rate of birth per woman and population growth rate is not sustainable. We must prevent a situation whereby GDP growth rate is not commiserate with the population growth rate. A case in point is China, which quickly realized this and implemented its One Child Policy.


Countering insecurity in the State has tremendous capacity to enhance human security. Although only if approached from the perspective of the latter. Throughout my presentation, I have attempted to paint a picture of this exact relationship. I have explored the concept of security and the transition to the approach of human security. Provided my personal insight into the causes of the present security challenges in the country and gave
examples of countries that have tackled the issue of security using the human security approach. I briefly described the Southwest perspective in this discourse and offered my modest recommendations for the way forward.

I conclude as I began; Human Security is the Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want, Freedom from Indignity and Freedom of Future Generations to Inherit a Healthy Natural Environment.

Thank you for listening.


Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email