Imagine a situation whereby people are allowed to act based on their natural instincts, definitely, there cannot be law and order. This is because every individual will desire to exert his power and get away with whatever he does regardless of whether other people will be affected. Law is being established to ensure that human behaviors are regulated towards peaceful coexistence but it has observed, particularly in Nigeria, that law has not been able to achieve the purpose of its existence. The inability of the law in ensuring security and social stability in Nigeria is mainly due to some key factors but with the justifiability of the provisions of chapter II the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended1 among other recommendations, Nigeria will know peace.
Since independence in 1960, Nigerian Political leaders have had to grapple with the issue of national security in a country with diverse culture, ethno-religious and political identities2. The indicators and manifestations of economic and socio-political crisis in Nigeria include … worsening social conditions, personal in security, poverty, internal terrorism and persistent opposition against government by different ethnic and geo-political associations or groups3.
It is quite overwhelming that there are lots of legal frameworks in solving the social problems and insecurity in the country though it is saddening that the government is not willing to maintain national stability. This is because it is observed that a state(or nation) where citizens enjoy basic human rights, economic and social rights will be averse to insurrection or any form of insurgence against the government which Nigeria is experiencing presently4. This paper focuses on the relevance of law in Nigerian Nation in enhancing security and social stability in the country.
2.0 Knowing The Law
The question depicts the significance of law in any nation. Law is like a scheme of social control 5 In Military Governor, Lagos State & ors v Ojukwu 6, law is the rules usually made by the legislative arm of government, which orders the way persons, bodies and societies behave. To Glanville Williams, law is the cement of society and also an essential medium of change 7. The English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes defined law as the formal glue that holds fundamentally disorganized societies together 8. But, Why has law not being able to glue the various ethnic and religious societies in Nigeria together thereby causing social unrest and insecurity in the country?
3.0 State of Security and Social Stability in the Nigerian Nation: A Tip of the Iceberg
To the ordinary Nigerian, security is seen in terms of uniformed personnel relating to the Armed Forces and the police 9. However, according to a one time World Bank president, Robert McNamara in his “The Essence of Security” insisted that national security means development. Security is not military hardware, though it may include it, security is not military force, though it may involve it, security is not traditional military activity, though it may encompass it 10. It is important to note that protecting citizens from foreign attack is certainly a necessary condition for the security of individuals, but it is not a sufficient one 11. Indeed, during the past century (in Nigeria), far more people have been killed (directly or indirectly) by their own governments than armies from abroad 12.
Social Stability, on the other hand, is a state of social cohesion: understanding and cordial relationship among the citizens. Social stability takes place when the citizens regardless of their religious, social and economic backgrounds, have peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding 13. It can also be construed as a situation where every citizen have assess to basic social facilities.
Flowing from the two concepts, it is unarguable that Nigeria is insecured and socially unstable. On Tuesday, 1st June, 2021, the Irigwe Development Association and the Irigwe Youth Movement of Miango Districts in Bassa local government area of Plateau State, disclosed that suspected Fulani herdsmen have killed 41 out of its people in repeated attacks in several communities between February and May, 2021 resulting in many orphans and widows in the affected communities14
All these and many other security challenges have rendered Nigeria to rank third among 163 countries of the world in respect of rate of terrorism15. Also, 1.7 million Nigerians are now internally displaced. It only amounts to prejudice if it is still believed that Nigerians are secured in Nigeria16.
4.0 The Challenging Situations and The Law
Kidnapping, rape, unlawful killings, banditry, terrorism, inter-ethnic crisis, food scarcity, corruption, robbery, arbitrary arrest and detention have become the order of the day in the so called “Giant of Africa” – Nigeria.
Recently, On Monday around 4:00pm on 2nd June this year, over 236 students and staff of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School, Tegina in the Rafi local government area of Niger State have been kidnapped and 110 million naira is demanded for their release17. It is over two months and the children are still in captive of the kidnappers. In fact, kidnapping as become a very lucrative business in which many Nigerians especially the youth are venturing into. One will be wondering if there are laws in curbing these social vices and reducing insecurity. Surprisingly, there are laws.
Starting from section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution which states that “security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government” which it is crystal clear that the purpose has been neglected a very long time. The unjustified provisions of section 13-20 of the same Constitution contribute a whole lot in the challenges facing Nigeria as a nation. Also, Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap R11 LFN 2004, Prohibition of Unlawful Societies and Cultism Law of Lagos State 2021 and Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law of Jigawa State 2021 are just few of the numerous laws enacted in ensuring security and social stability in the nation. The state of insecurity and social instability in the country has shown that the laws are not allowed to play their roles owing to poor justice system of courts, godfatherism, dauntless attitudes of the citizens, loss of hope in the government by the citizens.
Conclusion and Recommendations
There is no dispute that when a society(or nation) is able to develop and satisfy more of the well-being and welfare needs of its citizens, there will increase in legitimacy of the regime in power and promotes loyalty, patriotism and obedience from the citizenry 18. When everyone takes up the responsibility, the law will be able to play its role in ensuring law and orderliness in the Nigerian nation which will in turn accelerate developments in the country.
In order to facilitate the effectiveness of law in enhancing security and social stability in Nigeria, the following recommendation should be take into consideration:
(1) the constitutional review that is ongoing in the country should give room for the justifiability and enforcement of the provisions of chapter II of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in courts of law when they are neglected by the government;
(2) youths should be empowered by enacting laws to that effect in order to make them more responsible so that they would not resort to violence in expressing their grievances to the society;
(3) the laws should be administered and enforced on citizenry without fear or favour; and
(4) exemplary leadership acting within the confinement of the law.
Ismail Khadijat Moromoke is a 200 a level Student of Law, University of Ilorin.
Can be reached Via:
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/khadijat-moromoke-8a72a7213
1 section 14(2)(b) and section 17 of the 1999 Constitution.
2 Asikia Ige, ‘The Quest for State Security in Nigeria: The Imperative of Human Right and Good Governance’ Journal of Public and International Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria 180.
4 Asikia Ige, op. cit, page 182
6 1 NWLR (pt.18)p. 61
9 A.A. Idowu, A.A. Adedeji, S.O. Oyelade, ‘Public Order, State Security and Development in Nigeria'(2003) Being a paper presented at the 39th Annual Law Teachers Conference at the University of Maiduguri 2-3.
10 M.T. Ladan and Yusuf Dankofa, ‘Human Rights, Security and Development: A Call for Effective Enforcement in Nigeria'(2012)3 Human Rights Review 104
11 Ibid, p.105
13 D.A. Falade and T.A. Ekundayo, ‘Social Stability and the Effects of Gender Differences in the Demonstration of some Civic Traits among Secondary School Students in Ondo State<:/users/client/Downloads/SOCIAL-STABILITY.doc.> accessed 2 June 2021
18 M.T. Ladan and Yusuf Dankofa, op.cit., page 105
Ismail Khadijat Moromoke is Student of Law, University of Ilorin.
Can be reached Via:
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/khadijat-moromoke-8a72a7213[carousel_slide id='8496']