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Published On: Mon, Nov 3rd, 2014

What is crippling the North’s economy

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By Amina Abdullahi Umole

Nigeria is designated as the largest economy in Africa outstripping the South Africa Republic, but some analysts warn that these interpretations of economic data may be untrue. As the Nigerian economic growth is largely driven by capital intensive sector, it has not translated into job creation and poverty remains high, hence Nigeria’s low Human Development index. However, the country has made some progress towards attainment of the millennium Development Goals so far.

Nigeria, a nation state of more than 176 million people with a strong cohesive cultural history, diverse languages and a shared history of nationalism is on the road to falling apart if it is allowed to be consumed by violence and oppression. In the words of Robert I. Rotberg, the author of when states fail “nation state fails when they are consumed by internal violence and when they cease delivering positive political goals to their inhabitants. Their government loses credibility and the continuing nature of the particular nation state itself becomes questionable and illegitimate in the hearts and minds of its citizens. Therefore, the potential for violence hinders economic growth and development”.

At the moment, internal security is very crucial and since it is otherwise as the present situation maybe, so that the nation can develop further. Nigerians need internal security to start with so that citizens and non-citizens can move freely and go about their normal businesses for the growth and development of themselves and the nation at large.

The issue of insecurity in Nigeria has its genesis from long lasting vendetta, hatred, enmity and bigotries among people with differences in tribes, political affiliations, ethnicity, and religious beliefs. In recent times, insurgent attacks whose operations are crippling the economy of mostly the North are bereted with insecurity and these are gradually affecting the developments of the country as a whole. It is no longer new that commercial activities in the northern trade hub are down by half because of the campaign of violence waged by the ‘insurgent’. Thus, the north is losing its stance and its economy is gradually falling. “The North is losing greatly due to the violent activities going on in the northern states. For example when you destabilized a state like Kano which is the commercial nerve centre of the north, you are threatening the socio-economic well-being of the North’’, the information Minister, Labaran Maku told reporters few years ago.

This is, however, bound to cripple the economy and development of the northern part of Nigeria since residents have suffered countless attacks on their lives and properties; people are left with no choice than to abandon the city. Businesses have increasingly been closing down or relocating. It is more so difficult to make ends meet as most of the times citizens spend a whole day in the market without making expected sales due to the violent attacks.

The north is widely seen as Nigeria’s bread basket and the implication of the worsening State of insecurity in the region is that famine might be looming for Africa’s most populous nation and biggest economy, analyst have warned. Perhaps no one saw it coming. No one also believed it would happen and no one took it seriously. It first appeared to have taken the country unaware even as it is considered very novel or fictional.

To many of us Nigerians, it is un-African. But surprisingly, what started like a bully at the thresholds of 2009 has grown and assumed a gargantuan dimension and uncontrollably destroying the economy and tearing the country apart. The economic system in most affected northern states is biting hard on the citizens as traders and investors seem to be withdrawing and relocating to other parts of the country due to the state of insecurity. Therefore, the economy is in total shambles and by extension it has however affected Nigeria as a nation in the sense that when people are distress in one part of the country, it goes a long way in affecting other parts of the country which in real sense may not have been affected initially.

What should ponder in every mind of a Nigerian citizen is that this is not a northern problem alone. This has become a Nigerian problem. It is crystal clear that it has affected the north. Whenever there is crisis, the first victim to fall is the economy. This clearly shows that people will be scared and cannot come out to do their normal daily businesses. Over the years, hundreds of businesses have either closed or have been forced to relocate. In other words, without security people cannot talk business.

Having seen the indemnity done so far as one nation, drastic action is needed to restore our economic and financial independence and we must begin immediately to rebuild our industries. Restoring our industry to world leading standards of competitiveness will require serious restrictions on trade and investment flow. The first essential is that our government should ensure a secure country for everyone to live in. governments should also do well in providing enabling environments for businesses to flourish. The citizens should embrace peace, thereby shunning violence as it is the root of our problems. If all these aforementioned fact which fever the country can be resolved; it is considerably that violence crippling not only the Northern economy but Nigeria at large is a mirage!

Amina Abdullahi Umole, Department of Mass Communication Level 400, Bayero University, Kano.


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