Nigeria on the brink of becoming a failed state - Financial Times


The Financial Times says Nigeria is “on the brink” of becoming a “failed state”, citing insecurity, stalled economic growth and weak institutions as some of the country’s biggest challenges

In an editorial on Tuesday, the international business newspaper said “Nigeria will become a problem far too big for the world to ignore” if urgent and drastic measures are not taken by the Buhari administration.

It condemned the kidnap of 344 schoolboys in Katsina, an incident that revived the memories of the more than 276 schoolgirls kidnapped in Borno in 2014, some of who are still being held by the Boko Haram insurgents.

It said the incident and similar ones have shown cast down on President Muhammadu Buhari’s ability to crush Boko Haram, a group which has “remained an ever-present threat.”

“The definition of a failed state is one where the government is no longer in control. By this yardstick, Africa’s most populous country is teetering on the brink,” the newspaper wrote.

“If the latest kidnapping turns out to be its work, it would mark the spread of the terrorist group from its north-eastern base. Even if the mass abduction was carried out by “ordinary” bandits — as now looks possible — it underlines the fact of chronic criminality and violence.

“Deadly clashes between herders and settled farmers have spread to most parts of Nigeria. In the oil-rich, but impoverished, Delta region, extortion through the sabotage of pipelines is legendary.”

Financial Times added that in addition to insecurity, Nigeria has been struggling with extreme poverty and out-of-school children mostly girls.

With the country’s population now over 200 million, the newspaper said the living standards of citizens “are declining” while “the economy has stalled since 2015.”

It added that Nigeria “desperately needs to put its finances, propped up by foreign borrowing, on a sounder footing” to survive the shock of its dwindling resources as “the elite’s scramble for oil revenue will become a game of diminishing returns.”

“In its three remaining years, the government of Mr Buhari must seek to draw a line in the sand. It must redouble efforts to get a grip on security,” the newspaper wrote.

“It also needs to restore trust in key institutions, among them the judiciary, the security services and the electoral commission, which will preside over the 2023 elections.

“More than that, Nigeria needs a generational shift. The broad coalition that found political expression this year in the EndSARS movement against police brutality provides a shard of optimism.

“At least Nigeria has a relatively stable democracy. Now Nigeria’s youth — creative, entrepreneurial and less tainted by the politics of extraction — should use that system to reset the country’s narrative.”

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