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Nigeria; the most populous black nation in the world, is one of the most dangerous places to live in. From Benue to Lagos, from Rivers to Sokoto, and from Borno to Anambra, daily reports of (general) insecurity in the country is both frightening and revealing. It is frightening because the government is unable to halt the gale of insecurity while it is revealing because Nigeria is evidently becoming a place where terror; indirect and direct terror, is now balanced. Here, it is poverty and frustration begetting aggression, attacks, violence and conflict.

Indeed, many of the security issues in Nigeria (terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, militancy, ethnoreligious clashes, etc) are a produce of the gross socioeconomic imbalances in the country, an imbalance that has begotten the war between the haves and the haves-not, the rich and the poor. Thus, many of the insecurity cases in Nigeria are fueled by the desire of the haves-not to balance their life with those of the haves. Interestingly, as long as hunger keeps the poor man awake, fear of been attacked would also keep the rich man awake. It is a circle – an endless circle of frustration and aggression.

And, as long as government officials and the rich; many of whom acquired their wealth through illicit private business deals and public corruption (indirect forms of terror) ignore the plight of the poor and downtrodden in the country, reports of general insecurity, particularly kidnapping and armed robberies (direct forms of terror) would continue to increase because the growing population of the haves-not would continue to seek ways to survive their harsh realities – even if it means killing and maiming others.

What then can be done to unbalance terror in Nigeria? Government must consciously and deliberately implement policies that targets the poor, policies that would ameliorate the scourge of lack and hunger in the country, particularly as we recognize that Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world. And beyond making policies that’ll help the poor, government must also deliberately tackle corruption – as corruption is the chief reason why government policies targeting the poor do not get implemented. On the flip side, the poor must recognize that poverty/lack is not an excuse to kill others seeing that not all poor folks are terrorists, militants, kidnappers or armed robbers.

©Chad Otsapa 2018