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Nigeria as a country gained her independence on October 1st 1960 and after a temporary civilian government and a long reign of military power, which experienced a series of coup d’état it was restored to a democratic federation in 1999. A country with a population of over 168 million and rich in both human and natural resources faces some concerns such as corruption and security challenges. These challenges are on the increase because of lack of solutions to the issues and as such posed several threats to its inhabitants as well as create economic implications.

There are some contentions as to whether the current systems handling security issues are effective. This paper will provide an in-depth analysis at the level of insecurity in Nigeria using past and current events. It will also examine existing domestic and external policies channelled towards managing the security concerns. This dissertation addresses these questions: Firstly, what is the highest form of security concern in the country?  Secondly, what role do the leaders play in ensuring security? Thirdly, what can be done to counter the security challenges? And lastly, what are the possible causes of insecurity in Nigeria?

Following a careful review of existing literature, in spite of the growing security issues in Nigeria, there are limited academic works thus limiting in-depth insight into key areas of security concerns

This dissertation uses a mixed method approach which combines the collective use of qualitative and quantitative data methodology. From these findings, the study identifies evidence linking different group causes of the security issues and also loophole in the available policies. Such awareness can help the Nigerian Government, NGOs, International Organisations and other interested bodies improve policies for security challenges especially in developing diverse nationals.

Although, previous studies restrict findings to, identifying one cause of security challenges. This comprehensive study identifies both direct and indirect causes of the issues and as such allows for collective understanding. This bundling of the causes of security challenges in Nigeria will allow other researchers focus on providing possible solution to the issues.



This chapter shall contain different ways in which security is defined in academic writings, and it will also, include enhancement in the academics of security as the world experience new levels of security bodies and security challenges. This provides a platform for the security challenges in Nigeria.


Despite the increased usage of this concept, many bodies are still clueless as to what actually constitutes human security. The end of the World War II is seen by many as the beginning of global peace and stability. This period witness the arrival of the United Nations, an organised

International body which marked the start of an enhanced form of global governance. However, a single generally accepted definition of Security has not been produced, and according to former United Nations’ Secretary General Kofi Annan, the new security threats broaden the meaning of the concept of security (Annan, 2001). This threat has also, to a large extent shaped policy response by the nature of war and conflict between nations.

Security challenges are both an issue in developing as well as in developed countries. Several efforts are made to resolve security concerns globally. However, despite the increased struggle to solve security issues, a majority of the world’s population are still faced with preventable internal security challenges; this is mainly in Africa and the Middle East. For many countries, achieving development is not only dependent on economic ability, and asset management but also the state of security of affairs within and outside its horizon.

It can be argued that the essence of maintaining peace and security is for the wellbeing of people in a society. According to the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa

(OSAA) 2005 report, the cause of security issues in Africa lies in most of her countries’ weak state centric concept of security.

Kim et al suggest that low levels of human development increases the risk of conflict outbreaks and recurrence; therefore this implies that to prevent conflict more projects are to be embarked on to promote human development and this will in turn reflect on the overall security of the country. The protection of lives especially at the grassroots’ level is crucial to the overall security of a nation.

Nigeria has six geopolitical zones namely North-Central, North-Western, North-Eastern, South-Eastern, South-South and South-western. These zones make up the thirty-six states in the country, and each state further divides into local governments.

Unlike security challenges before the start of the 1999 democratic rule, Nigeria has had a rapid increase in cases of mass murder and kidnap over the last decade. This security issues have gained popularity in the international scene. For a better understanding of security issues in Nigeria, a range of literature works are reviewed in this paper one of which includes the diversifying attribute.

The country is home of various ethnic groups, religions, cultures, histories and political views. From another perspective, according to Andrews, diversity is not a problem but rather a means exploited through political interest and other financial gains, he opines that with provision of appropriate policy framework and institution, which will replace the existing practice of identification based on the different diversifying groups to manage the distribution of resources. Some may argue that the security issues in Nigeria can be traced back to illiteracy, political interest and dysfunctional government. However, many will agree that this security issues is yet to be handled with a lasting solution.

The security system in Nigeria faces the risk of  mainly Terrorism, Militancy, Corruption,

Lawlessness, Unemployment, Illiteracy, Unstructured systems, Politics, Natural Resources

(especially Crude Oil), Ethnicity, Religion and, Cyber crime

The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) recognises four main causes of crisis outbreak in Nigeria; the report blames this on growing economic issues, an increase in organised crime, unproductive government and policies that people have no confidence in, and lastly political differences and election mayhem (OSIWA, 2012). This report goes further, to state that without prompt interference from the international community, the already existing issues might develop into more worsening security problems not only to the country but also to other regions surrounding it.



The security system in Nigeria has of late gained increased attention in the international scene, and this is due to weakness in the security system and flaws in the policy formulation.


  • The poor distribution of natural resources revenue;
  • The existence of rebel groups;
  • The high level of corruption in public offices;
  • The absence of cultural diversity management programme
  • The absence of pre-conflict plans and;
  • There are a high percentage of unemployed youths.


  • Nigeria is insecure
  • Cultural and religious diversity are used for political gains;
  • Corruption is dominant in the day to day activities in the country;
  • The security challenges limit the nation’s economic growth.


  • This study does not concentrate on how the security system operates, rather concentrates on the flaws in the system;
  • The methodology review draws from less than 1% of the total population and this may not represent the view of the majority;
  • Although there are a lot of materials on Nigeria security, there are however limited scholarly writings on the topic and;
  • The study does not include environmental security such as natural disasters.


Five main research questions were addressed in the dissertation, and they are:

  • What are the security challenges in Nigeria?
  • What are the possible causes of security challenges in Nigeria?
  • What can be done to counter the security challenges in Nigeria?
  • What is the highest form of security concern in the country?
  • What roles do leaders play in ensuring security?


Chapter one introduces the form in which the dissertation will take. It presents a brief study on the background of the study. The research problem is grouped into the main problem and six sub problems. This chapter further outlines the hypothesis of the study, the research limitations, research questions and a synopsis of each chapter’s organisation.

Chapter two reviews existing literatures on the study of Nigeria’s security challenges, it discusses the genesis of the problem, it also identifies recent developments in the study, and furthermore, it discusses the flaws in the available policies and possible solutions. The chapter also makes clear the objectives, tactics, achievements and implications of the rebel groups’ activities. Lastly it gives a summary of the review.

Chapter three reviews the research design, and the form in which the methodology will take. This was done by stating the approach, measurement, targeted participants, procedure, and data analysis. This chapter also identifies the research limitations and post-research ethics.

Chapter four presents a step by step interpretation of the response gotten from the questionnaires and interviews conducted. This chapter presents the findings of the study using tables, and the results of the research are analysed.

Chapter five merges the research problem, the literature review, the methodology and the findings. This is done, to systematically link the importance of each chapter to the development of the dissertation topic.

Lastly the references used are listed, followed by the interview questions, questionnaires and further tables and maps.


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