By Chuks Ekpeneru
The Financial Times of London has taken a look at the current situation in Nigeria and called for a drastic turnaround to stop the country from becoming a failed state.
The UK-based newspaper in an editorial on Tuesday titled, ‘Nigeria at Risk of Becoming a Failed State’ said the country is going backwards economically and plagued with terrorism, illiteracy, poverty, banditry, and kidnapping.
It said the abduction and subsequent rescue of over 300 schoolboys in Kankara, Katsina State, revived memories of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls abducted in Borno State in 2014.
The newspaper doubted if government was sincere that no ransom was paid to the abductors of the schoolboys and other acts of criminality.
FT said “The government insists no ransom was paid. Scepticism is warranted. In a country going backwards economically, carjacking, kidnapping and banditry are among Nigeria’s rare growth industries. Just as the boys were going home, Nigerian pirates abducted six Ukrainian sailors off the coast.
“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.”
FT disagreed with claim by the President Muhammadu Buhari, that Boko Haram had been technically defeated and said the terrorist group remained an ever-present threat
The Financial Times stated, “President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 pronounced Boko Haram technically defeated’. That has proved fanciful. Boko Haram has remained an ever-present threat. 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.”
FT said that apart from security, “the state is failing” in other areas.
The Financial Times added that Nigeria has more poor people than any other country even as Nigeria has the highest number of out of school children on earth.
The newspaper stated that as oil continues to lose its value, Nigeria’s economy would worsen.
“The population, already above 200 million, is growing at a breakneck 3.2 per cent a year. The economy has stalled since 2015 and real living standards are declining. This year, the economy will shrink 4 per cent after COVID-19 dealt a further blow to oil prices.
“In any case, as the world turns greener, the elite’s scramble for oil revenue will become a game of diminishing returns. The country desperately needs to put its finances, propped up by foreign borrowing, on a sounder footing,” it said.