London based medium, The Financial Times, has described Nigeria as a country at risk of attaining the the status of failed state.
The newspaper in an editorial, Tuesday, warned that if nothing is done and the country is allowed to continue in its current trajectory, it will soon become a problem far too big for the world to ignore.
The newspaper highlighted the fact that Nigeria is plagued with terrorism, illiteracy, poverty, banditry, and kidnapping, while its oil dependent economy is in tailspin, worsened by Covid and is destined to end 2020 at -4 percent GDP.
It defined a failed state as one where the government is no longer in control, noting that “by this yardstick, Africa’s most populous country is teetering on the brink.”
The newspaper 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.
It emphasized that while the government’s claim that no ransom was paid to the abductors of the schoolboys remains doubtful, other acts of criminality could not be overlooked.
“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,” editorial reads in part.
The newspaper said the claim by the President Muhammadu Buhari government in 2015 that Boko Haram had been technically defeated, has turned out to be fanciful, as according to it, the terrorist group remained an ever-present threat.
“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,” the editorial continued.
“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.”
The newspaper said security is not the only area where “the state is failing”, adding 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.
The newspaper said Buhari, who has less than three years left in office, must use the remainder of his term, to redouble efforts at improving security.
It advised the government to restore trust in key institutions, among them the judiciary, the security services and the electoral commission, which will preside over the 2023 elections.
The Financial Times said the #EndSARS protests led by Nigerian youths, signaled a glimmer of hope for Nigeria’s teeming youth population
It added, “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.”
The medium noted in conclusion that it was time for Nigeria to restructure its political system and concentrate on security, health, education, power and roads
“A new slimmed down state – ideally with fewer bankrupt regional assemblies – must concentrate on the basics: security, health, education, power and roads.”
It said with these in place, “Nigeria’s young people are more than capable of turning the country around. At the present trajectory, the population will double to 400 million by 2050. If nothing is done, long before then, Nigeria will become a problem far too big for the world to ignore.”
Financial Times Stating the Obvious – Ezeogu
Meanwhile, Abuja based public affairs analyst, Chidi Ezeogu, has said the newspaper only stated the obvious.
According to him, it said nothing different from observers like himself have been saying.
“Of course, the obvious truth is that Nigeria is practically a failed state. A country where bandits run rampage in large areas of its territory, and in which Boko Haram holds local governments and vast forests can only be a failed or failing state,” he said.
“And let’s not forget the growing poverty, unemployment and hunger, which will in due course, combine to bring the country to it’s kness if nothing is done to arrest the situation.”