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ABSTRACT. This paper undertakes an analysis of Nigerian security issues specifically evaluating Edo State territorial, economic, and political security challenges. It critically interrogates three security theories, the realist perspective, and constructivist, human security theories and their contribution in understanding the security quagmire currently facing Edo State, and Nigeria. The research design was informed by a content analysis of key themes and priorities deriving from structured deliberations around the issue of security challenges in Edo State held in London in 2015 involving key stakeholders. The findings suggest that Edo State faces serious territorial security challenges in regards to boundary issues in the south and western axis. It also faces threats from natural disasters and climate change, seen in the rise of sea levels resulting in floods and erosion. In the economic sphere, Edo state experiences high unemployment rate due to the absence of key industries and lack of investment and inappropriate models of education. Also identified as an immediate concern, was possible incursion by Muslim Fulani herdsmen from the north; whilst political security has remained unabated due to the rising numbers of political assassinations in the state. The paper advances a number of recommendations to address many of these problems.

Keywords: human security; security sector reform; Nigeria


This paper explores Edo State security concerns by focusing on territorial, economic, and political security dimensions. Informed by the lacklustre sociopolitical and economic growth Nigeria and indeed Edo state has faced, especially in the last 26 years since its creation, the state has witnessed multiple layers of insecurity in the absence of much needed development. The need to define a new socio-economic trajectory, underpinned by a robust and transparent political culture, partly informed the holding of the 2015 Edo Security Summit by the Edo National Association (ENA). The ENA is the central body of all Edo clubs and local associations in London. The Security Summit was attended by a large number of critical stakeholders. The paper explores the implications of the current state of affairs in Edo state as deliberated by Security Summit participants to draw an informed conclusion of whether or not Edo state has a secured territory and the implications of its current political and economic environment.

The primary objectives of the paper are: first, to inform contemporary public policy debate on territorial integrity, including political and economic security. Second, it aims to encourage and create national and international opportunities for direct interventions across the areas discussed. Third, it impresses upon policy makers the need to develop a people-driven and sustainable approach and strategies to economic, political and security matters for Edo state for the interest of its citizens. Lastly, it intends to inform public policy debate on broader economic, socio-political and security issues in Edo state. Since the initial circulation of an earlier draft of this paper several of the key recommendations contained within it have been adopted by the Lagos and Cross River State governments (Premium Times, March 2017).

Research Methods

The methodology used to inform this article was driven in the first instance by a literature review on pertinent material on security matters related to Edo State, Nigeria, and general debates around safety concerns respectively. Key issues identified and drawn from this process was used to inform a provisional paper which was presented at the Edo Security Summit to inform proceedings which was recorded. Subsequently, a content analysis was carried out on the recorded discussions with a focus on identifying salient issues and themes which were raised consistently that directly related to safety and security matters which were then prioritized. This process was extended in identifying secondary themes which indirectly related or contributed to security concerns which were consistent with the human security theoretical framework adopted to inform the initial paper that was presented. See Stanislas (2013) for greater details of content analysis methods used.

Theories explaining territorial, economic and political security threats in Africa

According to the United Nations Development Programme (1994 cited in Dunn, 2014) the concept of political, economic and community/territorial security occupies a central place within the broader scope of human security (Cilliers, 2004). However, the seven elements conceptualized within human security have been criticized by Chandler et al. (2011) who described the concept as only serving the interest of entrenched power in offering palliative or token support. On the other hand, Hussein et al. (2004) and Dunn (2014) question the problematic nature of the concept of human security to both academics and policy makers alike. The realist school of thought anchors the perennial challenges of insecurity, particularly in Africa on the concept of security dilemma created by the overt disorderliness witnessed in the international security system. This view opposes attempts to rearrange international peace and security frameworks (Dunn, 2014). Arguably, this view cannot stand the test of time because the various sub-systems within the larger international security system would need to be organized and ordered for nations to achieve any element of peace and prosperity for their citizens.

Conversely and in a rather proactive manner, the liberal theorists believe that the problem of insecurity in South Saharan Africa is caused by weak institutions which require urgent reform in order to bring about regional and international security (Mills, 2016; Vilombo, 2014). The liberal view also hold that, strong institutions normally reflects the capacity to decrease and diffuse uncertainty and with it insecurity which is achieved through transparent information flow, elimination of corruption and creation of a focal point that coordinates all agencies within a state (Dunn, 2014). Alexander Wendt (1999, cited in Dunn, 2014), a constructivist theorist, argued that African security problems are, in part, social structures created by subjective understanding with historical antecedent and defined interests. Therefore, social structures are constructed and, not given, mainly realized through shared knowledge, material resources and practices (Dunn, 2014). Arguably, the realist security dilemma and the constructivist social structure are responsible for how the security quagmire currently facing Edo state and Nigeria is conceived.

The issue of human security creates important challenges as it relates to Nigeria and most sub-Saharan African states, in attempting to reconcile this notion of security with significant developments taking place on the continent. For example, how to align human security within existing regional and wider security frameworks such as ECOWAS (Hussein et al., 2009: 9). An important area of possible friction is between international donor agencies who promote the human security paradigm, such as the United Nations, and countries which view it as not meeting their immediate needs. Another related consideration is reconciling the human security concept with other frameworks being promoted in Africa such as Security Sector Reform (Ansorg, 2017) and notions such as hybrid security governance which recognizes non-state actors as crucial in the provision of policing and security (Cross, 2016; Baker, 2010; Hussein et al., ibid.).

Edo State Territorial Security

The concept of security is often defined and redefined by unfolding developments across the world. With no exception to the twenty-first century, modern day definition of security seems to be returning to that of the Middle Ages which was principally premised on the belief that security is only assured when the lives of adversaries were held hostage (Mangold, 2013: 29-84). Security is more complex than this view suggests and can be understood in multidimensional ways. Longo (2013: 239-255) argues that it is no longer restricted or guaranteed by the territorial integrity of nations, but enlarged to include the nature of the threats and the content of the security agenda. Placing this discussion in proper perspective, O'Leary (2006: 430-432) defined territorial security simply as a state's sovereignty with the power and right to exercise control over land and territory controlled by the government. Giragosian's (2013: 47-63) definition of territorial security as a state's mission to contain potential internal and external threats through the physical protection of its geographical territorial integrity and borders, secure its population and economic resources resonates correctly with the position of this paper.

Notably the concept of territorial security has divided many scholars especially students of international relations (Mangold, 2013: 29-84; Roy, 2015: 4-31) and security across ideological and theoretical lines (Longo, 2013: 239-255). Some scholars broadly view security as two sides of the same coin, which includes human and natural resources on the one hand, and physical territory on the other (Longo, 2013: 239-255; Mangold, 2013: 29-84). Territorial integrity suggests the level at which the physical protection and safety of a specific geographical space including human and natural resources as well as properties within its parameters is been executed by constituted authorities (Giragosian, 2013: 47-63; Longo, 2013: 239-255; Mangold, 2013: 29-84). Suffice to say that engaging in a critical discussion on territorial security, without also considering the safety of its human and material resources would be viewed as an intellectual somersault. Apparently, territories do not determine themselves neither are they inherently sacrosanct, rather they are defined by the people and material resources found within them (Giragosian, 2013: 47-63).

National territories and indeed debates on territorial security have extended to include national "cyberspace territory" (Kasper, 2015). According to Jong et al. (2015: 14-16; Maybury, 2015: 2-12) the emerging dimension to territorial security extends, in principle, beyond existing normative scope into cyberspace which faces threats both from lone and state sponsored hackers. This is what Kaplan (2016: 265-271) called the dark territory which unfortunately has the capacity to define the direction of contemporary security. Sequel to the above, a country's territorial security should no longer be defined by its land, sea and air border security (Liaropoulos, 2016: 198-204) and include space and cyberspace (Kuznick and Stone, 2015: 301-305). The concept of national security should include virtual or cyberspaces covering all information and infrastructures that are accessible through the internet beyond all national territorial boundaries (Kasper, 2014: 189-216). Contrary, Radziwill (2015: 99-110) posits that territorial security should not extend to cyberspace because it alters the concept of cartography and due to the absence of international agreement on de facto international and national cyber territories.

Curiously America's national "cyber or virtual territory" cannot be said to be as secured given that multinational businesses in the United States like Sony and Yahoo including the Pentagon have had their sites hacked into, purportedly by North Korea and recently Russia and who wield less military power (Carlin, 2015). Nigeria and smaller state entities like Edo state face the realities of cyber-attacks on public and private infrastructure (Fayomi et al., 2015: 107-116). This danger was also elucidated by Carlin in his speech published by Harvard National Security Journal that cyber intrusions has the capacity to inflict significant physical damage by introducing malware like "Black Energy" designed to harm a peoples' way of life (Carlin, 2015).

Clearly one problem would be how the international community would legally respond against an aggressor hacker country since no caveat explicitly provides for such course of action within exiting instrument guiding the actions of United Nations Security Council (Hessel, 2016: 2394-2445; Veroff, 2016: 730-772). Therefore territorial security across countries in contemporary times will be extremely difficult to police and protect (Kasper, 2014); especially in countries like Nigeria lacking functional security architecture and infrastructures (Fayomi et al., 2015). The passage of the 2015 Cybercrime Act in Nigeria is indication of the growing awareness of these new threats. Concerns about threats to national security and other internet-related crimes have driven the African Union to explore the need for good practice and governance in this area (Nyirenda-Jere and Biru, 2015).

Underpinned by the aforementioned matters Edo state territorial security should be viewed as an aggregate sum of the collective safety and security of its human and material resources including the geographical parameters across the length and breadth of the 18 local government areas (Giragosian, 2013: 47-63). Edo state has its origins in what was originally Bendel state which boasted the ancient city of Benin in the Mid-West Region of Nigeria which was divided into Edo and Delta states in 1991 (Azikiwe, 2013). Edo state is home to several ethnic groups such as the Benin, Afemai, Esan, Akoko-Edo and Ijaw people inter alia. The state is divided into three agro-ecological zones of south, central and Edo north which also represents the senatorial zones (Nwankwo, 2010: 123-130; Aga, 2009). The state has an estimated population of four million people spread across an area of 19,794 [km.sup.2], and a physical geographical span of arable land stretching from the north to the south of the state. The ease of access to Edo land has led to calls for caution that it may attract the acquisitive interest of the nomadic Fulani (Ajayi, 2015).

The Fulani have terrorized (raping, kidnapping and killing) indigenous inhabitants across many Nigerian states, including those in the southern and western states (Adebayo, 2015). Several questions come to mind, such as who supplies and trains these Fulani nomads in the use of these weapons? Recently, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a federal lawmaker, alluded to this dangerous development (Ajayi, 2015; Mkutu, 2016). (1) At the time of writing Fulani herdsmen launched an unprovoked assault on the rural area of Enugu, killing 40, shooting people randomly as they fled (Mamah et al., 2016; Uzodinma, 2016). What is particularly worrying is growing suspicions that these violent attacks are being instigated and resourced by powerful and wealthy individuals to deliberately create instability to undermine the government (Ebohomele, 2016; Stanislas and Iyah, 2016: 331). Consequently, Edo state is facing a security dilemma which is a reflection of the overt disorderliness witnessed within and amongst the Nigerian leadership and security (Dunn, 2014).

The borders of Edo state territory should be adequately protected because it shares its borders with Kogi in the north, Delta and Ondo states in the south and west with river Niger in its eastern coast which exposes it to sea attacks (Ojo, 2002; Nwankwo, 2010: 123-130). The state lies within a latitude of 05[degrees] 44' N and 07[degrees] 34' N and longitude of 06[degrees]04 'E and 06[degrees] 43 'E, which makes it a rain forest and coastal state blessed with vegetation that could potentially attract lawless Fulani marauders in possession of AK47 assault rifles (Abuh, 2015; Ajayi, 2015). Edo state territorial integrity refers to the security and safety of its people and resources found within its physical geography as defined by Nigerian laws consistent with Giragosian's views (2013: 47-63).

External Invasion

The human element used to gauge Edo state territorial security is whether or not there have been any external attacks (such as aggression, boundary disputes or encroachment) into Edo territory. Commentators argued that, although there were pockets of boundary disputes between Orhionmwon and Igbanke communities with their Delta state neighbors and Okomu with Ondo state in the west, there is no evidence that this has resulted in any major conflict leading to the ceding of any part of Edo state territory to neighboring states (Hellermann, 2013: 45-75), though Osaghie (2000) thinks otherwise.

Enogholase (2013) maintains that Orhionmwon local government area had always had boundary related problems with Okpororo, its Delta state neighbors, due to oil and gas resources. According to Enogholase, there is a clandestine plan to cede Edo state oil. Edo state land has not yet been ceded to any other state, but has been encroached upon in the western and southern axis (Hellermann, 2013: 45-75; Enogholase, 2013). These sensitivities are not without substance given the occurrence of these types of actions elsewhere in Nigeria (Stanislas and Iyah, 2016).

Threats of natural disasters

Edo state has had to deal with many floods incidences and this has worsened lately, and its magnitude has the capacity to threaten Edo territorial security (Amaize et al., 2015). Many argue the rise in global C[O.sub.2] emission leading to global warming contributes to the rise in sea waters causing flooding in coastal areas (Edelstein, 2013: 15-20; Domone, 2010: 529-550). The critical point to consider is whether these floods often recede or claim arable lands? If arable lands are claimed by floods, it clearly means that Edo state is losing its arable land to flood caused by rising sea levels (Domone, 2010: 529-550), especially in the coastal part of the state (Amaize et al., 2015), hence state territory is not secured due to such natural occurrences. Closely related to these is the lack of capacity by the emergency services to assist those whose lives and properties are threatened by floods and other environmentally related disasters, and whether adequate state and community response mechanisms are in place to respond to such incidences. (2) A typical example of good practice in this area is the Accident and Emergency Rescue Initiative originated by consultant development manager Son Gyoh (2010). (3)

Some scholars have dismissed the problem of flooding, often referring to it as a common problem, stressing that many countries and states will most certainly lose arable lands to flooding due to climate change (Edelstein, 2013: 15-20; Incropera, 2015: 101-107). The good news is the floods currently been experienced across many local government areas in Edo state have always receded into the sea, but Amaize et al. (2015) posit that this might not continue indefinitely. Hence Edo state government should move quickly with the use of incentives to work with citizens to adopt sustainable development initiatives. On the other hand, coastal dwellers (Edo north) should be encouraged to resettle on high lands to avert potential dangers in the case of overflowing from river Niger which is expected due to climate change impacts (Ogbonna, 2014: 165-181).

Consequently, the loss of 2,846 ([km.sup.2]) of lands according to the low estimate whilst on the contrary a 2.0 meter sea level rise is expected to potentially affect 18,803 ([km.sup.2]) of land in higher estimate scenarios as shown above could potentially lead to the displacement of approximately 1,000 or half a million people in Niger Delta coastal regions (Awosika et al., 1992, as cited in Ogbonna, 2014: 165-181). This situation may have worsened in the last eight years, thus Edo state territory is still vulnerable from these natural incidences.

Internal socio-political and economic threats

Since Edo state was created, different political regimes have witnessed simmering tensions (Newswatch, 1992; Banjo, 1997). Notably, the riots against the federal military government of General Ibrahim Babangida, who annulled the June 12, 1993, presidential elections, arguably won by MKO Abiola shook the territorial security of Edo state (Krieger and Joseph, 2000: 280-290; Bah, 2005: 120-130). While spared from strong disruption Edo state experiences grave economic hardship. Internal socio-political unrest is a serious likelihood, if urgent and sincere measures to create jobs are not taken seriously by relevant stakeholders. This is made worse because of the increasing level of educated people with 61% literate adult males and 39% females (Edo state Ministry of Health, 2010: 4-72). The very high graduate unemployment rate is a striking feature of the demography of Edo State caused by lack of jobs and a higher education system that does not prepare young people for the needs of the economy (Oviasuyi et al., 2012; ICEF Monitor, 2016). The 2010 unemployment figures rose to 35.7% (Aiyedogbon and Ohwofasa, 2012: 269-278). Although these figures constitute staggering economic loss for the state, it also has the capacity to cause potential internal socio-economic threats to Edo state (Aiyedogbon and Ohwofasa, 2012: 269-278). It is critical that economic policies that will create sustainable jobs are implemented by relevant authorities. In short, Edo state territorial security is currently premised on shaky grounds.

Practical suggestions on states' territorial security games in Nigeria

Informed by the fact that Nigeria has witnessed and will continue to witness increase in population growth, available evidence suggest this will come with attendant security challenges. For instance, the kidnapping and terrorist activities have been perpetuated by Hausa-Fulani nomadic herdsmen across many states (Ajayi, 2015; Adebayo, 2015). Edo state government must not be caught napping. Craigie (2013: 155-163) argues that security is a higher order concern, thus sustaining territorial integrity is the fundamental purpose of any legitimate government because failure to do so will compromise its capacity to provide general democratic good. An important element of this process has been described by Giragosian (2013: 47-63) as "constant vigilance and preparation." Further validation of this point is the large number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who are victims of Boko Haram terrorists attacks scattered across Nigeria, including Edo state, which should give any government course for concerns (Comolli, 2015).

In order to address this issues one critical precondition is the reform of the Federal Police responsible for providing core policing for Nigerian states. The problems plaguing the police range from nepotism, bias and partisanship, incompetence (Adebayo 2004) to corruption (Aremu 2016) and criminality (Stanislas and Iyah, 2016; Stanislas, 2016: 299-300). Edo State House of Assembly should create a territorial security legislation which identifies avenues and suggest practical processes within which Edo state government can work closely with the leadership across the 18 local government areas to fund these reforms. This will effectively remove such duties from the state Ministry of Lands and Survey. In addition, this legislation can be used to establish the Edo Boundary Patrol Officers Corp (EBPOC) whose employees should be recruited from-amongst the indigenes of the 18 local government areas where their offices should also be located in order to secure all the boundaries of the state (Atsegbua et al., 2004: 60-70). Operationally, the work of the EBPOC should be supported by the Border Security Intelligence Unit (BSIU) whose main roles will be to collect, analyze and disseminate intelligence about threats emanating across the state borders. It can also include in its remit threats within the state borders, whilst providing assistance to police and security services if required.

A particular priority area of the BSIU is gathering intelligence on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons including their sources and origins (see Wunder, 2016). These two agencies (EBPOC, BSIU) should be empowered and mandated to submit their operational reports to the State House of Assembly and the State Executive Council every quarterly. Sharing intelligence and information on urgent and critical matters like impending attacks from terrorists, Fulani herdsmen and others. Another responsibility of these agencies would be to alert and give early warnings to relevant security departments (including the state police) and also directly to the Edo State House of Assembly and State Government to ensure effective checks and balances before any action is authorized. The law can mandate the EBPOC and BSIU to provide evidence and intelligence gathered each quarterly. The current reality is that, there are many threats in Nigeria and Edo state, and government at various levels needs to establish mechanisms to deal with current and future territorial security issues (Atsegbua et al., 2004: 60-70). Finally, a Specialist VIP Intelligence and Security Unit (SVISU) should be created to provide security advice, support, training and protection for high-profile business and politically exposed persons and their close associates who might be at high risk of assassination or kidnapping. This unit should report to the Chief Justice of the State, State House of Assembly and the State Executive Council quarterly.

Edo state economic security

Gupta (2015: 84-101) argued that economic security of a people determines political and human security of a nation. In other words, a state where a large number of its citizenry lacked decent jobs, incomes, and where social safety nets are non-existent will certainly lack political and territorial security (Leveson, 2011: 1-19). This is also consistent with economic interdependence theory which posits that economic security of a state rests on linking economic security with the empowerment of skilled and semi-skilled workforce (Fravel, 2008). Pelkmans et al. (1982: 230-245) expressed the views that economic insecurity is when defined economic values, worthy to be preserved, are threatened within a state. They further maintain that threats to economic security are determined by the power of the state to demonstrate in national and international relations, its level of economic development, including the relationship between government and its people in determining their economic priorities.

There is no clear evidence of any consensus or clearly articulated economic policy or strategy for Edo state. Moreover, there is even less examples of the public or their representatives being involved in that process. The lack of a clear economic policy is compounded by the fact that the majority of people in Edo State are employed in government which appears to weaken the motivation to develop a robust approach to economic development (Adeola, 2014; Okojie and Prina, 2004: 40-43). A working definition of economic security describes it as freedom from poverty and wants (Gleditsch, 2007: 177-190). Despite these concerns, the fact remains that Edo state is one of the richest states with enormous human and natural resources in Nigeria (Nwankwo, 2010: 123-130; Edo state Ministry of Health, 2010). Because the state is naturally endowed with large expanse of arable and fertile land suitable for planting and growing food and cash crops on an industrial scale with its attendant value chain that could create profitable businesses. Quite recently, Edo state was included as one of the oil producing states in Nigeria due to the realization that Orhionmwon local government area had commercial deposit of crude oil (Enogholase, 2013). Furthermore, Okpella has considerable quantities of lime stone used for the production of cement (Nwankwo, 2010: 123-130; Edo state Ministry of Health, 2010).

Edo is blessed with enough natural resources to sustain itself and posterity. However, there appears to be a lack of skilful and forward-thinking economic leadership that takes into consideration the traditional strength of Edo economy and indigenous thinking on these matters that will benefit local people in the medium and long-term (Eweka, 2003). One criticism of Nigerian economic policies and that of other developing countries is they have largely been shaped externally (Joseph, 2007). Breaking this dependency on external influence is crucial and assisted by examining the experiences of countries such as South Korea (Seoul). While it does not have significant natural resources, South Korea is amongst the strongest contemporary economies (Lew, 2015). This was achieved through the mastery of shipbuilding and they are currently amongst the best shipbuilders in the world, including motor vehicle and electronics manufacturing (Lew, 2015). This is a clear example of holding onto shared economic values by the state and its citizens as posited by Pelkmans et al. (1982: 230-245).

Edo people were exceptionally successful traders and business people (trading in beads, cloth fabrics, pepper, gold and slaves) with African countries and Portugal as early as 1485 (Shillington, 2013). International trade was carried out through Gelegele-Ughoton Sea port in Gwato (Shillington, 2013: 215-235) in Benin City. It also served as the trade route between Edo people and the Portuguese in the 15th century (1480s). Scholars maintain that the people of Benin Empire were rich and industrious and the empire extended its frontiers and lands up to Dahomey (present day Benin republic) and parts of the present day Ghana (Osemwowa, 2000: 3-20; Olupona, 2004). These winning economic traits are required again to build a modern economically secured Edo state.

To further compound the economic problems in Edo state there have been many inconsistencies in its industrialization growth rate over the last 25 years (Daramola and Oniovokukor, 2006: 1315-1324; Terfa, 2011: 17-29). The total percentage growth of agricultural output has not been sustainable and observers opined that the few increases seen are often tied to the particular government in power and soon wane with that government (Akegbejo-Samsons et al., 2004). A typical instance is the factory in Ehor, Casavita at Uromi, Fertilizer plant at Auchi and Ikpesi Fruit Juice Factory (constructed by former governor Lucky Igbinedion) which arguably has never been operational (Ebegbulem, 2015). Instructively, Edo state has sufficient resources to become a leading state in Nigeria by implementing the newly proposed Edo state development agenda which recommends investments in critical infrastructures such as roads, schools and hospitals for the communities. It is also necessary to reduce the high level of youth unemployment (Stanislas and Iyah, 2016; Aiyedogbon and Ohwofasa, 2012: 269-278) which impacts negatively on both economic indicators and crime rates (Aiyedogbon and Ohwofasa, 2012: 269-278). In addition, this environment is infected with corruption of politicians and state officials (Eweka, 2003; Akpotor, 2007).

Consequently, there is the need for an elaborate economic policy in Edo state which includes a robust and comprehensive anti-corruption strategy. The Economic Intelligence Unit will have two important functions. The first function is to identify vulnerable areas of the economy which are at risk of corruption. The second is to prepare a report on these vulnerabilities and submit it to the State Executive Council, House Committee on Edo State Economic regeneration and Ministry of Economic Planning (Aremu, 2016; see Gottschalk and Stanislas, 2017).

Edo state political security

According to the Copenhagen school of thought, the concept of political security entails the organizational stability of social order (Banlaoi, 2010: 4-15). This description is rather too broad to fit within the context of reviewing political security in Edo state. Buzan et al. (1998: 140-150) argued that political security normally reflects the elements of general security itself simply because all security bears semblance of political connotation. Simply put, it means the securing of lives and properties. Political security can be described as freedom from all forms of dictatorship (democratic or military) and other arbitrary characteristics reflected in the way of governance (Gleditsch, 2007). Many current practices in Nigeria such as politically motivated killings and fundamental abuses of human rights are inconsistent with democratic norms (Gleditsch, 2007: 177-190; Stanislas and Iyah, 2016). At the creation of Edo state in 1991, there was little political security because different political groups were being formed who relied on crude approaches to politicking. Edo state "political gladiators" and "police gangsters," of that time, aptly demonstrated their questionable embrace of and understanding of the concept of political participation. An illustration of this was the assassination of George Idah, chairman of Oredo local government in 1992, which occurred within the first six months after the creation of Edo state (Newswatch, 1992).

Many commentators have argued that within the last 25 years in Edo state and generally in Nigeria, there have been numerous politically motivated assassination of in particular of a significant number of public functionaries (Human Rights Watch/Africa, 1994: 2-20; Stanislas and Iyah, 2016). Another more recent case was the assassination of Olaitan Ayerinde, who was then the principal private secretary to Governor Adams Aliu Oshiomole of Edo State in 2012 (Olarinoye, 2012), followed by the attempted killing of Oshiomole himself. Instructively, nobody has been arrested and prosecuted for the attempt on the life of the serving state governor. Furthermore, in the case of human right abuses the government, private corporations like Shell and relevant security appendages have numerous cases to answer (Okafor, 2006: 101-120; Stanislas, 2014: 299-300). Reports of deaths and incidents of violent intimidations by political parties and their agents with the help of state security forces or hired thugs are well documented (Okafor, 2006: 101-120; Stanislas and Iyah, 2016). Political insecurity in Edo state is thriving because those with aspirations view violence and intimidation as an essential tool of politics in order to grab leadership positions. Edo state must enact legislation that will safeguard it from internal and external threats (Eweka, 2003).

Finally, it is important that the Edo state government leads the way in creating relevant legislation that will contribute to a potentially new and safe political climate. This can be achieved through the creation of dedicated communication channels that will involve independent local representatives who will liaise between the state government and their immediate communities on any matters affecting them. Secondly, the government should also create local courts (not replacing the conventional courts), who's leaders will work with local community leaders and mainstream justices to quickly and effectively dispense justice to the aggrieved. Edo state prisons should be made more humane for convicted people, which is a view based on anecdotal evidence in the absence of research. To achieve this, the government should set aside a special fund that should be given to an independent task force to maintain and establish and enforce a state standard for prisons in partnership with relevant state authorities (Jefferson, 2005). This can significantly contribute to political safety in Edo state.


The recommendations in this paper are underpinned by critical security theories which suggest the best way to understand and change existing institutions is by appreciating the social political relationships within society and the population groups which comprise it are inseparable from the development process (Dunn, 2014). A critical security approach questions existing concepts of a central state, stressing that since states are characteristically divergent they are therefore a potential major causes of insecurity for their own population, of which Nigeria is a case in point. Hence the individual assumes a centrality in security analysis which is consistent with the assumptions postulated by economic interdependence theory. The theory provides in part, an alternative explanation for state willingness to understand that immediate and long-term economic security rests on the ability to tie its growth and economic security in the hands of its skilled and semi-skilled workforce (Fravel, 2008). Consequently, Edo state government has failed, partly due to the absence of a well-articulated and sustainable economic strategy that is rooted in patriotic assumptions which resonates in Jiayi Liu thesis that states should recognize the fact that people inherently define the foundation of states' and national security.

Following from the above, some practical and pragmatic recommendations are indicated that partly aims to make Edo state safer and more secured across different areas.

1. Territorial Security

The recommendations for improving territorial security include:

* Edo State House of Assembly and Edo state government should work together to prepare the Territorial Security Bill which will give the legal foundation for the creation of a special corp called Edo Boundary Patrol Officers Corp (EBPOC).

* The creation of Border and Security Intelligence Unit (BSIU) that will be responsible for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence on threats emanating across the borders and other elements within Edo state.

* Edo state government should cooperate with the leaders in the 18 local government areas to raise capital, carry out appropriate recruitment and implementation of this Bill.

* The Edo Boundary Patrol Officers Corp and the Border and Security Intelligence Unit must give operational reports to the state executive council, state House of Assembly and state chief justice quarterly, except in instances of imminent danger, for a review and action.

* The State Government should create and fund the Special VIP Intelligence and Security Unit which will take the leading role in identifying, advising, training high-profile people and their official close associates who might be at risk of politically-motivated crimes.

* Security and intelligence experts should, as a matter of priority, liaise with similar partners in neighboring states and beyond, for the purpose of information sharing relating to the profiles of criminal gangs such as kidnappers, terrorists, traffickers and armed robbers including weapons smugglers who constitute a security threat in the Niger Delta states, of which Edo State is one.

2. Economic Area

In the area of economic security it is recommended that:

* The Edo state government in partnership with Edo State House of Assembly initiate the Edo state 30 years Strategic Development Policy Bill. This Bill should include clauses that expressly empower Edo state government, through private partnership, to reconstruct the Gelegele Sea port in Ughoton (Gwato) community. It should also include turning historical relics in Ughoton and the natural crystalline Kukuruku rocky hills and Ososo rocks and streams in Afemai (Etsako) community of the state into tourist attractions.

* Edo state government must create favorable conditions for the construction of basic infrastructures like dualized roads, modern hospitals and schools.

* The House of Assembly body should approve the Edo Patriotic Economic Growth and Development Statement Bill which must be signed by all public servants and private entrepreneurs in Edo state.

* Each of these Bills must stipulate relevant caveats in law for actions in the best interest of Edo state first before personal interest.

* The Strategic Development Bill should establish an Economic Intelligence Unit or similar entity that will be responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy that covers all relevant areas of the economy which will promote the Edo State development.

* Radically reform higher education to meet the employability needs of graduates and Edo State

* Edo state government must strategically partner (funding and technical support) with farmers who are present in the 18 local government areas. These farmers must plant and produce cash crops which would be supplied to privately driven localized industries in each local government area to add value to the final product.

Lastly, it is important to emphasize that the economic policy should be reviewed every three years.

3. Political Security

In the area of political security, the recommendations are:

* Edo state government must work closely with the three arms of government to create secured independent communication channels that will involve independent local representatives who will liaise between the state government and their immediate communities on any such matters as affecting them.

* The state government should create local courts (not replacing conventional courts), but whose leaders will work with local community leaders and mainstream justices to quickly and effectively dispense justice to the aggrieved.

* Edo state prisons should be made more habitable and fit for purpose, and introduce rehabilitation as a key priority, so much so that offenders sent there will aim at becoming better citizens upon serving their time. This will assists former offenders to contribute to the economic and social life of their communities.


In conclusion, territorial, economic and political securities in Edo state are in dire need of total refocusing and recalibration that will see a bright and new foundation created for the present and future generations of Edo state and Nigeria. Firstly, there are serious boundary issues in the south and west that could degenerate into significant problems in the future if appropriate steps are not taken. Secondly, Edo state is currently going through an agricultural and industrial crisis with high youth unemployment resulting in youths roaming the streets. Thirdly, political security is non-existent in the state as many citizens face increasing levels of physical and environmental abuses from government agents, secular security forces and private corporations, like Shell Petroleum, as well as politically-motivated crimes. Lastly, the central point is that leaders must be able to apply new and fruitful ideas and not wait for prescriptive ideas from other climes. The question remains: are Edo state leaders and by greater extension Nigerian leaders planting trees that will certainly out grow them, with respect to peace, security and prosperity for future posterity or are they scavenging for increased personal wealth at the expense of Nigeria and Nigerians?


(1.) The spread and proliferation of small and more powerful arms among pastoralists is a problem elsewhere in Africa.

(2) Drs Perry Stanislas and James Albrecth led a training session that addressed the police role and response to major disasters such as flooding for the Trinidad and Tobago Police Services in 2014.

(3) Accident and Emergency Rescue Strategy, Retrieved 17 February 2016.


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Independent Scholar


Community and Criminal Justice Department, De Montfort University, Leicester

(corresponding author)

How to cite: Jatto, Abraham Abdul, and Perry Stanislas (2017). "Contemporary Security Challenges Facing Edo State, Nigeria," Geopolitics, History, and International Relations 9(2): 118-140.

Received 5 February 2017 * Received in revised form 9 June 2017

Accepted 10 June 2017 * Available online 25 June 2017
Table 1 Total loss of land ([km.sup.2]) due to coastal erosion
estimated from different scenarios of sea level rise

Coastal Erosion in Nigeria
  Low estimate

  Sea          0.2      0.5       1.0       2.0
  Niger    2,846    7,453    15,125    18,398

Coastal Erosion in Nigeria
  High estimate

  Sea          0.2      0.5       1.0       2.0
  Niger    2,865    7,500    15,332    18,803

Sources: Awosika et al. (1992) and Uyigue and Agho (2007, as cited in
Ogbonna, 2014: 165-181)

Table 2

List of Cash Crops Grown in Edo State

* Cocoa      * Pineapple
* Oil palm   * Cashew
* Rubber     * Banana
* Cola nuts  * Cassava
* Mango      * Millet
* Rice       * Cocoyam
* Pea        * Tomatoes
* Beans      * Citrus
* Yam        * Maize
* Plantain   * Potatoes

Source: Nwankwo (2010: 123-130)

Table 3

List of Natural Mineral Resources found in Edo State

* Oil and Gas  * Quartz
* Lime Stone   * Mica
* Amethyst     * Kaolin
* Marble       * Dolomite
* Lignite      * Granite Stone

Source: Edo state Ministry of Health (2010)
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Author:Jatto, Abraham Abdul; Stanislas, Perry
Publication:Geopolitics, History, and International Relations
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:6NIGR
Date:Oct 1, 2017

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