The Financial Times of London on Tuesday, December 22, reported that Nigeria is in danger of going backwards economically while being plagued with terrorism, illiteracy, poverty, banditry, and kidnapping and risks becoming a failed state if things don’t take a drastic turn.
The UK-based newspaper said this in an editorial titled, ‘Nigeria at Risk of Becoming a Failed State’.
According to the FT, 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 report revealed the federal government’s claim that no ransom was paid to the abductors of the schoolboys remains doubtful, other acts of criminality could not be overlooked in Nigeria.
The editorial reads in part, “The government insists no ransom was paid. Scepticism is warranted. In a country going backwards economically, carjacking, kidnapping, as well as 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, Nigeria is teetering on the brink.”
It also said contrary to the government’s claim, Boko Haram 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 as well as 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”.
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.
It 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.