Security is a very wide subject in Human Development Concept. In this write up, I will like us to look at Human Security in Nigeria as it affects Human Development, with Special emphasis on Imo State .
Human Security is that conception of security that is centered above all on the sanctity of the individual. It might interest us to know that Human Development is that process that enlarges people’s choices, therefore Human Security in the Context of Human Development is that Security that tends to enlarge the envelope of the individuals’ safety and freedom.
According to UNDP’s Human Development Report of 1994, Human Security implies that “people can exercise … choices safely and freely – and that they can be relatively confident that the opportunities they have today are not totally lost tomorrow.”
The question that arises from this definition therefore is, “Can Imo Indigenes and residents say that they can exercise their choices safely and freely without any threat to their lives and abuse of their human dignity?”
Human Security has to do with the safety and well-being of people in their homes, in their jobs, on their streets, in their communities, in their environment. This therefore brings to focus, the incessant cases of kidnapping in Imo State which have resulted to the loss of several lives particularly that of relations of the big Politicians in Imo State .
So many people had been kidnapped in the past one year but the most prominent among them are the cases listed below:
1. Kidnap of the mother of a former Imo Gubernatorial Aspirant – Chief S. Onyirimba. The old woman died few days after she was released by the kidnappers (which was after some ransom had been paid).
2. The kidnap of the father of a former Imo Governorship candidate – Chief E. Nwajiuba.
3. The kidnap of the father of former Ehime-Mbano Local Government Chairman, Chief D. Agu. The kidnapped old man died few days after his release.
4. The kidnap of the wife of a former Imo Governorship aspirant- Chief Festus Odimegwu.
5. The Kidnap of the mother of a big Politician in Imo – Chief F. Chukwu
Imo State residents have also complained severally about the increasing armed robbery incidences in the Satellite towns near Owerri. Eye witnesses reported that there were two incidences of armed robbery or shoot out at a Bank in Anara-Isiala Mbano only in the month of March.
Imo used to be a state where people from all parts of the country come to spend their weekend without fear of molestation or any threat to their lives. Hence, we called it the “Eastern Heartland”. But today, the same cannot be said of Owerri as a result of Human Security threats.
As we draw closer to the general election year of 2011, it will be dangerous if the Government of Imo State does not take adequate steps to ensure the security of lives and properties.
In order to address this issue and propose a way forward, it is necessary for us to review the UNDP’s concept of the 7 threats to Human Security and apply the concepts to Imo state:
• Economic security — Economic security requires an assured basic income for individuals, usually from productive and remunerative work. This is because unemployment has been known to be one of the factors that give raise to violence, armed robbery, kidnapping and other vices too numerous to count. There is need to ensure that salaries and wages are paid and as when due. Also, grassroots employment opportunities should be explored and tapped into. Remember the ever- popular saying: “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop!”
• Food security — Food security requires that all people at all times have both physical and economic access to basic food. The issue of proper distribution of food, provision of fertilizers to farmers should be addressed by the Imo state government. Imo state is known for farming and fishing amongst other. The government should do all in its power to ensure that farmers and supported to produce the best. The government should also ensure that food is adequately distributed.
• Health security — Health Security aims to guarantee a minimum protection from diseases and unhealthy lifestyles. The Imo government should ensure that our primary health care system is in place and functional. It is important for people – rich and poor alike – to have access to the basic health care facility.
• Environmental security — Environmental security aims to protect people from the short- and long-term ravages of nature, man-made threats in nature, and deterioration of the natural environment. Imo state is faced with both natural and man – made threats such as erosion. It is very important for the government to put in place lots of effort to ensure that these threats are check – mated.
• Personal security — Personal security aims to protect people from physical violence. Can this issue be ever over – emphasized in the present day Imo state especially as we prepare for the 2011 Elections. I call upon the government of Imo state to live up to its promises of ensuring safety of lives and properties for the indigenes and residents of Imo state.
• Community security — Community security aims to protect people from the loss of traditional relationships and values and from sectarian and ethnic violence. Indeed, a house divide against itself cannot stand. As at today, it is to the credit of Imo state that there are little or no cases of inter – community clashes. All hands must be put on desk to ensure that the situation does not change – most especially as we begin the campaigns for 2011 Elections.
• Political security — Political security is concerned with whether people live in a society that honors their basic human rights. The Imo government should ensure that people are free to air their political opinions and exercise their political obligations without fear of being molested or ill treated. This is one of the marks of good governance.
2011 Elections in Imo state must be free and fair. The time to begin the preparations for this is NOW. I, therefore urge the Imo state government to ensure that it puts in place, all the necessary infrastructure to ensure that Human Security is guaranteed in Imo state both now and in the nearest future
Published in the City Mail Newspaper of April 14 and April 21, 2010