“From the report, it is clear that human security in Nigeria is mainly constrained by threats of economic access, high unemployment rates, and low perception of job security.” Senator Udoma Udo Udoma
Pascal Emeka, Abuja
UNDP Nigeria Resident Representative, Fatma Samoura, has said that “insecurity remains an ever-present threat to peace and development of the country”, adding that it “poses great danger and exacerbates an already fragile economic development landscape as the country grapples with the reality of shifting from over-reliance on oil and gas sector to other sectors.”.
Samoura stated this Friday at the launch of the 2016 National Human Development Report in Abuja.
During the launch ceremony chaired by Minister, Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, and attended by Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to Nigeria, Ms. Samoura stated that the report highlights the link between human security and human development with a proposition that there can be no human development without human security and that, perhaps, insecurity in the country, as in many parts of the region, is a mirror image of the persistent development deficit.
According to her, the report themed “Human Security and Human Development” makes a compelling case that unchecked poverty; persistent hunger; uncontrolled diseases; lack of access to basic services; disregard for human rights; sub-optimal response to natural and man-made disasters; unregulated natural resources exploitation and use – among others, pose serious threats to human development today.
The report further highlights the existing gap in human security across the geo-political zones of the country; – the most human security secure geo-political zone is the South-East while the North-West and the North-East geopolitical zones are the least human security secured, with residents of the Federal Capital Territory being the worst in most realms of the Human Security Index. The North-East region of the country has been the most affected by the more than 5 yearlong military insurgency. It also remains among the least developed parts of the country.
Speaking during the launch, Senator Udoma, commended UNDP for the effort in putting together detailed findings of the human development indices for Nigeria.
He noted, with great satisfaction, that the report adopted a broader and more holistic view of the issue of human security and its linkage to human development.
“From the report, it is clear that human security in Nigeria is mainly constrained by threats of economic access, high unemployment rates, and low perception of job security.” Senator Udoma Udo Udoma stated.
The Minister further noted that the findings contained in the report “lay a strong foundation for not only addressing poverty, reducing unemployment and inequalities, but also rebuilding communities and regions that have been adversely affected by insecurity.” The Minister stated. He further announced that as part of the measures government is taking to improve the quality of life of Nigerians, N500bn has been allocated as Victims Support Fund and Special Intervention Fund.
Despite a robust economic growth of about seven percent between 2010 and 2014, a large proportion of Nigerians still live in poverty and are exposed to various vulnerabilities. An estimated 61.3 percent of Nigerians are classified as poor with 48.8 percent of them classified as multi-dimensionally poor.
“As you know, our 2016 Federal Government Budget of Changes aims principally at reflating and repositioning the Nigerian economy and addressing the challenges that have placed millions of Nigerians in positions of lack, deprivation and low human security levels.” Senator Udoma Udo Udoma stated adding that the government was very optimistic that the budget will be effectively implemented to address areas that would improve human security and human development indicators in the country.
Not only does the report conclude that the status of human development in Nigeria has not shown remarkable improvement in spite of the changes in the social and economic conditions in recent years, it further states that that economic growth in Nigeria has not been associated with poverty reduction and unemployment has not declined. A situation that has consequently slowed down the rate of improvement in human development as evidenced by marginal improvement in HDI between 2012 and 2013.
Among the recommendations made by the report include addressing social security through the establishment and support to institutions and initiatives that help individuals with low levels of human security; including the access of the lowest-income groups to food and of low-income groups to various forms of social security.
“We consider the report a timely intervention that should stimulate the robust application of human security framework in the human development approach at national, state and local levels.” Stated Fatma as she concluded her statement.
The launch ceremony was also attended by a cross-section of society including Heads of UN Agencies, Heads of government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, academia, civil society organisations and the media. During the same event, copies of the Global Human Development Report 2015 were shared.