OGUNSAKIN Oluwasegun Dare

Department of Peace and Security Studies

Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria

E-mail: segunogunsakin4r@gmail.com


OSUEKE Chiamaka Juliet

Department of History and Strategic Studies

University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria

E-mail: chiamakajuliet2016@gmail.com


This paper investigates the connection between banditry invasion and food security, highlighting the issues of criminal groups in creating their governance structures. The invasion of bandits in attacking farmers and engaging in cattle rustling may thus be attributed to food insecurity in the country. Using the qualitative research method, data were derived from secondary sources like articles, academic publications, newspapers, and reports from government bulletins. The use of situational action theory emphasizes the present nature and implication of banditry on food security in Nigeria. While indication revealed that the country is characterized by bad governance, weak legitimacy, protracted conflict, and poor leadership, make citizens vulnerable to exploitation by terrorist groups, traffickers, and other criminal elements. The study recommends and concludes that the federal government and other stakeholders should deploy more police in the affected locality; ensure they are better supported; improve local ties to gather better intelligence, and respond speedily to early warnings and distress calls. In addition, it should begin to disarm armed groups, including ethnic militias and vigilantes in the affected states, and closely watch all borders to curb the inflow of firearms to enhance human and food security.

Keywords: Bandit, Situational action theory, National security, Food security, Nigeria


Insecurity in Nigeria is a habitual phenomenon that threatens the nicely-being of its people. The multipronged happenings constitute a bane to development and result in the proliferation of crime.1 As a multifaceted predicament, insecurity assumes various dimensions in specific geopolitical areas. A surge in cybercrime, armed theft, kidnapping, domestic crime, extrajudicial killings, herder-farmer clashes, ritual killings, and cattle rustle curses the South West. The South East is a site for ritual killings, industrial crime, secessionist agitation, kidnapping, herder-farmer clashes, assaults with the aid of unknown shooters, and banditry.2 The South was threatened by militancy, kidnapping, and environmental agitation. The North East has been problem with a humanitarian disaster lasting over a decade due to the Boko Haram terrorist and the Islamic State in West Africa Province. Also, the North West is enmeshed in illegal mining, ethnoreligious killings, and banditry. Consequently, it is an axiom that insecurity in the country has assumed a disproportionate geopolitical stance and has claimed many lives, substantial damage, and a lack of property.3

In the context of the security above problems, banditry has previously come to the fore with increased activities in the country’s northwest region, particularly in Zamfara, Sokoto, Niger, Kaduna, Kastina, and Kebbi states.4 Banditry refers to ‘a kind of crime that is composed of kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, rape, cattle-rustling, and the exploitation of environmental resources.5 Some factors that have led to the rise and persistence of banditry in Nigeria are under-governed spaces, a weak security apparatus, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, socioeconomic conditions such as poverty and unemployment, cattle rustling, and illegal mining activities in the North West.

Nigeria, also known as the African giant due to its large population and economy, has traditionally prospered in the agricultural sector. Agriculture, the lifeline of Nigeria’s economy, contributes to one-third of Nigeria’s GDP, with more than 80% of Nigerians being smallholders and 33% of the land producing more than 90% of domestic production.6 However, despite the significant contributions of this sector to economic stability and employment, the rise of shootouts, terrorism, militants, and kidnappings has led to higher food prices and increased reliance on imports.

Food security has become a problem of global concern in recent times. Nigeria, with her hugely endowed natural and human resources, is not spared. The Nigerian food crisis is a product of insecurity due to the invasion of bandits and clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers.7 Nigeria‘s situation on food security is highly precarious and pernicious as a significant percentage of the Nigerian population is left with only the bilious taste of poverty. Based on report from Olateju, 8

Lessons from the past from conflict zones indicate that by the time food insecurity becomes famine, it is often too late. Nigeria is at a tipping point, where millions in the North and now the South-West are coping with emergency levels of food insecurity.

This lamentation persists till today in Nigeria. Given these criteria and scenarios, Nigeria can be considered food insecure in the present circumstance. Many farming communities cannot farm without encountering herders with guns standing between them and their ancestral lands. The kidnapping and fear of Fulani herders feels like a slow war in which the weapon of choice is to cut people off from their main source of survival.

The price spike between June 2020 and June 2021 alone could push another six million Nigerians into poverty, disproportionately affecting urban areas. This underscores the need for short-term action to support well-being.9 This is achieved bearing in mind that information on the motivating factors of crime provides insights and capacity answers. Furthermore, the available literature largely fails to characterize the phenomenon safely and tends to offer indistinct answers. Due to this, this paper will examine the rethinking of the banditry invasion and its implication on food security in post-democratic Nigeria.

Theoretical Framework

Situational Action Theory (SAT)

SAT is a concept of crime advanced in 2004 by Per-Olof Wikström. It tries to explain what moves human beings to motion, including crime, by incorporating ecological, criminological, sociological, and behavioural sciences. Crime is a movement that violates the law and results from the interplay between a person’s exposure to criminogenic DNA and the propensity for illegal activity. This is, a character’s time in an unsupervised or poorly governed space and stage of the strength of mind determine the prevalence of crime. SAT posits that crime is motivated with the aid of an individual’s morality and the triumphing situation. People are answerable for their moves. However, the causes of their movements are situational. Therefore, an act of crime is a desire made after considering diverse alternative eventualities and stimuli offered by using a selected situation. Thus, a crime is committed when it is perceived as a worthwhile and appropriate alternative, given the winning scenario, and when someone fails to apply ethical restraint.10

The situational stance superior by way of SAT rests on four major factors:

  1. The man or woman (psychological makeup, revel in).
  1. The placing (the environment and character is uncovered).
  2. The situation (selections as a result of interplay with the placing).
  3. Movement (the individual’s behaviour).

SAT illustrates that elements that result in crime are the same for anyone, regardless of age and criminal profession level. The concept argues that people’s propensity to commit crimes is one-of-a-kind, just as environments vary.11 The placing a character unearths themselves determines whether against the law could be devoted or now not. For instance, a person who struggles due to multidimensional poverty and finds themselves in an environment without guardianship but with specific escape alternatives and resources is likely to commit the crime. Crime incidence, consequently, is the interaction between an individual’s crime propensity and the placing’s criminogenic incentive. Due to a robust moral rectitude and government authority, an individual with a low crime propensity may be less liable to criminogenic incentives. In contrast, a person with an excessive crime commitment is less likely to fight against crime inducement.12

Meanwhile, SAT proposes the following key basic assumptions:

1. People are essentially rule-guided creatures. They specific their desires and reply to friction in the context of rule-guided picks; Social order is based totally on shared behavior policies. Patterns in human behaviour are primarily based on rule-guided workouts;

2. People are the supply of their movements. People perceive, select, and execute their actions; the causes of action are situational. A character’s specific belief of action options, the method of desire, and execution of the motion are brought about and guided via the relevant entries from the character-surroundings interplay; Crimes are moral moves. Crimes are actions that wreck guidelines of conduct (stated in regulation) about what’s the proper or wrong thing to do in a specific circumstance.13

3. SAT explains different crimes starting from theft to terrorism. SAT highlights the critical troubles of vulnerability, exposure, and emergence in explaining radicalization and terror. The character needs to be exposed to crime-supportive moral contexts to broaden crime propensity. A setting that induces crime has to be present and the individual in everyday contact with it; the character needs to be sensitive to the effect of the crime-supportive setting they arrive into contact with.14

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