Wazhi, Emmanuel Nimnan
ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0009-0001-0688-2724
Department of History & International Studies,
University of Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria


Esamagu, Efemena Emmanuel
ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0948-0659
Department of History & International Studies,
University of Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria


The paper discussed the current menace of poverty in Nigeria and how it affects security as people devise methods, including engaging in criminal activities to survive. Suffice to state that Nigeria is blessed with both human and natural resources which if harnessed would propel the country towards a level of sufficiency for her burgeoning population considering the attendant increase on an annual basis. It is important to assert that the nation should have overcome her challenges considering her abundant wealth over the years. Even with the appellation, “Giant of Africa”, because of her capacity in the continent of Africa, however, it is important to note that the performance of leaders have been abysmal while the level of poverty increases daily, specifically in recent years. The country is currently regarded as the “Poverty Capital of the World” by world poverty clock and the effects of poverty are exacerbated by factors such as terrorism and other forms of social ills. The scenario in Nigeria is that of poverty in the midst of plenty. This, to a large extent, has undermined the true essence of human welfare and security in the country. Though there is no justification for crime and criminality which some have been engaged in and which have forced some people to migrate to other environments and countries, non-state actors have always adduced reasons such as the endemic poverty and poverty-related issues like hunger, starvation as the rationale for resorting to their nefarious activities. Insecurity like the Boko-Haram group in the North-East, banditry in the North-West, activities of the secessionist group in the South-East, violent conflicts in different parts of the country, among others have advanced to full blown terrorism with the use of sophisticated weapons. It is now common knowledge that human life is not completely guaranteed, especially in the North with dire insecurity while the toll arising from this security challenges in recent years is incalculable, thus, resulting in displacement and forced migration. Even the security apparatuses are not spared with the news awash about them losing their lives on daily basis. The study advanced contributing factors to poverty, which includes unemployment, corruption, inequality, poor education and non-diversification of the economy and its implications on human security and migration. The study recommended that concrete initiatives be taken to drastically reduce the rate of poverty, more industries should be built to employ the teeming young unemployed people while security must be prioritized and enforced.
Keywords: Contemporary, Poverty, Human Security, Migration, Nigeria

Nigeria is the sixth largest producer of oil in the world, but its vast resources and revenue in truism have not translated into uplifting the standard of living of her citizens. A World Bank report (2014) listed Nigeria among the five poorest countries in the world with most Nigerians living below the poverty line (Taiwo, 2015). Similarly, recent figures in 2023 pointed to the fact that an alarming seventy-one (71) million were plunged into poverty out of the over two hundred million, they are regarded as extremely poor and one hundred and thirty-three million people were believed to be multi-dimensionally poor (Punch, 2023 June 19). The state with the highest hunger index score is Yobe, with a score of 44.2, followed by Sokoto, with a score of 42.1. Other states with high scores include Zamfara, Kebbi, and Jigawa. These states have high rates of undernourishment and child wasting (Punch, June 19, 2023). Some of these states and others not captured are already going through serious security challenges like the Boko-Haram phenomenon, banditry, among others. From the above figure, it is obvious that the standard of living of Nigerians has seriously deteriorated and this is evident in the rise of malnutrition level, and decline in the quantity and quality of health and education services. Poverty in all its manifestations is antithetical to human security. Therefore, it is not possible to meaningfully talk about human security without addressing factors or issues hampering human security in Nigeria. These factors, which include unemployment, inequality, corruption, non-diversification of the economy and poor education are elements that have the capacity to activate poverty which in turn have damning effects on human security. The experience of Muhammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation – in Tunisia in December 2010 arising from unemployment which later started the popular uprising in the Arab world termed “the Arab spring”, confirms the position of this paper that there is a nexus between poverty and human security.
In recent time, the rising cost of living is being felt across the continent. In Nigeria, fuel prices have soared; in South Africa, foodstuff keeps getting more expensive; Kenyans face the highest cost of living in years. This stark reality makes budgetary more necessary than ever, this is based on a detailed analysis by The Conversation (October 2023). It is axiomatic to state that the level of poverty and its attendant challenges in contemporary Nigeria is not only mind-boggling but gradually constitutes security challenge. The return to democracy in 1999 as against military rule practiced for over twenty nine years till date has not translated into a drastic change in the lives of majority of the masses. The democratic experience has been tortuous, especially in recent years with the level of endemic poverty. Years of neglect and inability to pay

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