By Samson Echenim
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called on security agencies in Nigeria to rise to the current challenge of ensuring security of people and businesses in order to restore investors’ confidence on the country.
Toki Mabogunje, president, LCCI, while speaking at the 2020 “Security Meets Business” dialogue in Lagos, said global ranking for Nigeria in the area of security gives cause for concern.
Nigeria was ranked 148th out of 163 countries on the Global Peace Index (GPI) 2019 and was placed among the five least peaceful countries in sub-Saharan Africa along with violence-ridden countries such as Somalia, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic.
“In comparison with 2018 ranking, there was no improvement in our global security perception. This outcome naturally makes it more challenging for us as a country to attract new investment and grow the economy,” Mabogunje said.
She said as Nigeria continues to contend with intractable security challenges bothering on insurgency attacks by boko haram terrorists, killings by armed banditry, herdsmen/farmers clashes, religious and ethnic crisis, kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery and cultism, insecurity has eroded business and investors’ confidence resulting in disruption of domestic supply chains and weakening of capital formation required to drive significant economic growth.
According to her, the current situation has significant implications for the business environment which include increasing cost of providing additional security by economic activities in some key sectors in the economy, like oil and gas, road construction, telecommunications, manufacturing and banking.
She said, “These sectors cannot conduct activities without providing additional security. These additional security measures include private security guards, convoy operations, additional air transportation by oil sector workers, additional costs in the protection of personnel and assets of oil producing companies etc; disruptions to agricultural production at the local levels as a result of fear of attacks; and interception of transportation, freight movement and haulage resulting in increased difficulties for manufacturers to source raw materials locally and to distribute products across the country.”
Other cost implication of insecurity to investors in Nigeria, according to the LCCI boss, include “economic activities facilitated by road transportation sector like distributive trade, export and tourism remains stifled; inadequate investment in sectors with high labour intensive like agriculture and agro-allied, manufacturing, mining, construction, and transportation; increasing unemployment at 23 percent while youth unemployment rate stands 36.5 percent as at third quarter 2018. With this trend, more and more youths would likely join the army of unemployed, amidst growing negative effect on investors perception and confidence.”
“As a promoter of private enterprise, it is our firm belief that we must continue to adopt innovative ways to address legacy and emerging security issues. I would like to express my profound appreciation to the security agencies that have agreed to be part of this conversation – the Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies. I thank the Federal Government of Nigeria, the leadership of security agencies, heads of MDAs and their representatives here present,” she stated.
This year’s edition of Security Meets Business dialogue which was chaired by Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, former minister of Health and a former vice president of the LCCI, also had in attendance, representatives of Abayomi Olonisakin, chief of Defence Staff, Tukur Buratai, chief of Army of Staff, Muhammed Babandede, comptroller-general, Nigerian Immigration Service, Saddique Abubakar, chief of Air Staff, Hameed Ibrahim Ali , comptroller-general, Nigeria Customs Service, Abdullahi Gana Muhhamadu,, commandant-general, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Zubairu Muazu, commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command and Abdulrazaq Balogun, executive secretary/CEO, Lagos State Security Trust Fund.