Insecurity remains an ever-present threat to peace and development of Nigeria - Fatma Samoura

May 13, 2016

Fatma Samoura makes a statement at the launch of the National Human Development Report 2016 (Photo, UNDP Nigeria/Lucky Musonda)

Statement delivered by UNDP Resident Representative, Fatma Samoura, at the launch of the National Human Development Report 2016

[Protocol]

It is always a pleasure to be in the midst of such a distinguished audience. I want to thank all of you for honouring our invitation to come and witness the launch of this flagship publication of UNDP Nigeria Country Office – the 2016 National Human Development Report. In a very special way, I want to thank the Government of the Federal Republic on Nigeria for the very fruitful collaboration and support provided to us throughout the entire process.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER) partnered with us in conducting an objective, in-depth and independent research that led to production of this report. The teams of dedicated professionals at NBS and NISER provided cutting-edge thought leadership in computing the indices of human security and human development at disaggregated levels. I want to thank them.

Therefore, in welcoming you all to this launch ceremony, I wish to express my deep appreciation of the strong partnership between the UNDP Country Office; the NBS; other Ministries Departments and Agencies; NISER; and by no means less significant, the local communities from across the entire country who provided invaluable data and information upon which the report is based.

Hon Minister; Excellencies; Ladies and gentlemen, this launch event is taking place at time of great challenges for this country. We have just witnessed an unprecedented delay, albeit for very valid reasons, in the finalization the budget and signing of the 2016 Appropriation Act.  This, juxtaposed with rapid decline in government revenues from oil and gas, will undoubtedly negatively impact economic growth and development over the short-run period.

Insecurity remains an ever-present threat to peace and development of the country. Not only do many of the past manifestations of insecurity, such as the mystery of missing Chibok girls, remain unresolved, there are also, evidently, increasing cases of abductions and intensified conflict between sedentary farmers and nomadic herdsmen in parts of the country. All these, without a doubt, pose great danger and exacerbate 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 which, admittedly, had been neglected over the decades.

Although the future holds great promise and early efforts of the [new] Government are beginning to bear fruit, the development path ahead will, clearly, not be an easy one. Stakeholders therefore, need to work together to ensure that the great promise of this nation – peace, unity and prosperity-, is realised, not just for the present generation but also the future ones.  

The report we are about to launch today focuses on human security and human development with the specific aim of highlighting the linkages or relationships between the two. The central thesis is that there can be no human development without human security and that, perhaps, insecurity in the country, as in in many parts of the region, is a mirror image of the pervasive development deficit.  

At UNDP, we believe in a people-centered concept of human security.  Indeed in 1994 Global Human Development Report, UNDP called attention to this concept by arguing that human security is about how people live and breathe in a society; how safely and freely they can exercise their many choices; how much access they have to markets and social opportunities; whether they live in conflict or peace; and how confident they can feel that the opportunities they enjoy one day will not be totally lost the next day.

Hon Minister; Excellencies; Ladies and gentlemen, there is therefore, a need to reconceptualise the issue of insecurity to go beyond the traditional notion of over-concentration on physical security characterised by heavy investments in military and armed preparedness and response to focusing more on broader and holistic dimensions of development and wellbeing that sustain the security of individuals and communities.

The report makes the 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; unfettered natural resources exploitation and use – among others, pose serious threats to human development today.

The report posits that there is a dialectical relationship between human development and human security and that whichever way we look at it, human security is a public good and fundamental human right to which everyone is entitled. 

To conclude my very brief welcoming remarks, Hon Minister, Excellencies; Ladies and gentlemen, the report highlights, in sum, the fact that Nigeria’s score for human development is relatively low in spite of the promising indicators, particularly of the economic realm, in recent years. Much work therefore needs to be done to ensure that there is greater equity and progress not only across the realms of human security but across all gender groups and geo-political zones of the country.

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. Above all, we hope that the recommendations made in this report will contribute to the evolution of a holistic approach to the challenge of human security and the on-going process of national policy development and implementation and thereby lead to the great promise that the Nigerian nationhood has always held since independence.

I remain highly optimistic that like other reports before it, this one will help re-focus attention of both the policy thinking and its attendant implementation realities on the most urgent national development question that afflicts Nigeria today – the question of security and development.

I thank you all and greatly welcome you to this launch.

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