Nigeria would be engaged in multipartite civil war like it happened in Lebanon in 1975 and Somalia in 1991 before its final disintegration in 2030, a report by the United States military experts released by the Centre for Strategy and Technology, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama has said.
The report written by five US military scholars and entitled “Failed State 2030: Nigeria – A case study” and dated February 2011, is one of the many periodic scenario building analysis undertaken by the US military think tanks on the future of countries within the sphere of economic interests of the US.
One of such simulated security dissertation on Nigeria was released during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo by the US National Intelligence Council, where the US intelligence experts predicted Nigeria’s collapse in 2015.
In the 156 page latest report, the US Air Force officers posit that “Nigeria’s lack of unifying national identity, history of corrupt governance, religious and cultural schisms, and shifting demographics may cause the state, over time, to break apart.”
In the case of Nigeria in 2030, the experts believed that Nigeria’s “history of tribal and religious conflicts, endemic corruption at all levels of government, poor national planning, uneven development, social disorder, rampant criminality, violent insurgency, and terminal weak governance provides an environment that could portend imminent collapse and failure.”
But the military scholars explained that the security report is “not a specific prediction of the future or a depiction of a state of affairs that will and must occur” but “a discussion of how the trends occurring in Nigeria since its birth as a nation in 1960 could, under the right conditions, lead to its failure.”
The report said that “fragmentation of the Nigerian body politic could create conditions for a multipartite civil war, mirroring in some ways the events in Lebanon in 1975 and Somalia in 1991.”
The report however said that “Nigeria’s 250 million people, 350 different ethnicities, and religious differences can, under the right circumstances, cause the nation to shatter in an instant.”
On good governance, the experts said that “by 2030, the social contract between the weakened federal government and the Nigerian people is effectively broken.”
Also, Nigeria’s endemic corruption and the predatory economic practices of the oligarchs and their associated enterprises may well deplete the financial resources for economic diversification and critical human and industrial infrastructure resulting into “a loss of confidence and a lack of capital investment from the World Bank and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC),” the report said.
If the social contract between government and its people remains relatively strong—where the government rules justly, invests in its people, and provides economic and political freedom, the report said, national survival is reasonably assured. Such favorable conditions become paths for success.
However, if the government fails to invest in its people and rules through fear and intimidation and corruption becomes corrosively endemic, the bonds of trust between the government and its people could become irreparably weak, according to the scholars. “These negative trends in crosscutting conditions then become the path to failure,” it said.
“In 2030, with a population of more than 225 million people, 350 ethnicities, and multiple languages, Nigeria’s negative social trends may become ever more destructive,” the experts said.
Although 2003 proved to be a watershed year in the level of violence throughout Nigeria, according to the report, explosive episodes of factional fighting will likely continue at a strong pace for at least another decade until reform measures instituted in 2008 begin to have a visible effect. “Even then, strong tribal allegiances combined with exploitable ignorance and perceived wrongs will spawn episodic violence between ethnic groups well beyond 2030,” the report said.
On the economic side, the report said that “on a larger scale, a failure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or a state of similar influence would wreak havoc on the global economy.”
“With continued globalization and Nigeria’s position as a major player in global economics now and in 2030, its collapse will have enormous wide-ranging impact.”
With its growing population and the importance of petroleum and natural gas to the world economy, “Nigeria’s civil war, whether it occurs or not, could be devastating for Nigeria, West Africa in which Nigeria is the leading power, and Africa as a whole.”
Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020 may remain a dream because of corruption. “By 2030 a failure to address corruption will hinder investments to grow a middle class, harm Nigeria’s credit rating, force early termination of oil contracts, and result in slower economic growth, thereby eliminating Nigeria as a top-20 world economy,” the report said.
“Attempts to remove corrupt influences from governance will be fought by those who have historically benefited from these arrangements, namely the criminal family enterprises and the business oligarchs,” the report said.
Adding that “business leaders, who have historically held great power, will not willingly allow their influence to be diluted. Conflict between security forces for criminal enterprises, various militias, insurgents, and the Nigerian military will erupt. Each of these entities will strive to protect their respective interests.”
On the social angle, the ECOWAS, dominated by Nigeria and conducted peacekeeping operations in Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, and Sierra Leone “would likely be incapable of dealing with Nigeria’s failure and a subsequent civil war,” the report said.
“With war, millions of refugees would flee across Nigeria’s borders into Cameroon, Niger and Benin, putting tremendous strain on their human services, local infrastructure, and national economies,” it said.
The report predicted that “the more destructive the civil war, the greater the chance of genocide and other horrors that leave an indelible stain on human history.”
It said that restoring a failed state may be extraordinarily difficult in the case of Nigeria because “under conditions of failure and multipartite civil war, sorting through the ethnic and cultural stew will be virtually impossible since most people will identify more with their tribe, religion, or culture than with their country.”
In the areas of defense, the report confirmed military and defense synergy between Nigeria and the US, saying that “since 2009 the United States and the United Kingdom have transferred older vessels from their respective fleets, while providing training and equipment from their own navies, to Nigeria.”
They explained that “Nigeria’s newly refurbished frigates and coastal patrol boats will be easily integrated into the US Navy’s Seabasing Joint Integrating Concept, which stresses forward deployment of US naval forces to support national objectives in areas where the American forces are denied basing or access.”
By 2020, the report added, “the Niger Delta region may become the cause célèbre for international environmental groups, given the extraordinary level of ecological damage. Radical environmental groups operating through social networking may funnel money and weapons to MEND forces to help them recruit new followers to take direct action against petroleum facilities and infrastructure.”
In the area of fighting terrorism, the report said that “any attempted inroads into West Africa by al-Qaeda or similar jihadist Salafist groups will likely be successfully thwarted by a resurgent Sokoto caliphate which may issue fatwas rejecting the violent jihadist ideology of these outsiders.”
“The caliphate may go so far as to brand any attempt by al-Qaeda to either sanction attacks or destroy Nigeria’s oil production capacity as an attack on the Islamic people of northern Nigeria,” according to the report.
The experts said that criminality experienced tremendous growth between 1993 and 2009, especially in the Niger Delta region and in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city; adding that generous donations of money, training, social networking support, weapons, and support equipment provided by groups like the Earth Liberation Front will likely keep MEND viable.
“By 2030 MEND should be able to maintain a well-trained force of up to10, 000 fighters who will conduct raids against national oil infrastructure, both on and offshore,” the report said.
Educationally, the report said that given the inconsistency of support for and application of education standards, “by 2030 it is likely Nigeria will be unable to honor its commitment to the African Union to invest one percent of its GDP in science and technology instruction and development.”
According to the report, by 2030 Nigeria’s population will reach 225 million people, with much of the growth in the Islamic north. Nigeria will likely be the sixth most populous country in the world and the Islamic north could account for almost 65 percent of Nigeria’s population.
“By 2030 the average age in Nigeria will be less than 20 years, and life expectancy could increase by an average of 10 years,” it said.
By: Nuruddeen M. Abdallah
Courtesy: Daily Trust.