Devonomics

Devonomics

It is difficult to answer questions about how Nigeria can and should achieve sustainable economic, social and political growth. This column takes a look at well known development economic theories and applies them to the unique Nigerian context.

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Niger Delta Crisis: The Problem Money Can’t Solve

Tobi Jaiyesimi

Tobi Jaiyesimi

Tobi is a political economist and Founder of The Book Banque. An advocate for good governance and a culture enthusiast, Tobi constantly works towards increasing youth engagement, rewriting narratives and challenging the normative in Nigeria.

The list of factors spurring violent conflict in Nigeria is non-exhaustive. Popular among conversations are three causal variables – psychoticism, extremism, and illiteracy; all typically identified when analysing insecurity. The cases of Farmer-Herdsmen clashes in the Middle Belt, Boko Haram, and the Niger Delta militants are often fitted into these categories. Unfortunately, this limits the concept of insecurity to socio-political pretexts.

To some extent, illiteracy is a valid argument as it is intertwined with the fourth variable Nigerians refer to as “economy.” The stifling economic climate is seen as a cause of high unemployment; which not only negatively impacts real wages but also increases poverty levels. As incomes decline and access to education falls, the pool of the uneducated and idle widens even further. This increases the influx into the informal economy as anything to “hold body” becomes a viable option. In more desperate cases, involvement in criminal activities may offer better prospects and incentivise idle hands to turn violent. Especially as youth unemployment and underemployment steadily increase, what more does one have to lose, right? 

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