Regional Security Outfits and the Challenges of Insecurity in Nigeria

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Chijioke Kelechi Iwuamadi
Elias C. Ngwu
Magnus Chijindu Onyemaobi


The upsurge of violence in our body polity in the form of relentless attacks and killings by Boko haram especially in the northeast, armed banditry and kidnapping for ransom in the northwest, herdsmen militancy across the nation, armed robbery and other forms of violent crime across the country have left the regular Nigerian state security apparatuses overwhelmed and clearly unable to protect the citizenry from the multifarious threats posed by the spiralling violence. This has heightened the yearnings for restructuring of the polity and for the decentralization of the nation’s security apparatus. Following the failure of the central government to accede to those yearnings, both state and non-state actors in the zones that make up the Nigerian federation have resorted to self-help security provisioning through the establishment of regional security networks. Prominent among these are the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) codenamed operation Amotekun, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), and Ebube Agu, a security outfit proclaimed by the governments of the five states in the southeast zone. While some analysts have questioned the legality/constitutionality of such sub-national security outfits, others have insisted on their right to self and group protection. This paper transcends this debate and examines instead the implication of such security outfits for the rising security and the unity of the country, particularly going into the 2023 general elections. The study adopted the relational/vengeance theory as its framework of analysis. It relies on documentary method of data collection and qualitative analysis of data. It recommended that the government should discourage the proliferation of such security outfits while at the same time addressing the discontents that engender loss of confidence in the regular state security apparatuses.

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How to Cite
Iwuamadi, C. K. ., Ngwu, E. C. ., & Onyemaobi, M. C. (2021). Regional Security Outfits and the Challenges of Insecurity in Nigeria. University of Nigeria Journal of Political Economy, 11(2). Retrieved from
Author Biographies

Chijioke Kelechi Iwuamadi, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus

Research Fellow, Institute for Development Studies

Elias C. Ngwu, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria

Department of Political Science

Magnus Chijindu Onyemaobi, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria

Department of Political Science