An official of the United Kingdom Government has spoken on why the 2023 general elections may not hold in Nigeria as planned.
Speaking at an event over the weekend in Abuja, Director, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office in the UK Embassy, Chris Beecroft, said the forthcoming elections may not hold if the current insecurity in the country is not addressed.
He added that other hindrances to the 2023 elections are the active insurgency in the North East; farmers-herders conflicts in the North Central, militancy in the South South, violence and killings in the South East and banditry in the North West.
However, Beecroft said that all the security agencies need to be strengthened in order to fight the worsening insecurity, adding that all stakeholders must work together.
The UK official noted that other solutions to Nigeria’s security challenge include reconciliation, mediation, arbitration, and access to justice.
“We are at a critical juncture in Nigeria’s journey, and now is an important moment for new thinking and action to build a more peaceful future for all Nigerians.
“The Foreign, Common-wealth and Development Office values our relationship with the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, and has supported the NGF through our programs, including SPARC, PERL and most recently the Technical Assistance provided in framing the Peace and Inclusive Security initiative, PISI.
“Nigeria faces significant peace and security challenges. There is an active insurgency in the North East; farmer-herder conflicts are extending across the country; resource conflicts in the Delta; tension in the South-East; and banditry in the North West.”
Rise in Conflict
Speaking further, he said the rise in conflict risks destabilizing Nigeria’s democracy in the run-up to the 2023 elections.
He said: “Conflict destroys lives, destroys livelihoods, destroys hope and ambition for the future. Conflict represents an existential threat to Nigeria’s unity and its development.
‘’The police and army are in urgent need of reform-but the solution to Nigeria’s instability does not lie in simply strengthening the police and army-but rather in building an effective social contract, building federal, state, local and community level infrastructure to manage conflict; and in giving young people jobs and opportunities so they have a stake in a prosperous and peaceful Nigeria.
‘’Injustice and impunity, weak Justice institutions, the proliferation of small arms and weapons, the weaponization of social media, are all drivers of conflict and instability. But with the right commitment, dedication, and support, there are solutions.“