When Peace is not the opposite of War: What options for the Niger Republic?

By Jimoh Ibrahim PhD (War), CFR.
Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Part One: Introduction

Peace and war are matters of insecurity. Living with insecurity is the only security, perhaps for those who studied War! Even in the most hospitable circumstances, the human condition is precarious because we are all unavoidably exposed. Human nature is flawed, and perfect security cannot exist in any human society. Yet to be forgotten even when you may not like him is Hobbes’ ‘state of nature,’ every human being is a potential threat because the struggle for survival in a world of limited resources is a ‘war of all against all,’ Hobbes thought that putting a government in place is an excellent way of guaranteeing security! In a world without a government to enforce order – a condition that Hobbes calls the state of nature – every human must be vigilant against threats to survival. A world without Government, he claims, forces humanity into a constant state of war because there is no way to trust in the excellent or peaceful intentions of others. We must always be on our guard lest we be attacked. This condition – in which no ruler or judge can resolve disputes and establish security – is anarchy. In an anarchic world, Hobbes argues that our lives must revolve around survival, leaving no time for agriculture, the arts, or sciences conditions of anarchy; Hobbes says, ‘the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

But does having a government in the last twenty years make a difference? This is because and according to me, the Nigeria Boko Haram insurgency underscores the Hobbesian thesis of man’s aggressiveness in the state of nature that requires the leviathan’s intervention. The Nigerian Government’s failure to provide public goods led to the emergence of the Boko Haram insurgency. The citizens contest their rights to life (now in danger), withdrawing their loyalty and support from the Government and the Armed forces. A praxis explains the power shift from the Nigerian Government to the identified local group (Boko Haram). The shift accompanies ongoing violence between soldiers and the insurgents resulting in mass civilian casualties, genocide, systemic rape, and unquantifiable property destruction fostering human insecurity. The above narrative makes the statement relevant that studying and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security!

Insecurity is pervasive in the international realm. For instance, the international system is anarchic, and no single authority can remit uncertainty. We move from the dynamics of abuse of power as we saw in Darfur, where Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) with war crimes against humanity. The violence has also forced some 2.5 million people − mostly farmers and villagers from non-Arab groups – to flee their homes. So was the American-led Illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 to the insecurity creation of intervention and collision of the value of security paradigms in human, national and geocentric systems-the intervention in Iraq (1990), Bosnia (1995), and Afghanistan (2001) were intended to preserve the territorial status quo and restore sovereign control to legitimate governments. (In Kuwait, Sarajevo, and Kabul), intervention in Kosovo (1999) was intended to protect the Kosovar (Albanian) minority even at the risk of partitioning the (rump) federal Yugoslav state (Serbia-Montenegro). All are empirical evidence of insecurity globally. Issues of the ongoing killing by Boko Haram and collaboration of the insurgent with the new formation of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and its expanding activities in the West Africa Sub-region. (Where Boko Haram killed the President of Chad recently) forcefully explaining the failure of the leviathan to protect citizens and himself! in developing countries, what is more, is the powerful justification for our new concern that How to live with insecurity is the only security at least known in the West African sub-region.

Is peace the opposite of War? See part two of this article. Again, is Niger a sovereign state to which intervention can be made impossible? What option, war or peace? and is sovereignty, not hypocrisy? See part three of this article. If you miss any part, send an email requesting the missing part to my University of Cambridge life email address

Jimoh Ibrahim holds PhD in Modern War Studies and just completed BSc in International Relations (Second Class Upper Division) from the London School of Economics LSE, the University of London. He holds nine other University degrees from the University of Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, Ife etc. He is currently at the 10th National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a Senator representing Ondo South senatorial district.

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