Knocks: Nigeria is a failed state says US Council on Foreign Relations


The United States has come hard on the Buhari administration and Nigeria, calling it a failed state.

In a report by the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) released on Thursday by the council’s senior fellow, a former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. John Campbell and Mr. Robert Rotberg, Founding Director, Harvard Kennedy School’s Programme on Intrastate Conflict and president emeritus, World Peace Foundation, warned that Nigeria was on the brink of collapse amid heightening insecurity and economic problems.

The council emphasized Nigeria has moved from being a weak state to “a fully failed state,” having manifested all the signs of a failed country, including the inability of government to protect the citizens, large scale violence and festering insurgency.

According to previously published research estimates by Freedom House, the US State Department human rights reports, anti-corruption indices of Transparency International, and other international bodies, about 60 or 70 of the 193 members of the United Nations, are considered strong.

“Eighty or 90 UN members are weak. Weakness consists of providing many, but not all, of essential public goods, the most important of which are security and safety. If citizens are not secure from harm within national borders, governments cannot deliver good governance (the essential services that citizens expect) to their constituents.

“There are four kinds of nations: the strong, the weak, the failed, and the collapsed … There are three places that should be considered collapsed: Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen.

The report in part reads: “Nigeria has long teetered on the precipice of failure. But now, unable to keep its citizens safe and secure, Nigeria has become a fully failed state of critical geopolitical concern. Its failure matters because the peace and prosperity of Africa and preventing the spread of disorder and militancy around the globe depend on a stronger Nigeria.”

The report said President Buhari’s administration has lost control of the situation, warning that Nigeria’s failure as a state comes with negative consequences for peace and security in West Africa sub-region as well as Europe and the US.

“Its economy is usually estimated to be Africa’s largest … Nigeria played a positive role in promoting African peace and security.

“With state failure, (Nigeria) can no longer sustain that vocation, and no replacement is in sight. Its security challenges are already destabilising the West African region in the face of resurgent jihadism, making the battles of the Sahel that much more difficult to contain. “And spillover from Nigeria’s failures ultimately affects the security of Europe and the United States.

“Indeed, thoughtful Nigerians over the past decade have debated, often fervently, whether their state has failed. Increasingly, their consensus it that it has.

The report further expatiated on the need to fully understand what constitutes a failed state revealing, “a dozen or so states are failed, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, and Myanmar. Each lacks security, is unsafe, has weak rules of law, is corrupt, limits political participation and voice, discriminates within its borders against various classes and kinds of citizens, and provides educational and medical services sparingly. Most of all, failed states are violent.

“All failed states harbor some form of violent internal strife, such as civil war or insurgency. Nigeria now confronts six or more internal insurrections and the inability of the Nigerian state to provide peace and stability to its people has tipped a hitherto very weak state into failure.

It also added that the Buhari’s administration’s “inability to thwart the Boko Haram insurgency is enough to diagnose Nigeria as a failed state. But there are many more symptoms. At a bare minimum, citizens expect their states to keep them secure from external attack and to keep them safe within their borders.

“Nigeria now appears to have reached the point of no return,” the report added.

The full report is available here –


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