The Challenges and Strategic Imperatives of Nigeria’s Defense and Internal Security Measures since the Fourth Republic

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Political Sciences, Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State, Nigeria


The year 1999 marks a remarkable turnaround in Nigeria’s history and bid for global reckoning as a democratic nation having grappled with a sustained military rule for many decades after her independence. However, with the country’s return to democratic rule, many teething problems evolved which of course is not strange to young and emerging democracies such as Nigeria’s particularly after many years of military dictatorship. These problems include high rate of crime, mass protest and agitations by numerous groups alleging marginalization, militancy, kidnapping, oil theft and pipeline vandalisation, cross border trafficking in drugs and persons, armed smuggling and the prevalence of small and light weapons, religious fundamentalism, terrorism and insurgency among others all capable of undermining the internal security and even the defense of the country. Qualitatively driven with reliance on secondary sources of data, this paper examines the basic issues, the challenges and the strategic imperatives of the country’s defense and internal security measures needed to stem the spate of agitations and insurgency in the country. It submits that these issues and challenges remain imperative given the level of freedom associated with civil rule after long years of military dictatorship and more so because as the people partake in governance which democracy guarantees, they are also emboldened to voice out their grievances even to a level of criminalizing the process. The paper concludes that the task is for Nigeria’s leadership to address these challenges and create a peaceful and secure country for its citizens.