The National Human Development Report 2016 has revealed that unchecked human security parameters pose serious threats to human development in Nigeria.
This disclosure was buttressed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Nigeria Resident Representative, Ms. Fatma Samoura, at the launch of the Report in Abuja recently.
According to Samoura, “Insecurity remains an ever-present threat to peace and development of the country, and, without a doubt, poses great danger and exacerbates an already fragile economic development landscape as the country grapples with the reality of shifting from over-reliance on oil and gas sector to other sectors.”
During the launch ceremony officiated by Minister, Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, and attended by Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to Nigeria, Samoura stated that the report highlights the link between human security and human development with a proposition that there can be no human development without human security and that, perhaps, insecurity in the country, as in many parts of the region, is a mirror image of the persistent development deficit.
The report under the theme ‘Human Security and Human Development’ makes a compelling case that unchecked poverty; persistent hunger; uncontrolled diseases; lack of access to basic services; disregard for human rights; sub-optimal response to natural and man-made disasters; unregulated natural resources exploitation and use – among others, pose serious threats to human development today.
The report further highlighted the existing gap in human security across the geo-political zones of the country; – the most human security secure geo-political zone is the South-east while the North-west and the North-east geopolitical zones are the least human security secured, with residents of the Federal Capital Territory being the worst in most realms of the Human Security Index. The North-east region of the country has been the most affected by the more than 5-years-long military insurgency. It also remains among the least developed parts of the country, the report added.
Speaking during the launch, Udoma commended UNDP for the effort in putting together detailed findings of the human development indices for Nigeria. He noted that the report adopted a broader and more holistic view of the issue of human security and its linkage to human development.
He further announced that as part of the measures government is taking to improve the quality of life of Nigerians, N500 billion has been allocated as Victims Support Fund and Special Intervention Fund.
Despite a robust economic growth of about seven per cent between 2010 and 2014, a large proportion of Nigerians still live in poverty and are exposed to various vulnerabilities. An estimated 61.3 per cent of Nigerians are classified as poor with 48.8 per cent of them classified as multi-dimensionally poor.
“Our 2016 Federal Government Budget of Changes aims principally at reflating and repositioning the Nigerian economy and addressing the challenges that have placed millions of Nigerians in positions of lack, deprivation and low human security levels.” Udoma stated, adding that the government was very optimistic that the budget would be effectively implemented to address areas that would improve human security and human development indicators in the country.
The report concluded that the status of human development in Nigeria has not shown remarkable improvement in spite of the changes in the social and economic conditions in recent years, and further stated that economic growth in Nigeria has not been associated with poverty reduction and unemployment has not declined.
This, it added, has consequently slowed down the rate of improvement in human development as evidenced by marginal improvement in HDI between 2012 and 2013.
The report recommended addressing social security through the establishment and support to institutions and initiatives that help individuals with low levels of human security; including the access of the lowest-income groups to food and of low-income groups to various forms of social security.
The launch ceremony was also attended by a cross-section of society including Heads of UN Agencies, Heads of government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), academia, civil society organisations and the media.