Nigeria is Already A Failed State – Says Former US Ambassador

John Campbell, a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria and a former Director with Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Prof. Robert Rotberg, in a recent article said it is time for the United States to acknowledge that Nigeria is a failed state.

The duo stated this in an article titled, ‘The Giant of Africa is Failing’ which was published in the May/June edition of ‘Foreign Affairs magazine.


According to the article, Nigeria is in big trouble adding that if a state’s first obligation to those it governs is to provide for their security and maintain a monopoly on the use of violence, then Nigeria has failed, even if some other aspects of the state still function.

Whilst the Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed still insists Nigeria is not a failed state, John Cambell thinks otherwise.


They noted that the government’s grip on power is being threatened by criminals, separatists, and Islamist insurgents. In addition, the country is being plagued with rampant corruption, economic malaise, and rising poverty.


The article read in part, “Nigeria’s worldwide companions, particularly the USA, should acknowledge that Nigeria is now a failed state. In recognition of that truth, they need to deepen their engagement with the nation and search to carry the present administration accountable for its failures, while additionally working with it to supply safety and proper financial system.”


Campbell and Rotberg also noted that in Nigeria, it has been difficult to curb crime as criminals now carry sophisticated weapons. The article also cited the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, which contributed in moving the country from being a weak one to a failed one.


It added, “Underneath the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, a number of overlapping safety crises has remodelled Nigeria from a weak state right into a failed one. Buhari’s authorities has struggled to quell numerous Jihadi insurgencies, together with the one waged by the militant group Boko Haram.”


The authors also noted that it seems the present administration has given up in some areas because non-state actors had taken over while quasi-police organisations and militias controlled by state governments had become more common.


In addition, some schools have been shut down due to kidnappings and other crimes.

“Regional quasi-police forces and militias—generally related to state governments however not often formally sanctioned—train de facto authority in some areas. However in lots of others, the federal authorities have successfully ceded management to militants and criminals,” a part of the article read.


The authors of the article maintained that these happenings in Nigeria also affect other areas of Africa which shows Nigeria’s importance.

Campbell and Rotberg said even though Nigeria still has some signs of being viable, its structure which relies largely on oil receipts, undermines growth as well as deep-rooted corruption.


“However the Nigerian state has long failed to supply its residents with social companies and Nigerian politics is basically an elite sport disassociated from governance.

“The Federal Government doesn’t or cannot tax the true wealth of the nation, stays too depending on income from oil and gasoline, and lurches from one fiscal disaster to a different. Corruption is structural, too, casting almost everybody as each perpetrator and sufferer,” the article read.


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