The consequences of the unchecked killing of innocent citizens by Fulani herdsmen across Nigeria is taking its toll on business investments in the country.
The President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr. Babatunde Ruwase, at a ‘Security meets Business” Dialogue session organised by the chamber in Lagos, revealed that an estimated N200 billion projected investment in an agro allied industry has been suspended because rising insecurity in the country.
The major source of insecurity in Nigeria is traceable to the frequency of attacks of local communities by Fulani herdsmen, killing innocent citizens and destroying property. The situation became worrisome when the federal government seems to be playing politics with the killings by the Fulani herdsmen.
Accordingly, Ruwase observed that there was no better time to consider the business dimension of security challenges than now, lamenting that food security was at risk as agricultural production was being threatened by security concerns.
“No meaningful business can be done in an environment that is insecure. Security of life and property is a very critical factor in the investment environment and a major consideration in investment decisions.
“The impact of these security challenges on business and investors’ confidence is phenomenal. Not much investment activities are taking place in the North-Eastern part of the country.
“Attacks by herdsmen on farming communities across the country are not abating, resulting in increasing loss of lives.
“Many rural farmers are holding back from the current planting season because of the fear of attacks by herdsmen.
“Agricultural activities are being negatively impacted. Already food inflation is at 20 per cent as against 12 per cent for core inflation,” he said.
Ruwase said that the oil and gas sector was facing fresh threats of attacks on oil installations, adding that there was 10 per cent increase in insurance premium on security related risks in the last one year,
He said that an estimated N78 billion was being spent by ICT and Telecoms companies in replacing stolen and vandalised equipment.
According to him, Nigeria’s position in the Transparency International Security Ranking has dropped to 149 out of 163 countries because of security challenges.
Ruwase acknowledged the efforts and progress of the government and security agencies in addressing the problem of insecurity in the country, but said that a great deal still needed to be done.
The US Consul-General, Mr. John Bray, said that that private investment of U.S companies in Nigeria were more than 8.1 billion dollars.
Bray said that in spite of the security challenges, some American companies had thrived, while some that could not cope had left the country.
He said that to address the issue, the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Trade and Industry of U.S. and their Nigerian counterpart would hold dialogue to identify impediments in business environment.
The Consul-General said that the dialogue session would forge collaboration between the public and private sectors to improve on security in the country.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, said that combating terrorism successfully was the greatest challenge facing most nations in the 21st century.
Buratai was represented by Maj.-Gen. Enebong Udoh, Grand Commander, 81 Division of the Nigerian Army.
He said that the Nigerian Army was poised to confront all prevailing and evolving internal and external threats in order to guarantee the nation’s territorial integrity at all times.
Buratai said that to improve operational capabilities, new platforms, surveillance and communication equipment were procured and deployed into operation.
“The Nigerian Army will continue to remain apolitical, professional and responsive in the discharge of its constitutional roles,” he said.
Buratai said that the Army would ensure through its dogged operation to ward off prevailing and emerging threats, adequately conducive and secured environment was created for sustainable economic growth.