This paper discusses how security and peace building can lead to sustainable development and good governance. This paper affirms that, there will be sustainable development if security and peace topped the priorities agenda. It also confirms that violent and conflicts in Nigeria are caused principally by the political leaders and suggest a proper functional democracy characterized by tolerance, dialogue and consultations, recognition of the basic economic and socio-cultural needs of the local people to avert violent and conflicts. The paper argues that if economic, food, health, personal, environmental, community and political security are not undermined, sustainable peace and development will be enhanced.


This accelerated globalisation era is characterized by two simultaneous trends: global political and economic integration processes and national/local disintegration with onto logical and existential insecurity implications.

Societal disruptions in the form of civil wars produce dissatisfaction and multi level (individual, group, communal, and national) insecurity that have profound implications for conflict management/peace building efforts in war-torn regions. The many conflict management/peace building operation and democracy promotion efforts which spawned many academic works on the subject (Yourdin 2003). While these academic studies have underscored the strengths and weaknesses of particular efforts, relatively little attention has been devoted to the implications of the interactive relationship between peace building and security.

One of the primary roles of the government is to provide peace and security for its citizens both within the nation-state as enshrined in the Nigeria constitution (Naidoo 2001). For even responsible government, human security and peace building concerns should be of utmost priority. Within the framework of global social system, human security has become a contemporary social issue for understanding global social dispositions. The supporters of human security and peace building initiative challenge the conventional notion of security should be the individual. They argued that a people centred security, is quintessential for national, regional and global stability which enhances sustainable development. Similarly, Elbaradei (2006) expressed the view that humanity quest for peace is not confined to one region as the search for security is still a major concern for people and nations. The turning point for human security began with the publications of the 1994 Human Development Report which strongly noted that ensuring “Freedom from want” and “freedom for fear” for  all persons is the best approach to tackle the problem of global security (World Summit Outcome document, 2005).

Human Development Report (1994) revealed quite a number of global human security threats with universal applicability. Nigeria in Africa is most vulnerable to these threats, ranging from health concerns to infrastructural challenges, bad governance and human rights abuse, unemployment, social exclusion to massive poverty. All these put together constitute serious challenges to human security and peace building effort in Nigeria.

It has become common place to asset that peace and development are intimately linked and that the United Nations and other international actors need to address these twin goals through concerted and integrated policies and programs.

Conceptual Clarification

According to Sato (2004), security is all about liberating humans from physical and artificial hindrances such as wars, poverty or political oppression, which prevent people from choosing freely and acting on what they have chosen.

Keizo Obuchi, a former Prime Minister of Canada, explained security as a concept encompassing all kinds of threats to human survival, human life and dignity, and requiring strengthened measures to tackle such threats.

Checkel (1997) and conteh-Morgan (2005) jointly advanced that sustained peace building occurs when one understands the true nature of things in the society, class, gender, ethnic equality etc. there are banditry, lootings, and intense communal strife among others with women and children being the worst affected. Security is an important precondition for sustained peace building at any point in time which in turn provides the foundations for regional and global peace and development. Security of people requires national security because it can only be promoted and sustained in an atmosphere of inter-geopolitical zonal peace and stability. National peace can be guaranteed if the constituent states experience domestic peace building on secured communities.

Security theory offers theoretical support for peace-building. Peace building means building a society in which positive peace is secured, peace without structural violence such as poverty and discrimination for a society which guarantees human security. It is a society in which individual human rights and social justice are respected. That is to say, it is all about how to transform a conflicting society characterized with conflict, terrorism, violence, and civil strife into a peaceful society in which human beings can live freely.

The seven dimensions of security as contained in the 1994 UNDP human development reports are: Economic security. Food security, health security, environmental security, personal security. When these are grossly undermined, then sustained peace and development cannot be established in Nigeria. It is however recognized that human security should not be limited to these seven. The problem of employment, income, food and others are not only problems, of development, but of human security, thus, security and development are two sides on the same coin. Development is related to conflict prevention. For when there is an atmosphere of peace, development is guaranteed. Social development, social justice, and peace as well as security are inseparable. This underscores the UNDP theory of security which regards social injustice as a structural problem threatening peace and development, a problem which must be tackled.

(UN, 1999), defined peace as the values, attitudes and behaviours that reflect and inspire social interaction and sharing based on the principles of freedom, justice and democracy, all human rights, tolerance and solidarity, that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue san negotiation and that guarantee the full exercise of all rights and the means to participate fully in the development process of their society.

In accordance with the United Nations Declaration and Programme of Action for Peace Building, the peace building in practice means actions; to foster a peace building through education, to promote sustainable economic and social development, to promote respect for all human rights to ensure equality between women and men, to foster democratic participation, to advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity, to support participatory communications and the free flow of information and knowledge, and to promote international peace and security.

De Rivera (2004, b) developed an abstract model of peace reflected by an absence of war, civil disturbance, and murder that, conflicts should be resolved by dialogue, negotiations, and non-violent action. People should cooperate for common goals, women’s voices are as important as those of men; children and nurturance and valued. Societal cohesion should base on unilateral tolerance, solidarity, and mutual obligations. There should be open communication with transparency, accountability, and pure journalism. This will enhance peace and sustainable economic development.

Sustainable Development

Development must involve too basic processes. The first has to do with improving and refining that which is already in existence and adapting it to contemporary requirements. The second process involves finding solutions to new problems or new forms of solutions to old problems. Both imply creative responses to social, political and economic affairs.

Specifically, sustainable development suggests an enduring, remarkable, non-terminal improvement in the quality of life, standard of living and life chances of the people. Such development must be capable of surviving generations over a prolonged period of time. It favours a progressive curve in human development encompassing enhanced creativity for increased productivity.

Sustainable development is also viewed as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is in this direction that sustainable development is therefore defined as a deliberate and systematic policy of ensuring the survival of a state in such conditions that are imperative for the enjoyment of the good life and ensuring the greatest good for the greatest numbers are available now without this constituting a denial of the capacity of being able to enjoy the same benefits to generations yet unborn in the foreseeable future. This is achievable through the judicious and careful use of global resources.

A necessary adjunct to this concern therefore is the imperative of poverty eradication, control of diseases, and improvement of the standards of living of the people, good governance and reduction if not total forgiveness of debts.

The Peace Formula

The following variables must be in place to be achieved in Nigeria:

  1. A (credible governments, code of ethnics, with a basis in the Universal Declaration of Human rights. In simple terms, of the things they think, say or do), governments must be able to be relied upon to be truthful, fair, build good will and better relationships, and strive for the benefit of all concerned. The same ethnics should be expected of governments, corporations and other organization as are expected of individuals. Do as you would have done to you.
  2. An international system of justice. Without justice, there cannot be peace. Every nation has instituted a criminal and civil court system to get the brawls off the street and into the courtroom, to be resolved in what should perceived as fair and reasonable manner. There must be a reliable, proactive, conflict and dispute, Resolution system for parties who are willing to voluntarily work together to a solution, to avoid conflict.
  3. A global sustainable economy. There must be a proper economy to provide reasonable employment and eradicate poverty and hunger.
  4. Universal access to competent education system. This principle is basic and simple to understand. It is included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for good reason. Particularly, the education of women is key to both economic and peace development of peace and security.
  5. A compassionate health and welfare system. This principle is also included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Within the framework of universal human rights and responsibilities, the more privileged have a humanitarian responsibility to help the underprivileged.

Every nation’s level of internal and often external peacefulness is a result of the strength of these factors stated above.

Aim of Peace Building in Nigeria

Peace building aims at the prevention and resolution of violent conflicts, the consolidation of peace once violence is reduced, and post-conflict reconstruction with a view to avoiding a relapse into violent conflicts including structural, political, socio-cultural economic and environmental factors. Not all development impacts the security environment. Conversely, not all security concerns have ramifications for development, where the two come together to cause, perpetuate, reduce, prevent or manage violent conflicts, is the appropriate terrain for peace building at the domestic or international levels. Lying at the nexus of development and security, peace building requires a willingness to rethink the traditional boundaries between these two domains and to expand these boundaries to include other related issue areas such as defense budget, international trade and finance, natural resource management and international governance, in so far as these may impact on the occurrence of violent conflicts. Peace building requires a readiness to change the operations and mandates of existing political, security, and development establishments. It requires the ability to make a difference on the ground in preventing violent conflicts or establishing the conditions for a return to sustainable peace.

Peace Building and Development:

The Nigerian Case

Nigeria has been a perennial victim of the devious manipulation of ethnicity, region and religion. Colonialism as well as its multi-dimensional impacts remains one major of socio-cultural economic and political significance Nigerian history that accounts partly for this twist of fate. The centrality of this epoch was informed more by the supposed artificiality of the Nigerian federal context. Colonialism ensured that Nigerians lost the sense of pride and confidence in their own culture.

Consequently, the technical inferiority of the traditional culture vis-à-vis the technical superiority of the European’s largely accounts for the high esteem in which the dominant Europeans were held. This imperialistic ideology accounts for why Nigerians strive to copy anything and everything European, from religious practices, styles and taste of education and assumption of European identities. Consequently, there has been a tremendous neglect of, and destruction prejudice against, everything traditional. It has also resulted in the hybridization of the Nigerian elite who have been neither fully western nor African in their tastes, references and value.

The effects of colonial domination and eventually cultural disintegration in Nigeria could be as biting as the problems caused by industrialization and congestion in Nigeria. With technological advancement, there has been an exodus of young people from rural area to urban areas in search of white-collar jobs. Thus, the alien traits of depersonalization and deculturisaation were introduced. Gbotokuma (1996:20) observes that before this, life in the African traditional setting was never without a feeling of oneness because there were laws, family values and community assistance schemes that ensured the helpless are never left despondent. In the urban setting, man is alone, only responsible to his immediately family, uncaring for his peace and security. Not surprisingly, an abandonment of the restrictive strength of cultural behaviour evident in mode of dressing, respect for parents and elders, opened the gate to the negative urban traits of crime, unemployment, alcoholism, debauchery and divorce.

Based on the above, scholars are of the opinion that we may have failed in exploring the traditional inter-tribal communal relation which thrived on the recognition of our differences and respect for our visible distinctiveness.

Peace building means supporting policies, activeness, programs and projects which would allow war-prone, war-torn, or post-war countries to transform and manage their conflicts without violence in order to address longer-term development goals.


In this paper, we have tried to establish that peace building and security is the panacea to sustainable development in Nigeria.

Security and peace building must always remain top priorities of every responsible government and should remain part of management agenda. Development and security are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, development challenges must necessarily demand and atmosphere of peace and tranquility. The developing countries are volatile nations as they  remain hotspot for all manner of violence. In an attempt to seek for recognition by the government of the day, the people have to adopt various forms of criminality to advance their course hence, making their countries grossly insecure in all ramifications. Like the cases of the Boko Haram and the militancy in the northern and southern parts of Nigeria respectively. This forms the basic for security and peace building.

Recommendations/Way Forward

The following suggestions if adhered to will change the situation and enhance security, peace building and development in Nigeria.

–  There should be re-examination of the structural factors driving the crisis (political, economic and socio-cultural).

–   There should be a proper functional democracy in which the people’s votes are considered.

–    Political office holders should see their offices as call to service and not to amass or acquire wealth. The dividends of democracy should be redistributed evenly.

–    The political actors should develop effective strategies for assessing local needs, setting priorities, allocating resources and establishing accountability.

–    There should be changes in programming, institutional reform, and effective collaboration and coordination among different actors to promote conflict prevention.

–    Conflicts should be resolved by dialogue, negotiations and non-violent action rather than being settled by superior force.

–    Societal cohesion should base on unilateral tolerance, solidarity, and mutual obligations.

–    Women must be treated equal as the men. There should be open communication with transparency, accountability and pure journalism.

–     There should be equitable and sustainable development to enhance peace and security.

–      Government should empower the youths who are major actors in violence and election rigging because if they are meaningfully engaged, these vices will not be considered as sources of making money.

–      The seven dimensions of security as contained in the 1992 UNDP human development report should be practiced in Nigeria by the security institutions.


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