Rural Banditry, Regional Security and Integration in West Africa

Journal of Social and Political

Sciences

ISSN 2615-3718 (Online)

ISSN 2621-5675 (Print)

Published: 16 August 2019

Rural Banditry, Regional Security and Integration in West Africa

Abubakar Abdullahi

Usmanu Danfodiyo University

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10.31014/aior.1991.02.03.107

Pages: 644-654

Keywords: Rural Banditry, Regional Security, Integration

Abstract

Rural banditry is increasingly becoming one of the worst forms of domestic insurgencies affecting West African sub-region. The prevalence and severity of rural banditry has contributed to the rising increase of regional insecurity with a potential threat on regional integration of West Africa. With reference to Nigeria, this paper examines the nature and dynamics of rural banditry and its overall international security implications as well as describe how it inputs into West African states efforts towards regional security and integration. Using secondary sources of data, the study revealed that rural banditry is a resource-based conflict compounded by elite conspiracy, the primitive quest for wealth and general poverty situation which affected the people of West Africa. It has become a lucrative business accentuated by bad governance, political clientelism, the gradual disappearance of grazing lands and routes, urbanization, climate change, and absence of effective conflict resolution mechanisms. The paper revealed that rural banditry has gradually evolved into a sub-regional conflict with socio-economic and political implications on efforts towards West African security and integration. The study found that some of the implications of rural banditry with consequences on regional integration of West African include radicalization of youth, increase rate of youth unemployment and their subsequent involvement in illicit gun and narcotic drug trade across the sub-region, the emergence of a network of miscreants groups, gradual collapse of agricultural and livestock development with effects on income, trade and commerce, proliferation of small firearms and light weapons, bastardization of traditional institutions and hostile ethnic and tribal relations among ethnic groups, illegal migration and refugee problems across the sub-region as well as proliferation and networking of domestic insurgency groups threatening regional peace and stability of the sub-region. In this regard, the paper recommends a comprehensive review of regional security and integration initiatives, regional security and intelligence cooperation among security agencies of ECOWAS countries, increase surveillance and border security, awareness creation and dialogue among local communities as some of the ways of reducing the scourge of rural banditry across West African sub-region.

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