Breaking the Chains of Social Injustice: Urgent Reforms Needed to Revive Nigeria - Susinsight
Adetola Adetayo Adetola is a KYC Consultant at JP Morgan in Dublin. She earned her Master's degree in International Business from the National College of Ireland and her First-class Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Covenant University.

Breaking the Chains of Social Injustice: Urgent Reforms Needed to Revive Nigeria

4 min read

Discussing the importance of social justice for Nigeria’s development and growth, highlighting the challenges faced by the country, and suggesting ways to improve social justice.

Sections in this post:
Understanding Social Justice

The United Nations aims to achieve global peace, gender equality, dignity, and human rights through its focus on social justice. According to the UN, social justice is the foundation for stable and cooperative relations among nations. This is achieved by addressing socio-cultural barriers to human progress, including issues related to gender, age, and other challenges that hinder individuals in positions of power from eliminating these obstacles.

Addressing Inequality in Resource Allocation

Social justice is centered on the fair distribution of resources and opportunities across all members of society. It is the responsibility of both government officials and the general public, particularly in a representative democracy, to address issues related to social justice. Unfortunately, due to the absence of government action and severe violations that result in widespread inequality, certain developing African societies have been labeled as lacking sensitivity towards this issue. The various facets of social justice cover a broad range of areas, including access to basic necessities, social and political rights, economic opportunities, and other benefits. The allocation of advantages to society is often a topic of debate in discussions surrounding social justice.

Examining the Status of Social Justice in Nigeria

The state of Nigeria’s democratic nationhood is in a dire state, which has resulted in a decline in the country’s social justice standards. Rather than taking steps to reform the system, leaders have continued to justify every action taken by the state, attributing Nigeria’s unique cultural diversity as a reason for its democratic shortcomings. However, the government’s human rights violations, political dishonesty, and declining social standards are inconsistent with the fundamental principles of liberal democracy. Despite the abundance of natural resources in Nigeria, such as oil and other residual revenues, there seems to be little agreement on how to distribute the profits among the people and corporations. The allocation of this metaphorical “national cake” between multinational corporations and Nigerians is a highly contested issue, particularly when it comes to how it should be divided among Nigeria’s constituent parts.

Reforming for a More Just Nigeria

Nigeria is a country founded on the principles of democracy and social justice. However, the recent revisions made to Nigerian laws have further strengthened the country’s constitutional framework for promoting social justice. The concept of social justice involves the allocation of rights and responsibilities in social systems, ensuring that individuals can access the basic benefits and challenges of coexistence. Despite this, Nigeria, as a republic, has been grappling with ongoing conflict, resulting in the failure of national development initiatives and widespread struggle and hardship among the population.

The Connection Between Resource Allocation and Social Injustice

The term “socially unjust” or “social injustice” refers to the violation of inherent rights that are established through justice. This concept asserts that all individuals have an indisputable entitlement to a just and equitable system of basic liberties that is consistent with equal freedoms for all. The principle of social justice is derived from the principle of social and economic inequalities, which posits that these inequalities should be (a) linked to positions and roles that are open to everyone under conditions of fundamental justice, and (b) oriented towards improving the welfare of the least privileged members of society. The current level of social injustice in Nigeria is a cause for concern. Tribalism, nepotism, corruption, discrimination, and other forms of unrest are now commonly viewed as protests against a system that has repeatedly failed to address isolated incidents of injustice, highlighting the widespread discontent among many individuals.

Obstacles to Achieving Social Justice in Nigeria

The failure to establish effective mechanisms for efficient resource allocation and the preservation of social justice has led to the emergence of societal issues in Nigeria. These issues manifest in the form of ethnic, class, political, and religious conflicts that have plagued the nation since its independence, impeding its progress and leading to the collapse of the community on numerous occasions.

National Security and the Imperative for Social Justice

Nigeria’s struggle with violence is rooted in the experiences of many people and communities who have suffered from social injustice, inequality, unrest, and hardship in a country blessed with abundant natural resources since independence in 1960. This situation, which highlights the absence of social justice and poor resource management, is the result of years of corrupt democratic governance and military rule, as well as the inefficiency of government institutions in fulfilling their lawful duties within society. These factors, among others, have significantly contributed to the decline of social justice and resource development in Nigeria, resulting in the centralization of social conflict across the country. Unfortunately, this situation has not improved significantly, as highlighted in a recent article by the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, which asserts that the majority of Nigerians continue to suffer from consistent and increasing exploitation, despair, victimization, and lack of development.

Recommendations for Enhancing Social Justice in Nigeria

Throughout history, the progress of civilizations has been limited by their adherence to principles of social justice, and the level of social justice in society has been directly proportional to its level of safety. This means that the more a society prioritizes and promotes social justice, the greater the likelihood of national defense. Social justice is a crucial component of a fair and equitable society that values selflessness and equitable distribution of resources. However, when the state or its agents intentionally marginalize or ignore social justice, it creates a compulsive situation where the wealthy become wealthier while the less privileged become poorer. In this situation, the rich and powerful resort to corrupt practices to acquire more wealth and power, while the poor use corruption as a means of acquiring a share of societal wealth and resources. This corrupt environment created by social injustice is fundamentally incompatible with the pursuit of national security goals, as corrupt practices and national security interests are mutually exclusive.

Nigeria faces several challenges, including financial mismanagement, human rights violations, corruption, social unrest, poor infrastructure, poverty, and overall social inequality. To address these issues and improve social justice in Nigeria, the following suggestions can be considered:

  1. The government should initiate a comprehensive reform of Nigeria’s political framework, including political leadership, resource management, wealth distribution, and overall governance structure to achieve federal objectives more effectively.
  2. A federal curriculum for education should be launched to promote a positive outlook and change people’s perspectives about the country.
  3. Law enforcement agencies need restructuring to ensure the enforcement of laws and regulations, which can enhance the social justice system.
  4. The government should significantly reduce governance expenditure to allow available resources to be shared equally.
  5. Corruption should be eradicated to ensure the appropriate handling of available resources for the general well-being of Nigerians.
Advancing Social Justice for a Better Nigeria

In conclusion, social justice is essential for the development and growth of any society. Nigeria, as a country, has faced multiple challenges related to social injustice, corruption, and poor resource management, resulting in widespread unrest and hardship among the population. To address these issues and improve social justice, Nigeria’s government must initiate comprehensive reforms to the political system, allocate resources equitably, eradicate corruption, and promote education. By taking these steps, Nigeria can achieve its potential as a prosperous and peaceful nation.

Adetola Adetayo Adetola is a KYC Consultant at JP Morgan in Dublin. She earned her Master's degree in International Business from the National College of Ireland and her First-class Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Covenant University.

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