National Security And Civic Space:
Usually however, the threat to the civic space from the state comes from what the state sees as the requirements of National Security.
However, a conflict between the requirements of national security and the necessity to guarantee a robust civic space is one inherent to a conception of national security as being exclusively equivalent to “state security” or “regime security”, in particular, and the security of an exploitative system [‘systemic security’] in general.
By state security, we refer to the privileging of the security of the state and its institutions. By Regime security, we refer to the privileging of the security of specific regimes superintending over the state; And by Systemic security, we refer to the privileging of the security of the overarching mechanisms and institutions of the socioeconomic, political and sociocultural system and order of society.
In this understanding of National Security, Regime, State and Systemic security are interrelated, differentiated and interdependent spheres of national security, that is the security of the nation/nation-state. The degree to which a state system is authoritarian, or totalitarian, or liberal informs the nature of the relationship between these spheres of national security. The more state and systemic security are conflated and equated to regime security, the more authoritarian such a state system is, for instance.
The Human Security Approach:
A more robust and human security-anchored notion of security provides a framework that is more elastic and more broadly accommodates dissent and grievance in a society, and thus enables the promotion, preservation and guarantee of the civic space rights in particular, and human rights in general.
In this regard, if governance can be undertaken more in line with the spirit, letter and intent of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN 1999), as amended, particularly the provisions of S 14(2) (b) and (c) of Chapter Two, it stands to reason that national security will be conceived more in the context of human security, and less friction will be generated at the intersection of national security and the civic space. The aforementioned subsection (2)(b) provides that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”, while (2)(C) provides for the guaranteed participation of the people in their government.
In this sense, it can be said that notion and conception of security envisaged by the Nigerian constitution, is that of Human Security.
Human Security As Basis of National Security:
The concept of Human Security is a paradigm shift from the concept of state security which is seen essentially through Military and Law and Order prisms. Human security is a people centered, multi-disciplinary and multidimensional understanding of security.
It encapsulates an elaboration of three broad categories of Freedoms – Freedom From Fear; Freedom From Want; And Freedom To Act In One’s Own Interest.
Freedom from fear encapsulates the absence of the presence or threat of harm, aggression, danger, physical and or mental; the safety of the individual and or community/collective; including the safeguarding of their persons, community and properties.
Freedom from want refers to the ability of everyone to meet their basic needs and requirements for their existence and survival, with respect to food, shelter, clothing, health, life education, etc.
Freedom To Act in one’s own interest, encapsulates the ability to take informed and conscious action, or steps in the pursuit of one’s interest within the society, with a view to living a life of freedom and dignity. This freedom is essentially about Active Agency of the individual within the collective, and of the collective as an aggregation of individuals.
These three freedoms are like the civic space rights, mutually reinforcing and interdependent, and as well overlap with the civic space rights.
In particular, in order for one to be able to effectively act in one’s own interest in the pursuit of a life of happiness, fulfilment, dignity and freedom; and be free want and fear, there requires the existence of a robust and expansive civic space, with one being able to fully access and enjoy the Freedoms of Association, Expression, and Assembly.