Can it be said that Williams Reno, categorization of Africa as a War Lord's state in 1998 was wrong or right? I guess the best way to prove Reno right or wrong is to operationalize his hypothesis. The syndrome of a failed state is well over the African continent. From North to West, Central, East and South Africa the indicators are obvious.
However, this short piece of article would focus on Nigeria State for a more thorough emphasis.
According to the World Bank ( 2000), it designed most of the Africa states as weak and fragile, which is unable to match up with the capacity to provide for the good life for its citizens and paved the way for the pursuit of happiness. The nomenclature of the state is that, the institution that formed the fabric of the state is weak and as such lack the capacity and political will to assert and make any meaningful policies and enforce it.
This is exactly the reality of the Nigeria state, she prides herself as the most populous state in the Africa Continent but probably forgotten that her economy is only based on royalties from multinationals. Although blessed with abundance of material resources, and arable land for agriculture. None of these materials resources have been exploited to better the lot of her citizens.
Rather, the material resources are used for political patronage of the various competing war Lord's.
The absence of monopoly of violence from the state, have led to none states actors to challenge the authority of the Nigeria state and throw in various competing authority to create their own sphere of influence within the barrel of the gun and command loyalties. The privatization of loyalty ensures the highest bidder with capacity to unleashed violence secures it.
The character of the state is repressive, anti-democratic, hegemonic, privatized, corrupt, lawless and despotic. The state is quick enough to unleashed the apparatus of the state to curb dissidents who demand democratic dividends as experienced in the shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekki Tollgate. And always willing to negotiate and grant a number of concessions and amnesty to warlords who dared to challenge the legitimacy of the state by the barrel of the gun as seen in the case of Niger Delta Militants and the so called repentant Boko Haram members.
Although now, the nomenclature of the various militia groups has now been re-branded 'Bandits'. and as one the official of the incumbent government puts it, citizens now require clearance to be able to move around their business of the day. While we mourn the massacre of 43 rice farmers in Zabarmari village in Bornu state, only to wake up to the news of abducted students of Government Senior Secondary School, GSSS, Kankara of Katsina state.