Salisu Lukman, Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has told leaders across political persuasions and especially President Mohammadu Buhari that the Security situation of the country is no longer acceptable.
Insecurity in the last two weeks has taken a downward slide in parts of the country and particularly the northern states with competing news of abductions, kidnapping, banditary and killings.
He reasoned that it would yield little dividends trying to apply the same old therapy to a festering wound and expect a healing noting, that the nation cannot resolve its problems by replicating old and failed strategies.
Lukman cautioned that any attempt to apply military strategies alone in effort to curb the rising criminalities would end up catching a vast majority of Nigerians in the web as he declared,” all indices suggest the high possibility that most Nigerian children are potentially either criminals or abductees”.
“Nigeria is fast losing its capacity to produce skillful, innovative, resourceful, entrepreneurial and industrious citizens. Given the efficiency with which abduction of school children are successfully being executed, it would appear that the population of criminals working as bandits, kidnappers and abductors is more than the number of police and security personnel in the country.
“With the alleged collaboration of security personnel, traditional and religious leaders in the business of kidnapping, banditry and abduction in the country, the only safe person is probably a kidnapper, bandit, abductor or their collaborators.
“This being the case, how can any military and security strategy alone successfully end the problem of banditry, kidnapping, abduction and insurgency?”, he queried; adding that “military and security strategy would remain a mirage and resource drainpipe so long it is not combined with effectively implemented ambitious strategy to lift Nigerians out of poverty:”.
The APC chieftain noted that the global poverty index that placed Nigeria as the global poverty capital and with over 13 million out-of-school children is enough to alert all leaders to the challenges at hand.
Highlighting 2007/2010 figures by the World Bank and Charles Soludo which rightly predicted that northern Nigeria was well below extreme poverty indices, Lukman wondered why it was difficult for the nation’s leaders to link the rising insecurity in the three northern zones insurgency in Borno and now kidnapping and banditary in the northwest and North Central.
While noting that President Mohammadu Buhari has acknowledged the glaring poverty level in the country and taken appropriate step to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty line, Lukman observed the various state governors have done very little to tackle the poverty level in the north.
In an opinion piece he dedicated to recently kidnapped school children urged the young party lead the vanguard to address extreme poverty in the country
“Being members of APC with all the commitment to contribute to the success of the party, we need to tell ourselves the hard truth, which is that an important determinant of return to peaceful coexistence and moving Nigeria forward under the leadership of our party is dependent on the capacity of our governments to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
“Therefore, we need to engage the disturbing issue of high levels of poverty in Nigeria beyond the narrow prism of politics. Outside the simplistic strategy of promoting our political choices, it is equally important that we wake up to the reality that high levels of poverty have produced really unimaginable existential threats both for citizens and for the nation.
” Daily, lives are being lost, individual liberties and freedoms are under permanent threats, properties and livelihoods are being destroyed. Every Nigerian today live with the fear of one form of threat or the other. The North East has been ravaged by Boko Haram for more than 10 years. The problems of banditry and kidnappings are gradually taking over the North West and North Central”.
He urged the party to stop paying lip service to its manifesto and on true federalism, wondering why it set up a committee to that effect if it did not intend to implement its recommendations.
According to him the enormity of the problem of poverty has rendered the various social interventions programmes of the administration, and called for more enduring strategy to address the problem.
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