The United States Consulate and others speakers in Lagos have weighed in on the insecurity challenges in Nigeria and urged the Federal Government to go beyond just military intervention in solving Nigeria’s myriad of security challenges.
The Public Affairs Officer of the US Consulate in Lagos, Mr Stephen Ibelli said at the Nigeria Info 2021 Security Summit, held recently that security plays a crucial role in championing economic development and therefore expressed the US government’s continuous support to Nigeria in the fight against insecurity.
“The security issues in north-east Nigeria has become one of the world’s most complex humanitarian crises due to the fact that more than 350,000 people have been killed since 2009, while about three million people have been displaced across the Lake Chad Basin.
“The core of the US Mission’s partnership with the Nigerian government is to counter the security threats. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been coordinating the US humanitarian response as well as helping to rebuild basic civic institutions essential to reestablishing civil and social life in the hardest hit states within northern Nigeria. The US is the largest humanitarian donor in response to the north-east crisis, providing 1.45billion dollars since 2015 and supporting almost two million conflict-affected households,” he said.
2015 presidential candidate of KOWA Party, Professor Remi Sonaiya who spoke on how politics undermines the nation’s security architecture, stressed on the need for Nigerians to focus on the kind of leaders they elect.
Development expert and journalist, Rotimi Sankore noted that the state of insecurity nationwide is a true reflection of the country’s underdevelopment. “The major cause of insecurity is hinged on the underdevelopment of the nation. This is because just twelve years ago, research estimated that there were 4.4 million out of school children in northwest Nigerian, while northeast Nigeria had about three million out of school children. However, with the population growth nationwide, we are most likely to have 20 million out-of-school children in ten years’ time. This should be tackled holistically as this out of school children will eventually become willing tools in the hands of sponsors of bandits and terrorists,” he said.
On his part, former military officer, Aliyu Babangida harped on the need for Nigerians to find a way to co-exist peacefully “despite our differences.”
“Whether you are a Christian or a Muslim; you are APC, You are PDP; it doesn’t matter. The economy has no party, the market place has no religion. Despite our differences, we seem to have certain things in common,” he noted.
Captain Blade, as he is popularly called, added that Nigerians “have programmed us for the past 40 years that we don’t even know we are doing the things we do anymore.
“How come we don’t quarrel over hunger? How come we don’t quarrel over things like Arsenal and Manchester United?
“We go to viewing centres, we sit down and watch these matches. Then right outside the viewing centre, we remember ‘oh he smells like an Igbo man, he smells like a Yoruba man,’ what happened?” he quipped.
The security summit, organised by Nigeria Info to commemorate its tenth anniversary, was attended by a cross section of the station’s audience.
Nigeria Info FM is the country’s foremost news and talk station with stations in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt and the Summit is an annual interactive platform established to champion worthy discussions around Nigeria’s socio-political and economic growth, while proffering solutions to the long-standing challenges mitigating against the development of the country.