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46 years after Murtala’s assassination, Obasanjo, Fayemi, find answers to insecurity

By Kingsley Jeremiah, Abuja
22 February 2022   |   3:00 am
Insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other crimes could become uncontrollable and cripple the nation, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Ekiti State Governor Fayemi Kayode and other leaders

Muhammed

Insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other crimes could become uncontrollable and cripple the nation, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Ekiti State Governor Fayemi Kayode and other leaders said in Abuja, yesterday.

The leaders, who spoke at a lecture marking the 46th year after the assassination of former Head of State, Murtala Muhammed, warned that the millions of out-of-school children were caused by insecurity, huge unemployment gap, lack of inclusiveness and others could worsen the scenario.

The caution came after Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State recently declared that the state lost about 900,000 houses and 5,000 classrooms to the Boko Haram insurgency. He added that about 486 people were killed in the first three weeks of 2022.

Obasanjo noted that out-of-school children and unemployed youths could become the “Boko Haram of tomorrow”, thereby, aggravating the prevailing insecurity.

He insisted that until nation-building is taken seriously and inclusive society is embraced, Nigeria’s current challenges might linger.

Obasanjo, who said the problem didn’t start overnight, explained that the root causes include poverty, social disparity and a weak education system.

“Those 16 million children that are out of school are the potential Boko Haram 10 years from now. We can decide that we don’t want Boko Haram in the year 2030 or 2035. But if we don’t do anything about those 16 million out-of-school children, we are already nurturing the Boko Haram of tomorrow,” he said.

Obasanjo said the country appears to be taking the same steps that have not solved problem. He noted that the country must face the issue of youth unemployment.

According to him, “Until we move from being a country to a nation, we are not going to go far. We need a country where everyone feels he has a say.”

Speaking on ‘Beyond Boko Haram: Addressing Insurgency, Banditry and Kidnapping Across Nigeria’, Fayemi said that in the face of a broken socio-economic fabric that has generated so much anguish, despair and distrust among Nigerians, there was a need for the country to summon the Nigerian spirit and reinvent its vision of oneness.

He said: “To do this, it is evident to me that the time has come, and it cannot be postponed.” He called “for a new compact to be forged between state and society, whose centrepiece must be an inclusive and expansive project of human security.”

He said: “From massive investments in public health, nutrition and education to the promotion of partnerships for affordable housing, household food security and efficient means of mass mobility, the supply of potable water and electrical power in our cities, towns and villages, and the creation of enabling conditions for any and every citizen to acquire the civics and skills necessary for navigating life in dignity – there has to be renewed drive to ensure that there is a concrete and meaningful bargain in being a Nigerian.”

Fayemi added: “Cleaning up the national stable is a task that must be accepted as an ongoing exercise. It was central to the task of national reset, which the Murtala-Obasanjo administration committed itself to pursue.

“The overarching goal of rebuilding a strong, united and virile nation, living at peace with itself and indignity in the comity of nations, was a constant refrain in the various public declarations made by General Muhammed during his time at the helms.”