Director-General of the forum of governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, has said the ruling party must find solutions to the scary security challenge facing Nigerians.
The Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum in a statement entitled, “Poverty and Existential Problems of Nigeria,” demanded proactive measures to save ordinary Nigerians, particularly students at the mercy of bandits.
While he identified poverty as complicating the security crisis, Lukman restated his demand for the implementation of the True Federalism report submitted to the National Working Committee of the Party.
He specifically called for the creation of State Police as recommended by the Committee which was led by Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir El Rufai.
He said:” We may delude ourselves into all the debate based on the reckless consideration of amnesty and divisive ethnic and religious propaganda. The reality is that criminal activity of banditry, kidnappings and abduction of innocent school children are emerging to be very lucrative economic activities in the country.
“It is now a sophisticated business network with a frontend that may involve people and institutions that are least suspected. For instance, how is it possible that tens and hundreds of people would be abducted without any trace? Wouldn’t they pass through towns, villages and communities? Along the routes they passed, wouldn’t there be police and security posts/stations, traditional and religious leaders that could confirm suspicious movements?
“And with all these sad realities of our existential threats in the country, which is destroying our educational sector, we are debating whether we should have state police or not. Anybody debating whether or not to have state police is simply part of the problem.
“How many private securities are guarding our homes? With all that is happening to our schools, isn’t it a case that requires the establishment of an armed police station in each school to guarantee the safety of our children?
“Can this be provided by the Nigeria Police as it is constituted today? Isn’t this a challenge requiring emergency response? How can the lives of school children be so threatened, and we are busy debating politics? Our leaders in APC must wake up and stop all the hesitation around consideration of the APC True Federalism Report.
“Why was the Committee set up in the first place if our leaders knew that they are not committed to resolving problems that question what we have today? Isn’t it common knowledge that no problem can be solved by replicating exactly what may have created the problem?
“While it may be tempting on account of our divisive politics to imagine that we can resolve our problems based on strategies that merely reproduce old initiatives in different forms, we need to strongly appeal to our leaders, especially President Buhari to recognise the fact that our national situation is no longer acceptable.
“All the indices suggest the high possibility that most Nigerian children are potentially either criminals or abductees. Nigeria is fast losing its capacity to produce skilful, 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? Military and security strategy would remain a mirage and resource drainpipe so long it is not combined with an effectively implemented ambitious strategy to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
“As Nigerians and especially those of us who are members of APC, we must work hard to push our leaders to combine military and security strategy with the successful implementation of an ambitious national initiative to lift Nigerians out of poverty. Our loyalty to our leaders must, as a necessity, include getting our leaders to succeed in lifting Nigerians out of poverty.
“That is perhaps the only insurance cover that can support us to begin to move towards peaceful coexistence in the country. So long as we have Nigerians living in conditions of extreme poverty, crime rates, including banditry, kidnapping and abduction of innocent school children will remain high.
“Reducing this challenge to issues of enforcement of law and order alone will be insufficient. The factory that produces bandits, kidnappers, abductors and insurgents is the very condition that holds more than 100 million Nigerians below the poverty line.”