Former Speaker House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has reviewed the spate of insecurity and raised the alarm that the country is at war with itself.
Dogara, in fact, declared that the country is on the verge of the precipice.
Speaking at the 10th convocation ceremony of Achievers University, Owo in Ondo state, Dogara asked the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration “to stop playing the ostrich or pretend that all is well with us and our country.
The former Speaker who is the Chancellor of the University lamented the seemingly intractable security challenges in the country.
”The South-West and South-East are fast becoming Nigeria’s new zones of instability. Added to this is the long list of other protracted conflicts, including but not limited to Boko Haram insurgency in the North East that has left scores of people dead and millions displaced; banditry in the North West; piracy and organised crime in the South-South and farmer-herder clashes in much of the rest of the country.
“The problem of ungoverned spaces in Nigeria where the government has lost the capacity to exert coercive power or at best maintains a sporadic or weak presence, leave vast forested landscapes across the country for terrorists, bandits and sundry criminal cartels to use as sanctuaries and establish operational bases.
”With an unemployment rate of over 30 per cent, epileptic economic growth; overburdened and overwhelmed security agencies coupled with weak institutional capacity within the security agencies; extreme inequality cum poverty and citizens alienation from the government, you need not look no further lot compounding factors. According to the Global Terrorism Index released on 27th November 2020, Nigeria is now the third-most terrorized country in the world.
“With the above-painted scenario, we can no longer play the ostrich or pretend that all is well with us and our country.
”We must say it as it is Nigeria is at war with itself. It’s like all roads lead to Golgotha. The dam has broken and we have reached an inflexion point. These are events that must change the way we think and act in order to walk Nigeria back from the precipice.
Dogara noted that “something has been fundamentally wrong with Nigeria which we have tailed to cure.
”Experts have linked insecurity in Nigeria to government’s failure or lack of capacity to deliver public services as well as prowed (or basic needs of the people.
“This lapse creates a pool of frustrated people who are easily ignited by any event to be Violent. Also, inequality and unclaimed in appointment and distribution of public utilities create a perception of marginalization by a section of the people, especially the youth, who have a sense of disaffection and/or resentment.
“The youth bulge means that our inability to place the youth on sustainable career paths has turned this useful demography from dutiful labourers to disaffected rebels.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that unprofessional media reports also heighten insecurity among various groups and stakeholders Other causes of insecurity in the nation include but not limited to inadequate equipping and training of security personnel; loss of socio-cultural and communal value system such as collectivism and loyalty to authority; porous borders that enable untracked individuals and groups moving in and out of the country at will; extreme poverty, illiteracy and inveterate corruption.
“The promise of democracy is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The first promise is life because it takes someone who is alive to enjoy the next promise which is liberty and only someone who is alive and free can engage in the third promise which is the pursuit of happiness. Consequently, failure to secure the first promise translates to failure to deliver on the other two.
“For far too long our democracy has not delivered on the promise of democracy. Insecurity is by far the major cause. We are all to blame for this because all citizens of democracies know that democracy does not work for them, rather, it is the citizens that must make democracy work for them.
“The effects of insecurity in Nigeria are being felt by all. Many of us in this assembly, who ordinarily would have travelled by road, would have chosen a journey by a flight out of fear, thereby inevitably affecting our budget.
“The effects of insecurity are multi-dimensional, including loss of investment which in turn discourages potential domestic and international investors; destruction of critical infrastructure; human resource decimation through hostage-taking, kidnapping and genocide; disruption of human capital development through the kidnapping of students in educational institutions; and disruption of economic activities through theft, armed robbery, assassination, ritual killing, and numerous fraudulent activities, amongst others.
“Where do we go from here? The solution is as complex as the problem; that is why it will take visionary leadership with the right political will to win this war.
Zonal Security outfits such as Amotekun, Ebube-Agu
The former Speaker who noted that the inability of the national security forces to tackle insecurity led to the proliferation of vigilante and zonal security outfits however wrote them off saying that “The challenge with these outfits is that, historically, they have not worked.
” As it has always been the case in so many communities and nations that promote those outfits, they will soon degenerate into lucrative criminal cartels themselves.
“Lack of training will result in extra-judicial killings and some of us who have welcomed them as saviours will sooner than later start condemning them for their brinkmanship and lack of transparency.
“History is replete with disturbing anecdotes on the impossible necessity of vigilantes.
“Be that as it may, we must move forward as a nation. Stemming the tide of insecurity in Nigeria requires all hands to be on deck. We must all be involved.
“All Nigerians should consider themselves stakeholders if the war against insecurity must be won.
He said that ” The consequences of a fractured Nigeria is not only on the psyche of Nigerians but the black race.
“Nigeria represents a major promise that a black nation can truly attain the status of a global superpower and once Nigeria vanishes, that promise will perish with it.
”Therefore, I will rather be part of a stable and prosperous populous nation with a major promise than a citizen of a fragmented part of Nigeria no matter how well organized it may be.
“No doubt, the challenges of our nationhood are difficult but surmountable. We must not give up until something gives in or gives way.
“Gladly, all problems come with their solutions embedded in them but only those genuinely looking for the solutions get to find them. Believe me, we can solve these problems if all of us earnestly start looking for the solutions.
“Some pundits have posited that Nigeria may not exist by 2023 because of merchants of violence or conflict entrepreneurs.
“This shouldn’t scare us. But what scares me is post-2023, if we get it all wrong. What is on the 2023 ballot is Nigeria itself. We need a team whose pedigree must match their rhetoric for unity, peace and progress.
“Our most immediate challenge now is to bring our disparate peoples together and pull down our barriers; otherwise we cannot build. Issues of development, although absolutely important, are not the most immediate.
“No one without an implementable solution on the questions of unity and justice for us all regardless of ethnicity or creed should have their names on the ballot, period.
Dogara said ” Make no mistake, if we dare get it all wrong in 2023, we would have succeeded in hastening the days of the first four -the famous horsemen of the apocalypse on ourselves days that will be marked by conquest, war, famine and death. May God forbid.