Insecurity: Time to Hearken to Shettima’s Timely Homily
By Lawan Bukar Maigana
“One voice can change a room. And if one voice can change a room, it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it can change a state, it can change a nation. if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.”
– Barack Obama
There is no need to prevaricate. Insecurity, here in Nigeria, is now a behemoth. The country seems to be under siege. Armed non state actors keep wrecking havoc in the North West and North Central, despite the impressive strides the Armed Forces have made in neutralising them in recent months.
In the North East, Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP)’s terrorism has defied solutions, for over a decade after terrorists nearly turned the region into another Somalia.
Is there a need to even talk about the menace of ritualists, secessionists, kidnappers, pirates, robbers, internet fraudsters, militias and several other criminals are posing to the country’s fragile peace, unity and security?
Insecurity which has become pervasive appears to be the nation’s conundrum. If there is one former Governor of Borno State that can paint clearly the picture of Boko Haram and ISWAP’s savage activities, it is the Distinguished Senator Kashim Shettima. Shettima, was Borno Governor for eight years, out of the 13 years, and still counting, that insurgency, which roots can be traced to Maiduguri, has lasted.
Not too long ago, the former Borno Governor was a discussant in a panel session of a media roundtable themed, “Going For Broke: Fighting Insecurity In Nigeria.”
And in his submissions, he asserted that the North-West, systematically, has also been engulfed by bloody violence, which has manifested in the loss of lives, and destruction of communities.
“The North Central isn’t spared of these problems, as we have increasingly witnessed in Niger State in recent months, as well as in certain parts of Kwara State. Of course, farmer-herder conflicts have been rife for years in Benue, Nasarawa, and Plateau. These have also been fought out, along very delicate fault lines of ethnicity and religion, thus complicating all efforts to find the solution.
“The most difficult part of the issues involved has been the manner that our political elite, have, in turn, attempted to exploit the situation, to the detriment of inter-communal harmony, thus deepening national security problems in those regions, and nationally, by extension.
“When we move to the Southern regions of the country, we face different forms of insecurity. The Southeast is now a region where IPOB secessionists are daily undermining economic and communal existence, as they impose their form of disorder.
“In the southeast, targeting of other ethnic and economic groups are deliberately done, to avenge killings in other parts of the country. The highly respected elders and influential people seemingly acquiesce in what’s going on, by their silence, or inability to forthrightly call out those imposing generalised violence and disorder, in the region,” he said.
According to Shettima, security does not stand isolated from the general economic health of the country, saying that the greatest challenges facing Nigeria is that of having relative security, as well as finding the economic development that has the potential to create opportunities for young people in the country.
One interesting thing about Shettima’s admonition is that he is not asking present state actors at state and national levels to do something impossible or what he himself didn’t do when he was state governor for eight years. He is in fact speaking to the issues he experienced as governor and the actionable, implementable and realistic solutions he offered which have endured up till today.
While he battled the dreaded menace of the terrorists, he invested a lot of time, energy and resources in youth empowerment schemes as well as human capital development programmes. Due to the success of his initiatives, a lot of Borno youths are gainfully engaged today and are doing well within and outside the state. These are the same youths who would have been readily available for indoctrination into violent extremism and terrorism if Shettima’s genius ideas did not breathe life into their existence.
Therefore, while all the kinetic and non-kinetic solutions championed by the Armed Forces to tackle insecurity are desirable, Shettima argued that the permanent solution to insecurity is a stable, productive and expanded economy through which people can exhibit their talents, display their potential and live their dreams.
Indeed, unfulfilled dreams and failed expectations especially among the youth, lead to frustration, irritation and aggression which can threaten any country’s stability.
Frankly speaking, one way to end lingering insecurity is through providing quality leadership and creation of massive opportunities for the youth to be empowered.
The long and short of Shettima’s timely homily – which the federal and subnational governments must take seriously – therefore is: You want to end insecurity and save Nigeria…? Fix the economy first….
Lawan Bukar Maigana writes from Wuye District Abuja and can be reached via: [email protected]