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Time to beam more searchlight on security

Time to beam more searchlight on security
July 15
07:52 2023

In the wake of President Bola Tinubu’s tenure, it is evident that his primary focus lies on revitalising Nigeria’s economy, and this inclination is not unfounded. The National Bureau of Statistics reports that over 130 million Nigerians live in poverty, inflation remains in double digits, and unemployment continues to rise as companies downsize due to the removal of fuel subsidy.

Consequently, the president has undertaken significant economic measures, such as removing fuel subsidy, unifying the exchange rate, suspending tax implementation, and establishing a presidential committee on fiscal policy and tax reforms.

While these actions are commendable, it is imperative to shed more light on the critical issue of security, as economic prosperity loses its significance if people are plagued by violence and loss of life.

Tragically, Nigeria has experienced a surge in violence, with a staggering number of deaths and kidnappings since President Bola Tinubu assumed office. According to a report by Global Rights titled ‘Mass Atrocities in Nigeria from 2019 to July 2023,’ a total of 555 Nigerians have been killed, and 267 have been kidnapped between May 29 and July 3. These distressing incidents include attacks by bandits, Boko Haram insurgents, gunmen, and other criminal elements.

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Analysing the report further reveals that the north-central geopolitical zone, ravaged by banditry, has suffered the most, with 312 deaths recorded within a span of 35 days. The north-west follows with 123 deaths, while the south-east, north-east, south-south, and south-west regions have also witnessed significant casualties. Notably, regions plagued by banditry have experienced a higher death toll, with the north-west and north-central accounting for a combined total of 435 deaths.

The Role of Poverty and Power Struggles

Global Rights’ programme manager, Edosa Oviawe, identifies the struggle for power and the prevalent poverty as key factors fueling mass atrocities in Nigeria. These two intertwined issues create a breeding ground for violence and instability, threatening the social fabric and economic growth of the nation. To address the root causes, it is crucial to prioritise security measures that safeguard the lives and well-being of Nigerian citizens.

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One alarming incident that occurred during this period was the attack on the Farin Lamba community of Vwang District in Jos South local government area of Plateau state. Gunmen targeted innocent residents who were returning home after a day’s activities, resulting in the tragic deaths of an eight-month-old baby and seven others. This attack was preceded by another assault in the Sabon Gari community of Mangu local government area, where lives were lost, and houses were set ablaze.

President Tinubu expressed his condolences for the loss of innocent lives, acknowledging the unfortunate consequences of ongoing conflicts. He emphasised the importance of tolerance, forgiveness, and the need for peaceful and prosperous communities.

However, it is evident that mere statements and directives to security agencies are insufficient. Nigerians yearn for tangible action, allowing them to pursue their daily lives without fear of violence and terrorism.

Considering the urgent nature of the security crisis, it is imperative for the newly appointed chief of defence staff, Lieutenant General Chris Musa, to prioritise the safety and well-being of Nigerians. Hailing from Southern Kaduna, a region that has endured its fair share of turmoil, General Musa is intimately familiar with the suffering of his people. It is expected that he will take swift action to address the rampant killings in the Kaduna, Benue, and Plateau axis, serving as a gift to his community and a testament to his commitment to a secure and stable Nigeria.

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While President Tinubu has rightly placed emphasis on improving the economy, it is essential to recognise the symbiotic relationship between security and economic prosperity. Without a safe environment, any economic progress becomes meaningless. Investors, both domestic and foreign, seek stability and assurance before committing their resources. Therefore, by prioritising security measures, the president can foster an atmosphere that encourages investment, leading to economic growth and job creation.

Moreover, an improved security situation enables farmers to operate without fear, cultivating their lands and increasing agricultural output. This, in turn, boosts the agricultural sector, enhances food security, and provides economic opportunities for rural communities. The ripple effects of enhanced security extend beyond economic gains, fostering social cohesion, trust, and a sense of national stability.

While President Tinubu has taken significant steps to revitalize Nigeria’s economy, it is crucial to acknowledge the pressing need for enhanced security measures. The current security crisis, marked by increasing deaths and kidnappings, poses a severe threat to the nation’s progress and social fabric. Poverty and power struggles exacerbate this issue, necessitating urgent action to safeguard the lives and well-being of Nigerian citizens.

The recent appointment of Lieutenant General Chris Musa as the chief of defence staff presents an opportunity to address the security challenges faced by specific regions, such as Kaduna, Benue, and Plateau. It is hoped that his leadership will lead to a significant reduction in violence, providing a gift to his community and fostering a more secure and prosperous Nigeria.

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Recognising the inseparable link between security and economic prosperity, President Tinubu should prioritise and invest in comprehensive security measures. By doing so, he will create an environment that attracts investors, empowers farmers, and uplifts the entire nation. In this way, Nigeria can move forward on the path of peace, stability, and sustainable economic growth.

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