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The need to go beyond just military intervention to solve Nigeria’s myriad of security challenges served as the core focus of the speakers at Nigeria Info’s 2021 Security Summit.
The speakers – 2015 presidential candidate of KOWA Party, Professor Remi Sonaiya; United States’ Consulate representative, Stephen Ibelli; former military officer, Captain Umar Babangida Aliyu; and development expert and journalist, Rotimi Sankore – noted in their presentations that there is a dire need for Nigeria to address its security challenges in a less military-offensive approach.
The summit, organised by Nigeria Info to commemorate its tenth anniversary, was attended by a cross-section of the station’s audience.
Professor Sonaiya, who spoke on how politics undermine the nation’s security architecture, stressed the need for Nigerians to focus on the kind of leaders they elect. This could be seen when she said, “the greatest threat to security is terrible leaders that do not have compassion for the people.”
She further reiterated the role politics has to play on national development by saying, “Politics, as we all know, determines the overall quality of life of the citizens of any country.”
She also reemphasized the need for Nigerians to elect leaders that are passionate about the development of the country. This is made evident when she said, “We should ensure we elect people of integrity and sound moral character, who by their speech and example of their sound moral lives, will inspire us all to greatness and ensure prosperity for all.”
Riding on the backdrop of the crucial role security plays in championing economic development, the Public Affairs Officer of the US Consulate in Lagos, Stephen Ibelli expressed the US government’s continuous support to Nigeria in the fight against insecurity. This was revealed when he stated that “the security issues in north-east Nigeria has become one of the world’s most complex humanitarian crises due to the fact that more than 350,000 people have been killed since 2009, while about three million people have been displaced across the Lake Chad Basin.”
To assist the Nigerian government in the fight against insecurity, Stephen Ibelli pledged his country’s continued financial support in resolving the security crisis ravaging the country.
“The core of the US Mission’s partnership with the Nigerian government is to counter the security threats. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been coordinating the US humanitarian response as well as helping to rebuild basic civic institutions essential to reestablishing civil and social life in the hardest-hit states within northern Nigeria. The US is the largest humanitarian donor in response to the north-east crisis, providing 1.45billion dollars since 2015 and supporting almost two million conflict-affected households,” he said.
To complement the standpoint of the previous speakers, Rotimi Sankore noted that the state of insecurity nationwide is a true reflection of the country’s underdevelopment. This is reflected when he said, “The major cause of insecurity is hinged on the underdevelopment of the nation. This is because just twelve years ago, research estimated that there were 4.4 million out-of-school children in northwest Nigerian, while northeast Nigeria had about three million out-of-school children. However, with the population growth nationwide, we are most likely to have 20 million out-of-school children in ten years’ time.”
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