Umar Babangida Aliyu
The need to go beyond just military intervention to solve the nation’s security challenges was the focus of speakers at the Nigeria Info 2021 Security Summit.
The speakers – 2015 presidential candidate of KOWA Party, Prof. 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 the security challenges with less militaristic approach.
The summit, organised by Nigeria Info to commemorate its 10th anniversary, was attended by a cross section of the station’s audience.
Sonaiya, who spoke on how politics undermines the security architecture, stressed the need for Nigerians to focus on the kind of leaders they elect. She said: “The greatest threat to security are terrible leaders that do not have compassion for the people.”
On the role of politics on national development, she noted that it “determines the overall quality of life of the citizens of any country.” She reemphasised the need for Nigerians to elect leaders that are passionate about national development. According to her,
“We should ensure we elect people of integrity and sound moral character, who by their speech and example of sound moral lives, will inspire us all to greatness and ensure prosperity for all.”
Speaking on the crucial role security plays in championing economic development, Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Consulate in Lagos, Stephen Ibelli, expressed the U.S. government’s continuous support to Nigeria in the fight against insecurity.
He said: “The security issues in North East Nigeria have 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.”
Pledging his country’s continued financial support in resolving the crisis, Ibelli said: “The core of the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. is the largest humanitarian donor in response to the North East crisis, providing $1.45 billion since 2015 and supporting almost two million conflict-affected households.” On his part, Rotimi Sankore noted that the state of insecurity nationwide is a true reflection of the country’s underdevelopment.
“This is because just 12 years ago, research estimated that there were 4.4 million out of school children in North West Nigeria, while North East 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 10 years’ time,” he said.
Nigeria Info FM is the country’s foremost news and talk station, with stations in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. The Summit is a yearly interactive platform established to champion worthy discussions around the country’s socio-political and economic growth, while proffering solutions to the long-standing challenges mitigating national development.