By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – A former political adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr Usman Bugaje, on Monday called on Nigerians to wake up to the sad and tragic fact that security challenges are getting out of hand in the country.
He made the call at the opening of a two-day Northern Nigeria Security Conference organized by Arewa Research and Development Project, (ARDP), in collaboration with Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, Savanna Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development; and the Joint Action Committee of Northern Youth Associations in Kaduna.
Dr Bugaje said that neither the Nigerian security institutions nor the government alone has the capacity to adequately and effectively address the tide of insecurity in the current state of affairs, hence, a need for drastic changes in the security system in the country.
According to him, more worrisome is the fact that the theatre of insecurity and conflict has, in the last 3 years or so expanded far beyond the North-East.
“The whole of North-West and the North-Central have been engulfed by kidnapping and rural banditry in addition to ethno-religious clashes.
“Rural banditry and kidnapping has actually assumed a proportion far more heinous than the dreaded Boko Haram.
“The continuous wanton killings, the burning of villages, the daily robbery and kidnapping on our roads, the increasing fear that is gripping the cities have all connived to paralyze social and economic life of citizens,” he said.
He noted that though the military decimated the power of Boko Haram but have not decisively defeated the insurgents; pointing out that the immediate vicinity of major cities in Borno state have continued to be attacked.
“In the recent past the security situation has escalated to unprecedented levels clearly exposing the rural and urban populations to unspeakable atrocities and sufferings; as misery is all that one hears daily, precipitating a national depression and inflicting a traumatized national psyche.
“The recent daring attacks on government military formations in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa have eroded the gains previously made. This underscores the need to make drastic changes in the security system,” Bugaje added.
The two-day conference is envisioned toamong others, develop community-based strategy for the enhancement of the security of the North; be solution driven and to focus on what communities could and should do to protect themselves and salvage what could be salvaged.