…adjourns meeting with service chiefs, expands invitees’ list

…as Gov. Sani blames insecurity on poverty, lack of education, others

The need to address poverty and a change of strategy in the war against crime and insurgency are coming into focus again as the Federal Government moves in a renewed resolve to tackle security challenges facing Nigeria.

This is as the Senate on Wednesday adjourned discussions with service chiefs over insecurity to February 13, 2024 to accommodate everyone involved in the management of security in the country.

The security chiefs, who were present at the Senate chamber, were billed to address the lawmakers on rising insecurity in the country but the decision to widen the briefing forced the Senate to shift it to a later date.

The motion to adjourn the security briefing by the service chiefs was moved by the leader of the Senate, Opeyemi Bamidele, and was seconded by the minority leader, Senator Abba Moro.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio, in approving the adjournment, noted that the Senate would like a holistic deliberation on insecurity.

The Clerk of the Senate was subsequently directed to expand the invitees list to cover All Service Chiefs, the National Security Adviser, Finance Minister, Interior Minister, Defence Minister, Minster of State for Defence and the Minister of Police Affairs.

The Senate had in a unanimous decision after an an emergency session on the first legislative day of the year on January 30 summoned the service chiefs over the spate of insecurity in the country.
Meanwhile, Kaduna State governor, Uba Sani, said Wednesday that poverty, unemployment, hopelessness and lack of education are the major reasons insecurity is festering in the Northwestern part of the country.
Sani was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

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Governor Sani, speaking on the security situation in the North of Nigeria, said: “The North-West crisis has to do with banditry and kidnapping, it is an economic problem. When you look at the situation critically, you will agree with me that most of those bandits always kidnap innocent people and ask for ransom and whenever they are given money, they will release the victims in many cases and in some cases when there is a delay, they end up taking the lives of those victims.

“And when you look at the situation, you also look at the problem of poverty, unemployment, hopelessness and lack of education, particularly in the Northwestern part of Nigeria that is the reason why a lot of these incidents happen.”

Governor Sani maintained that statistics had proven that a greater percentage of people living in the North-West are living below poverty line, adding that a lot of out of school children in the country are also from the North-West zone.

“The last time I checked, and you can confirm from the SDGs recent report, you would agree with me that about 80 to 90% of the people living in the Northwestern part of Nigeria are living below the poverty line and of course if you look at the statistics of out of school children, you can see that a lot of the are from the Northwestern part of Nigeria,” he said.

Governor Sani said that bringing the criminals and pardoning them when they surrender is only one aspect of non-kinetic approach to ending the insecurity, which, according to him, is not the most important aspect.

The most important approach to ending the menace, he noted, is looking at the condition of the people generally which includes the poverty, unemployment and hopelessness.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in a study on Nigeria’s insurgency war and its impact on livelihoods, cited damage to agriculture, water, trade, food and healthcare as exacerbating the security situation.
Vice President Kashim Shettima has also recently been speaking of the need to deploy both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches in tackling the various security challenges across Nigeria.
Shettima, speaking at the graduation ceremony of the National Institute for Security Studies’ Executive Intelligence Management Course 16 which was held in Abuja, said the agitation by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South-East, the banditry in the North-Central, and terrorism in the North-East and North-West need to be tackled using not just a kinetic approach but also non-kinetic means.
He attributed the current insecurity in parts of the country to poverty and unemployment and stressed the need to improve governance in the country.

Military authorities say the kernel of the non-kinetic strategy to dealing with insurgency entails winning over the local communities under siege of the insurgents by emphathising and cooperating with them and providing for their needs, including food, medication, potable water.

Rendering training in enhanced farming methods and artisanal skills and carrying the people along in the visioning for a stable society are also part of the package – the essence being that poverty is one of the main drivers of insurgency and that people who are gainfully engaged and self-sustaining would have less motivation to participate in anti-social conduct or cooperate with vagrants.