BY GBENGA OKE
Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, yesterday stated that until the Nigerian government addresses the social economic injustice, unemployment, culture of impunity and religious politics, the insecurity ravaging Nigeria would continue.
Falana also maintained that the incompetence of the Nigeria leadership has left this country in a quagmire that would continue to linger, adding that the concentration of the wealth of this nation in few hands will further increase insecurity.
Speaking at a lecture organised by the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, Lagos State council to commemorate its 2012 Press Week, tagged “Nigeria’s Democracy and Insecurity, the way forward”, Falana said the embarrassment being meted on Nigeria today has shown the world that assurances given by President Jonathan’s administration is empty.
“The question we need to ask ourselves is how we found ourselves in this situation when billions of Naira is voted for security in the budgetary allocation every year. The situation has shown that nobody is safe in this country anymore and the hypocritical reaction of this government is getting embarrassing by the day,” he added.
He also said the menace of kidnapping taking place across the nation by the day is getting more worrisome, especially with the latest kidnapping of the Finance Minister’s mother in Delta State.
“The kidnap of Finance Minister’s mother is a big disgrace to this nation and unfortunately, no new approach or tactics has been put forward by the security operatives”.
He, however, stressed that the proposed dialogue by the Federal Government with Boko Haram leaders will not achieve any aim simply because the government is weak and the enemies are unknown.
According to him, “If the Federal Government decides to dialogue with Boko Haram, I don’t see it achieving any desired results because for you to dialogue, there is need to identify the Boko Haram group before anything could be done”.
While maintaining that corruption is another major setback for Nigeria as a nation, he said “Those who should be standing trial by now are walking free on the streets while our Central Bank has been turned to a charitable organization such that funds meant to be used in the development of the nation is now being donated by the CBN in different fora”.
He went further, “Lack of unemployment and the concentration of the wealth of Nigeria in few hands would only make the insecurity we are experiencing now get a boost simply because government has refused to listen to the yearnings of its citizens”.
He further explained that if Boko Haram can successfully launch an attack on the SARS office in Abuja and Jaji, it has further shown the incompetence of government in tackling the insecurity situation Nigeria is facing.
“The Boko Haram group has shown the inconsistency in our security situation in Nigeria and the Presidents approach to the issue has been too casual. The problem of insecurity should be approached holistically and not seen as a Northern problem alone”.
He, however, said that the approach used by President Olusegun Obasanjo in the case of Odi in Bayelsa State and Zaki Biam in Benue State is not the best way to tackle the Boko Haram problem.
His words, “I can authoritatively confirm that the military approach used by the Obasanjo administration in the case of Odi and Zaki Biam can be tagged genocide because the military intervention never achieved its aim because many of the people killed are innocent while the real culprit escaped”.
Proffering solution to the problem of insecurity in Nigeria, Falana said the problem of social economic injustice must be addressed and education given adequate priority.
“We must address our weak institutions, the culture of impunity must stop, un-employment must be curtailed, education should be given priority, our legal system should be addressed without hijack from government and the external dimension of terrorism adequately controlled”.
In his welcome address, the NUJ Chairman, Mr Deji Elumoye thanked all the personalities who took time to attend the NUJ Press week for 2012 just as he added that the topic chosen for this year’s Press Week was on the basis of insecurity Nigeria is experiencing now.
Present at the event were Deputy Managing Director of The Sun Newspapers, Mr Femi Adesina, Mrs Funke Fadugba, Mr Sunny Baba, Mr Lanre Arogundade, Mr Waheed Odusile, former Chairman of NUJ in Lagos State, Mr Dele Odebiyi among other media representatives.