Abuja – Bayelsa Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, has urged patriotic Nigerians and political leaders, irrespective of party affiliations, to come together to address prevailing insecurity and senseless killings in the country.
He made the call in a lecture on “National Security, Cultural Values and the Challenges of Contemporary Governance, the Bayelsa Experience” he delivered on Tuesday in Abuja.
At the event organised by Institute for Security Studies, Abuja, Dickson said that Nigerians should not just condemn the killings, but should make concerted efforts to stop them.
He said that when a nation was under attack or security challenge, the leaders, military, civilians, Christians, Muslims, must come together to address it.
The governor said that what was going on in Nigeria was more than the historical herdsmen and farmers’ clashes, pointing out that the country had lost many innocent souls to the killings.
“Who are the farmers having clashes with herdsmen in Sokoto, Zamfara and other places? We must call a spade a spade for the good of our country.
“We are dealing with a calculated attack on our country. We are dealing with machinery of violence against innocent Nigerians.
“Yes, we have historical incidents of herdsmen and farmers clash but what is going on is far more than that.
“All Nigerians and people of goodwill should show patriotism and let us interrogate these issues properly.”
Dickson also condemned what he called “politicisation of the security, law and order’’.
He said that any society that wanted to be peaceful and achieved development must respect law and order.
He said a situation where a security officer diligently doing his work was unceremoniously transferred because someone who had access to power wanted him transferred was bad.
The governor advised political leaders not stay aloof to issues of insecurity but to work with the security agencies in fighting insecurity.
“Political leaders must be proactive, have a vision to better the lives of the people and must support the work of the security agencies.
“It is the responsibility of political leaders to support the work of men and women in uniform to address insecurity.”
He advised the Executive to assist in boosting the capacity of the security agencies.
He advised President Muhammadu Buhari to lead the security agencies in addressing challenges in the country, saying that security was the first condition for development.
“Nigerians are right to demand for protection. They expect the security agencies to rise to the occasion and put an end to the killings that are moving from one state to the other.
“If the people are under attack by foreign gunmen, that is the more reason why the security forces and the President, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces should lead the security agencies to repel the foreign attack.
“If these merciless people are foreigners, it means that our nation is under attack, and the first duty of any government is to protect its citizens.
“We have lost enough innocent lives. Instead of these killings abating, it continues to spread.
“That is why I said what is going on in the middle belt, North-East, Niger Delta and other regions of the country is clearly the most potent national insecurity.
“It is an essential threat our country has faced since the civil war,’’ Dickson said.
He said though the present administration had made remarkable achievements in addressing security challenge in the North-East, Boko Haram was still alive contrary to the claim that it had been defeated.
“Once again, I call on our president to lead a national consensus on how to confront and defeat this security terror.”
He listed some of the contemporary challenges in the fight against corruption as politicisation of the matter, interference with security works, threat of cultism, youths’ access to illicit drugs and easy money.
The governor also said that to address insecurity in Nigeria, there was need for government to invest more in education.
“The options are clear; it is either you build more schools or you build more prisons and cemeteries.”
He added that in addressing the situation and developing the country, there was need to recognise and respect ethics and cultural differences in the country.
Dickson, however, said that in spite of the contemporary security challenge facing Nigeria, the country had the potential of becoming one of great capability.
“In spite of these challenges, we believe that a new Nigeria of peace and stability, equal citizenship and egalitarian Nigeria is still possible.
“From the north to the south, east to the west, God in his mercy and wisdom, has given us everything to be great. I am not just talking about natural resources.” (NAN)