By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor & Dayo Johnson
ABUJA—Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, and ex-Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku, yesterday, expressed worries over the high level of insecurity in the country, following the activities of herdsmen, kidnappers, bandits and armed robbers, which have claimed many lives.
While President Jonathan during his condolence visit to Afenifere leader and elder statesman, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, over the killing of his daughter by herdsmen along Ore-Benin expressway last Friday, said insecurity was getting worse under President Buhari’s watch, Anyaoku at a book launch in Abuja, pleaded with the President and the National Assembly to nip the situation in the bud to prevent Nigeria from collapse.
Their declarations came less than 24 hours after ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo raised the alarm in an open letter to President Buhari on the same issue.
Insecurity getting worse Jonathan
Jonathan said: The issue of security must be approached from a different dimension. We cannot continue the old way because it is getting out of hand. We hope the federal and state governments will do something about it.
“Every generation faces problems and this generation must find ways to solve these problems. Every government faces problems. The first commercial kidnapping, because it involved money, happened in 2006 when I was the governor of Bayelsa State. From that time, it moved to terrorism in the north. Now, it is a major problem in the country.
“The Federal Government, in conjunction with state governments, must design a different approach to this issue. I was there as President and security challenge was there but now, it is getting worse everyday and we can’t continue to use the same old method.”
The former president advised the government to create a special security unit to fight banditry and kidnapping.
“I believe the Federal Government should set up a special unit like we set up EFCC and ICPC to handle corruption cases, so that they will know that their responsibility is to manage this kidnapping, killings and the rest. We can’t continue like this; it is not possible.
“We can’t even talk about managing the economy of this country when people are not safe. The economy is for the people, people must be alive to enjoy infrastructure. If you do all the roads in the country and people cannot move about, the roads become meaningless,’’ Jonathan said.
On Obasanjo’s call for confab
On the call by Obasanjo for a national conference, Jonathan said: “A lot of things were discussed during the national conference organized during my time as President. The issue of security, state and community policing were discussed. I always believe that government should look at that report, it was not written by me.
“We should not play politics with serious national issues. If we look at that report, there are recommendations that border on security and if there is area that needs to be expanded because I believe everyday new ideas come up, it should be updated.
“There is nothing wrong holding a specific meeting to look at the issue of security. I believe the federal and state governments should have a new approach by deploying technology to protect our people.”
Dont’t let Nigeria drift to anarchy— Anyaoku
On his part, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, urged President Buhari and the National Assembly to take urgent steps to arrest the present security situation to prevent Nigeria from drifting into anarchy.
Anyaoku, who spoke at the launch of a book, titled Dadi, the Man, the Legend, written by Dillibe Onyeama, in honour of a former judicial icon, Justice Dadi Onyeama, in Abuja, pointed out that the emerging scenarios in the land were ominous signs that needed to be checked without further delay.
He said: “Let me now come to my message to President Buhari and all members of our National Assembly. The message is two-faced: Nigeria is on the brink; and our foremost national challenge is the management of our country’s diversity.
“Every diverse federal country throughout the world achieves political stability and socio-economic development through successfully managing its national diversity. There are two common keys to this. The first is having an inclusive central government which gives the peoples of the component parts of the federation a sense of belonging that in turn underpins the sense of unity and patriotism in all the citizens.
“The second is having adequate delegation of powers to the federating units to enable them handle their internal security and significant aspects of their socio-economic development.
“However, today, Nigeria is on the brink. For no objective observer, including those in the government, can deny that the current state of affairs in our country is extremely worrisome.
“We see an unprecedented diminution of national unity; we see an unprecedented level of insecurity of life and property with kidnappings and killings of human beings occurring virtually everyday in many parts of the country, including the seemingly unchecked violence by Fulani herdsmen which has spawned fractious controversies over the proposed Ruga policy by the federal government.
“For the sake of peace and integrity of the country, the Ruga policy must be handled with circumspection and strictly in accordance with our extant constitution’s provisions on land tenure. And, we see that all these unwholesome developments are accompanied by a worsening level of poverty that is leading to Nigeria fast becoming the poverty capital of the world.
“I call on our President, members of the National Assembly, governors, and, indeed, on all our political elite not to continue to live in denial of the seriousness of these glaring facts, if not effectively addressed, are bound to push the country over the brink of a national disaster.’’
The former Commonwealth scribe noted that Nigeria was already blessed with what was needed to tackle the security challenges before they get out of hand.
He stated further: “Fortunately, to provide insightful governance which would facilitate effective tackling of these challenges, Nigeria does not need to reinvent the wheel, if only the people in government and all concerned would learn from our history, thereby avoid validating the saying by the German philosopher, Friedrich Hegel, that ‘the only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history’.
“Because it is undeniable that Nigeria’s history has demonstrated that the economy attained greater sense of national unity and faster progress in socio-economic development during its period as a true federation of more viable federating units with greater devolution of powers to them as it was in the immediate years after the country’s independence under its 1960/63 constitutions.
“As I have stated on many occasions, I believe that the current travails of Nigeria will be more effectively tackled if the country’s diversity is managed with a structure of governance that draws not only from the present lessons of successful diverse federations, but more importantly, from Nigeria’s own past happier experience during its immediate post-independent years.’’