President Muhammadu Buhari says insecurity is challenging the very foundation of Nigeria’s nationhood.
He said this in Abuja Wednesday at the Special Summit on National Security organised by the Special Committee of the House of Representatives on Natioal Security. The summit was themed ‘Strengthening National Security. Comprehensive Assessment and Generating Innovative All-Encompassing Solutions.’
Buhari, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said: “Insecurity, as you’re aware, impacts on the citizens and the economy and the governance machinery without regard to political, religious, ethnic or other affiliations. It challenges the foundation of our nationhood and stands in the way of our achieving our highest ambitions for Nigeria.”
He noted that terrorism, political conflicts, racism and other forms of criminal activities continued to threaten economic development, peace and security in different continents of the world.
“At the regional level, Africa, these concerns subsist and continue to rage. Nigeria shares land borders with Benin, Cameron, Chad and Niger; and maritime boundaries with Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Sao Tome and Precipe.
“The challenges that these international borders pose to our national security and interest are enormous. The instability in the Lake Chad region alone deserves close attention.
“Our nation has had to grapple with various forms of internal security issues over the past decade in all geopolitical zone. Addressing them effectively to restore safety, peace and security, therefore remains the responsibility of all Nigerians, in and out of public office and our democratic institutions.
“This Special National Summit forms part of the collective effort to identify the root causes of our national security challenges so that we can develop and implement solutions through policies, legislations, plans, budgetary provisions, robust oversight system, bilateral and multilateral engagements that would address our present and future deals.
“Insecurity, as you’re aware, impacts on the citizens and the economy and the governance machinery without regard to political, religious, ethnic or other affiliations,”.
Buhari expressed optimism that the nation would overcome as it had done many times throughout its history, stressing, however, that “success at this time requires that we set aside all other considerations and commit ourselves to a common endeavour in the national interest”.
Enough of talks without action– Sultan
The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, said enough of talks on insecurity with actions.
He said: “Now things are really very bad and it’s a fact. Let’s not deceive ourselves that things are alright, things are not alright and we know and we see it
“For some of us we’ve seen so much in our life. From the time I became Sultan till now, for 11 years plus, we’ve been having such gatherings to talk about Nigeria, national security, development and so on. We’ve talked and talked, we’ve talked at Northern Governors Forum level, at national level where I happen to be the chairman of that body, we’ve talked and talked. In the last few months, we’ve had serious gatherings like this with the highest leadership of this country.
“Today we’re here once again on the same issue of national security. Enough of these talks, let’s work, let’s work the talk. The more we sit here and talk, the more time we waste in getting real actions.
“We know the problems. I’ll not say anything here that I’ve not said in the last seven years. It’s important that when you come to a public forum like this, you say some few things. I wish this gatherings were one where you don’t have the media so we can discuss very well. We know the problems and we can’t just continue to talk and not implement, come back maybe four months later for another summit to talk again because we don’t implement whatever comes out from such forum.
“Certain things our leaders do, you say something in public and they clap for you, you go back to your comfort zone and throw everything away.
“We’ve have had so many resolutions on the floor of the House, how many of them have been implemented? It’s high time we put aside ethnic and religious profiling. Stop profiling criminals, call them by their names. No ethnic or religious groups will be happy that every day you’re calling his own side of the coin the bad one, even when you know there are good ones which are larger in number.
“Unless we come together and look at the greater figure which is Nigeria and work for the country to move forward, we’ll continue having these problems.”
The Sultan said traditional leaders are partners in progress to the political leaders.
Our country under attacks – Gbajabiamila
Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who is also the chairman of the committee, said, Nigeria was under attacks by insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements, saying this called for a united and coordinated security approach to tackle the challenges.
“Security challenges have impeded all efforts at progress and prosperity, we must confront the realization that our previous and current approaches to address the challenges have not yielded the desired results.”
He warned that it would be difficult for Nigeria to attain the peace it desired for development to take place if the present security situation remained unresolved.
“Let’s, in this defining moment, work together to pursue the things that make for peace. Let’s dedicate ourselves to ending violence and disorder in our land, and to improving the quality of life for all our nation’s people”, Gbajabiamila said.
We’re at a crossroads – Lawan
Senate President Ahmed Lawan said Nigeria was at a crossroads and that its existence was under threat as what started as insurgency in 2009 in the northwestern part of Yobe State had grown into a full-scale insurgency in the entire northeast.
“What was not known to us in the northwest is now today the home of banditry and kidnapping. The north-central as we all know is not safe. And the recent introduction in the southeast is another serious threat to the existence of this country where government institutions are targeted, our police and security agencies personnel are being killed on a daily basis.
“Our institutions, buildings are burnt. These are threats not only to those areas, but the entire nation. And our armed forces are doing their best.
He said it was time the legislature and executive arm of government came closer in finding solutions.
Lawan stressed the need to provide resources more resources for the security agencies to enable them tackle the criminal activities better.
We’ll restore peace – CDS
The Chief of Defence Staff, Lt.Gen. Lucky Irabor, said the leadership of thesecurity agencies were mindful of the concerns being expressed across the country, pledging that in line with the president’s directive “we’ll take every measure necessary to bring peace to our fatherland.”
He said no amount of talks on security could be enough as “it’s by talking that actions taken are reviewed and then what has been left undone is pointed out.”
“We remain loyal to the president and Commander-in Chief, to the constitution. And I think it’s important to also reemphasize that we’ll defend the constitutional order at all times,” Irabor said.
Youths hungry, angry – Ooni
The Oni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, said most members of the National Assembly could not sleep peacefully in their constituencies due to the widespread insecurity in the country.
He said the youth were not properly engaged by political leaders and other people in positions of authority; saying the prolonged neglect led to the present insecurity.
“Let’s tell ourselves the truth, they’re hungry and angry. I repeat: they’re hungry and they’re very angry. All of us that are here, I’ll be very happy if anybody can raise up his hand and say ‘I can go to my constituency, my local government area, and I can stay there in peace for one week.’
“We’re the ones facing these youths; we know their problems and we’ve been talking every time. You sit in beautiful offices and you all think all will be well? Look at this beautiful building; as beautiful as this building is, if the foundation is wrong, the entire building will collapse because the foundation has a problem,” he said.