Chief Steven Lawani, who served as the deputy Governor of Benue state from 2007-2015, has raised an alarm over the raging insecurity in the country, calling for a speedy solution to the problems posed by banditry and other security challenges in Nigeria.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, stated this during a chat with some journalists in his Abuja residence over the weekend.
He feared that the country was plunging into a failed state, insisting that the current situation in Nigeria calls for concern from all stakeholders.
On the security situation in the country, he recounted his encounter with an army general whom he took up the issue of insecurity with.
He recalled that after enquiring from the general on the contribution of the Army in stamping out the activities of bandits and kidnappers in Nigeria, the general had regaled him with the constitutional impediment which placed them only on issues bordering on external aggression. In his reply, the political leader noted that if constitution was the problem, it should be quickly amended to allow the Army lend a helping hand to the police in maintaining peace and order in Nigeria. He was convinced that only military action would match the sophisticated weapon used by the bandits and other criminal elements in perpetuating violent crimes in Nigeria. He further added that the country is already at war and quoted the foremost American President who in supporting a deviation from the constitution in the interest of the people, asked the pertinent question, “will the people perish for the sake of the constitution”?
In expressing his displeasure over the current situation in the country, he also recalled a little chat he had with some Nigerian doctors abroad who explained to him that the country lacks the proper medical equipments to absorb them into the system, particularly as it relates to their training abroad. He noted that while he challenged the medical doctors on the need to return to the country and serve their nation, he was disarmed when they raised concern over the county’s dilapidating health sector, lamenting that it will hinder their effective operation in Nigeria. Remembering his inability to convince them to come home, he averred that, “it was a sad situation for me, they were right and i was wrong.”
“The country unfortunately cannot provide them with the materials with which they had been trained so it would be difficult for them to practice here.”
The Idoma-born politician also commented on the global plunge in oil prices, insisting that Nigeria can no longer afford to continue depending solely on the oil sector for revenue generation and that it was time for the government to take revolutionary measures and diversify the economy.
He reiterated the need for the agricultural sector to be rejuvenated so that it would serve as an alternative revenue generation for the country’s plummeting economy.
He however, regretted the insecurity that has continued to militate against farming in the the country and stressed on the need for a change in approach by the government in dealing with the security challenges in the agricultural sector; Kidnapping, Herdsmen/Farmers clashes etc.
He further insisted that the army must be brought in to tackle these menaces as the cases seem to have overwhelmed the Nigerian police. He cited South Africa where the Army is being used to maintain law and order. He also explained that the war the country is fighting is the many menaces being faced in the agricultural sector and urged the Nigerian Government to deploy the army in that area so that farmers can be imbued with the sense of security which will in turn enhance their output.
He advised that factories be built to enable processing and storage of farm products so as to discourage importation and grow our economy as well as provide job opportunities for the teaming youths.