Kaduna State Governor, Senator Uba Sani, has said that poverty and unemployment are responsible for the incessant security breaches in the North West.
But I was quick to add that the only way out of this quagmire is good governance.
Speaking on Monday while playing host to the Kaduna State Elders Forum, which paid him a congratulatory visit over his recent victory at the Supreme Court, the governor maintained that the recent military actions against banditry and kidnapping, with the support of the Defence Headquarters, are part of an effort to tackle the insecurity bedevilling the state.
He said efforts are being put in place to build two additional Forward Operation Bases in the state, while his government is also adopting good governance as the best non-kinetic solution to the security challenges.
The governor also lamented the alarming rate of out-of-school children, saying the issue must be addressed to ensure a secure state and region.
It was for this menace that he disclosed that the state is getting $28 million in support from Kuwait to address the problem of out-of-school children.
“The Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army, and the Chief of Air Staff have assured us of their support for our security efforts. They have decided to set up two Forward Operation Bases (FOB) in Kaduna, one in southern Kaduna, Zangon Kataf, to be precise, and the other one in Birnin Gwari to serve Birnin Gwari down to Giwa. The FOBs will be set up in the next three weeks.
“This is one of the most important interventions by the Defence Headquarters because we have always said that we need more boots on the ground and we need the support of the military generally, and we are grateful that we are having that support.
“We also announced last week that we would be setting up a security trust fund. By the grace of God, tomorrow I will be signing the bill for the establishment of the Security Trust Fund 2024. We are amending the one that is obsolete and coming up with a new one. This will give room for the private sector to come in and work with us.
“We are also looking at a non-kinetic approach to addressing the security challenges. But the issue of the non-kinetic approach is not just about talking with the bandits, negotiating, and asking them to submit their weapons; that is only one aspect of it.
“The most important aspect of a non-kinetic approach is good governance. No matter how much we talk and try to bring about peace, if we don’t look at the area of good governance, we will never end the problem of insecurity in Northern Nigeria in particular.
“People always talk about how the problem of insurgency ended in the North-East, but the insurgency is not the same as the problem of banditry and kidnapping that we have in the North-West. The North-East issue was about people who came from nowhere and talked about the ideology of Boko.
“What we have in the North-West is an economic problem where people kidnap and ask for money. What brought about that? Hopelessness, lack of education, and lack of economic prosperity.
“The problem of the North West is a lack of education and financial exclusion. Over 85 per cent of the people in the North West are either not educated or financially excluded. So, there is poverty. If we don’t address poverty by supporting our farmers and increasing productivity, we will not address the problem of insecurity.
“So, we need to look at the issue of good governance; good governance is key. Many states in the North-West, including Kaduna, have a large number of out-of-school children, which is unacceptable. Even access to healthcare, which is not a privilege but a right, is poor.
“Education is the greatest enabler, so we must educate the children of the poor to compete favourably with the children of the rich. If we don’t do that, the problem of insecurity cannot be addressed. I am happy that a lot of people are already looking at that.
“In Kaduna State, we have over 600,000 out-of-school children. But, because they realised how proactive we have been, the Kuwait Fund is supporting us with $28 million to lift out-of-school children back to school,” the governor said.
Earlier, the Kaduna Elders’ Forum, led by General Zamani Lekwot (rtd) and Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha, while congratulating the governor over his electoral victory, said his governance approach to developing the rural area was already yielding positive results. (Tribune)