Recent events in Nigeria have drawn every one attention to the poor security architecture of our dear country. We hear and read daily news of human slaughter by Fulani Herdsmen, Militias, and Deaths from boundary disputes, Kidnappers, and armed robbers like never before. Even those assigned to ensure security and order have turned their duty posts to toll gates where every vehicle and motorcycle riders must pay and collect a number as the receipt. Even the road safety corps officers are now toll collectors. Others are known to everybody as toll collectors -immigration, Custom, our friend the police even army on border patrol. Only those that fail to comply get arrested. This bad news goes viral worldwide and calls the safety of our visitors, investors and the international community to question. We have never had it so bad. The incidence at the hallowed chambers of the Nigeria senate where a suspended Senator came to the house with thugs who took away the maze is another shameful event that ridiculed our security vigilance. How could this happen in a heavily guided National Assembly?
Recently, I watched on WhatsApp video, how the body of a proprietress of an International school was been exhumed from a shallow grave by her abductors after she was robbed, raped, gagged, tied and buried alive by her driver and his friends. This is sacrilege of the highest order in our land. The news of Boko Haram activities continues despite the claim by our Government that they have been defeated and completely rooted. The same Government is asking for One billion Dollars (three hundred and sixty billion Naira) to fight the defeated Boko Haram. This money can change the face of some of our roads where citizens are killed daily because of no maintenance.
Government is not creating jobs neither are they providing the necessary conducive atmosphere for business to thrive. More youths are joining the labour market yearly from our tertiary and secondary institutions with no hope of getting jobs. There is poverty in the land and as the saying goes; a hungry man is an angry man. The government should stop talking politics with people’s stomach and do the needful.
The government should consider the following:
1. Enact a law establishing communal farms in all the local governments of the federation. There should be local government and State farms. The Federal Government should establish a mega-farm in each state of the federation. Any state or local government that fails to comply should have its monthly allocation withheld. This will create jobs for the youths across the country and there will be enough food for all and for export. Even prisoners could be deployed to these farms to produce food for the Nation.
2. The Federal Government should give local government allocation straight to the Councils to enable them to impact positively in their council areas. State Governments should stop meddling with local Government funds. As the third tier of Government, they should be able to point at projects that were executed with their allocations and internally generated revenue. At the moment, their impact is not felt by the people.
3. Pay members of State and National Assembly salaries equivalent to what is paid to Directors in Ministries and stop all allowances forthwith. Make these places unattractive financially. Only genuine people desirous of working for the interest of the Nation and her people should contest elections. There will be no bloodletting or rigging of elections. The Nation shall experience peace for once during elections. Divert savings from these measures to providing necessary infrastructure across the country. These should include good roads, railways, qualitative education and health for the citizens. Those thirsty for money can look elsewhere and leave the National Cake for the people.
4. Upgrade and overhaul our healthcare system. Abolish medical tourism in Nigeria. Nigeria can boast of the best brains in Medicine worldwide. Indians, Americans, Britons etc do not come to Nigeria for medical care. Whatever is lacking in our health institutions should be put in place. Encourage our foreign-based Doctors to establish Hospitals here and help us save the Nation from forex drain because of medical tourism. We should live by example. No government official or members of their families should go abroad for medical treatment. Purge our health institutions of corruption. We have only this country to call our own.
5. Revamp National carriers like the National shipping company, Nigeria Airways, Ajaokuta Steel and other rolling mills etc and privatized them but hold some shares. Allow private entrepreneurs to manage while Government does oversight functions only.
6. Encourage Business growth by reducing the bank lending rates and make the terms less cumbersome but attractive. Interest rates in other countries that are serious about investment are one digit while it is two digits in Nigeria. This is stifling investment a great deal because the cost of borrowing (35% +) is too high. The banks keep posting billions of Dollars as profits yearly while the economy is lying on its belly. The IMF said recently that Nigeria economy will grow at 2% in 2018 if the price of oil does not fall while that of Ghana is projected at 8%. We must face these issues squarely.
7. Establish industrial estates across the States of the Federation. These estates should be established in rural areas to open them up and decrease rural-urban migration. People should be moving to rural areas for jobs in these estates. The government should encourage investors to patronize these estates with incentives like tax holidays, availability of infrastructure like good road network, electricity etc. The cyclical economic effect would boost our economy.
8. Overhaul the educational sector and purge it of half-baked Lecturers who are equally producing uncooked graduates. Retrain the trainers. Make education free for all up to secondary school level. Establish vocational training centres to train our school levels on self-employment skills. The centres should also be free so that more people would be able to have access. These measures will reduce illiteracy, create micro-entrepreneurs across the country and increase National productivity. Crime rate will definitely reduce.
9. Disband all corruption agencies and establish fresh ones but ensure that only new employees are deployed. The present organs are no longer worthy. Let these agencies be truly independent. It should operate like the symbol of justice. It must be blind and judge based on evidence and not influence. This is the only way to ensure fair play for all irrespective of political affiliations. The world would then begin to trust us and feel safe because of the proper judicial structures on the ground.
10. Our tourism industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. The Nigeria entertainment industry is the best in Africa and second in the world. Why do Nigerians go abroad for holidays? Prime Minister May of England has never been to Nigeria on holiday neither did her predecessors. Barrack Obama of America was always going to Hawaii for holidays and President Trump has not chosen Nigeria as holiday haven for Americans. Let us be proud of what we have. Nobody is going to beat our drum if we fail to. Charity begins at home. Lagos, Abuja, Calabar, Port Harcourt, Enugu etc are holiday havens. Let us patronize them and let the money circulate here. Stop the capital drain in the name of holidays my dear brethren.
11. Overhaul the security apparatus of the country. Retire all chair warmers in the security corridor and infuse dynamism by deploying individuals that are passionate about Nigeria in their place. In Nigeria, people hold office for the pride of it and the money, not productivity and legacy. This must stop if we aspire to catch up with the advanced countries. We should begin to think of what we added to the system and not what we amassed fraudulently using our positions.
When we address these issues passionately as leaders and take action fearlessly and dynamically, we will be remembered for our bravery insecurity and economic emancipation.
My thought on Nigeria security would continue.