The director general of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Mr. Salihu Lukman, has decried the security challenge in Nigeria saying the situation is unacceptable.
In a statement entitled, ‘Poverty and existential problems of Nigeria’ issued in Abuja on Monday, Lukman who was reacting to the abduction of 317 schoolgirls from Government Girl’s Junior Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara State last week stated that the efficiency and success of abduction of school children indicated that a population of criminals working as bandits, kidnappers and abductors was growing more than the number of police and security personnel in the country.
“While it may be tempting on account of our divisive politics to imagine that we can resolve our problems based on strategies that merely reproduce old initiatives in different forms, we need to strongly appeal to our leaders, especially President Buhari to recognise the fact that our national situation is no longer acceptable. All the indices suggest the high possibility that most Nigerian children are potentially either criminals or abductees.
“Nigeria is fast losing its capacity to produce skillful, innovative, resourceful, entrepreneurial and industrious citizens. Given the efficiency with which abduction of school children are successfully being executed, it would appear that the population of criminals working as bandits, kidnappers and abductors is more than the number of police and security personnel in the country.”
He said people may be deluded by all the debates based on the reckless consideration of amnesty and divisive ethnic and religious propaganda.
“The reality is that criminal activity of banditry, kidnapping and abduction of innocent school children are emerging to be very lucrative economic activities in the country (Sic).
“It is now a sophisticated business network with fronts that may involve people and institutions that are least suspected. For instance, how is it possible that tens and hundreds of people would be abducted without any trace? Wouldn’t they pass through towns, villages and communities? Along the routes they passed, wouldn’t there be police and security posts/stations, traditional and religious leaders that could confirm suspicious movements?
“And with all these sad reality of our existential threats in the country, which is destroying our educational sector, we are debating whether we should have state police or not. Anybody debating whether or not to have state police is simply part of the problem. How many private securities are guarding our homes? With all that is happening to our schools, isn’t it a case that requires the establishment of armed police station in each school to guarantee the safety of our children?
“Can this be provided by the Nigeria Police as it is constituted today? Isn’t this a challenge requiring emergency response? How can the lives of school children be so threatened, and we are busy debating politics?” he said.
The APC chieftain suggested the establishment of armed police stations in schools to tackle the recurring abduction of school students.
Lukman urged the APC-led government to crave for peaceful co-existence through tackling poverty as a means of addressing insecurity in the country.
“Being members of APC with all the commitment to contribute to the success of the party, we need to tell ourselves the hard truth, which is that an important determinant of return to peaceful coexistence and moving Nigeria forward under the leadership of our party is dependent on the capacity of our governments to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
“Therefore, we need to engage the disturbing issue of high levels of poverty in Nigeria beyond the narrow prism of politics. Outside the simplistic strategy of promoting our political choices, it is equally important that we wake up to the reality that high levels of poverty have produced really unimaginable existential threats both for citizens and for the nation.
“Daily, lives are being lost, individual liberties and freedoms are under permanent threats, properties and livelihoods are being destroyed. Every Nigerian today lives with the fear of one form of threat or the other. The northeast has been ravaged by Boko Haram for more than 10 years. The problems of banditry and kidnappings are gradually taking over the northwest and north central,” he added.