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At Unizik, military generals, others proffer solutions to insecurity, killings in Nigeria

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By Gabriel Chy Alonta

Retired Military Generals, academic scholars and other experts have identified poor governance, ethnic and religious intolerance, as well as proliferation of arms to the security challenges bedeviling Nigeria.

According to the speakers at the 2021 Faculty of Management Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University International Conference, concerted effort must be made to save Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan countries from shackles of terrorism, banditry and other crimes threatening the existence of the region.

The conference was themed, “Security challenges and achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Sub-Saharan Africa”, and took place on Wednesday at the ASUU-NAU Secretariat of the university, Orient 
Daily reports. 

In a lead paper presentation, a former General Officer commanding 81 Division (Army), Major General Obi Abel Umahi, decried that Sub-Saharan African countries were marked by insurgencies, extreme poverty, bad governance, and lack of access to quality education, noting that it had stalled development of the region.

He said a nexus exists between security and development, and called for a joint operation of security agencies commanded by the Chief of Staff, as part of measures to get Nigeria rid of insurgencies. He decried that security agencies were not collaborating enough, while remarking that through coordination and cooperation, killings across the country can be reduced to barest minimum.

A former Chief of Defence Staff and Pro-chancellor, University of Calabar, Lt. General Martin Luther Agwai, in a keynote speech, said Nigeria problems were intra-state, positing that it could only be solved internally. He hinted on employing global cooperation to tackle many rot in the country.

According to Agwai, Nigeria must ensure infrastructural security, human security, environmental security and personal security to tackle rising tension in the country. He called on the government to be alive to their expectations towards solving inequality and rising agitations in the country. 

The keynote speaker, who described Nigerian leaders as ‘commanders’, added, “security is development and without development, there cannot be security. Security is fairness and inclusiveness”.

Earlier while declaring the event open, the university vice-chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, described the conference theme as quite germane to Sub-Saharan Africa’s enviable predicament of underdeveloped. The vice-chancellor said the SDGs appear to be directed at Africa, which, he said, could be justifiably described as a cesspool of poverty and all other indices of under development.

“The theme recognises the nexus between security challenges and attainment of such goals. The prevailing secessionist threats, kidnapping for ransom, farmer-herder clashes, religious conflict, and so on, stifle the attainment of the SDGs”, Esimone decried.

He identified food insecurity, ignorance, poverty, and dearth of social amenities such as potable water and electricity, as challenges fueling insecurity in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan countries. 

In an address, Dean, Faculty of Management Sciences, Prof. Lilian Orogbu, said the conference theme was of monumental importance, and stressed the need to develop a new approach towards understanding the prevailing level of insecurity in Africa. 

According to the Orogbu, Africa continent is in grip of various destructive forces that are coalescing to give it a failed status toga. The current state of insecurity in most African countries is a manifestation of deep-rooted and structurally entrenched crisis of development that creates the environment for the emergence of conditions of poverty, unemployment and inequality in the countries concerned. 

“These in turn lead to frustration, alienation and ultimately social discontent that spark violence and insecurity. Although Africa may appear to be failing, the trends leading to this situation are reversible hence, the theme of the conference.

“The conference is underpinned by the need to generate strong advocacy capable of helping individuals, firms, institutions and government to pull through this challenging times”, she said.

The chairman of the occasion, Lt. General Alexander Ogomudia, in a remark, noted that security was paramount for any meaningful development. He harped on the need to ensure adequate food supply, power, health and education, noting that its availability would lead to national development.

The royal father of the day, HRM Igwe Alfred Achebe, said to achieve SDGs, secured employment, education, poverty, and so on, must be taken into consideration, while calling for bottom-up approach to solving security and developmental issues in Nigeria. 

Prof. Basil Nwankwo, the LOC chairman, had, in a vote of thanks, expressed optimism that the conference resolutions would go a long way in drawing a roadmap for insecurity in Nigeria. 

In a reaction, one of the conference committee members and deputy director, Unizik Business School, Dr. Chinedu Onyeizugbe, said no business can thrive where there is insecurity, and decried economic losses facing Nigeria as a result of civil unrest. Onyeizugbe, who is also the national president of Academic Frontier Initiative (AFI), while expressing worry over disconnect between academics and government, urged governments at all level to pay heed to the proffered solutions for tackling insecurity in the country. 

Another lead paper presentation by
Prof. Robert Dibia, assistant vice-president, Font Valley and States University, United States of America, formed the high point of the occasion. 

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