Akin Akande, Abuja
The security challenges the country is grappling is a result of the failure of states and local government authorities in the country to understand the concept of ensuring adequate security for their immediate citizens.
According to the Minister of Information and Supervising Minister of Defence, Labaran Maku, a large chunk of the national resources are spent on managing internal security because majority of the states obviously influenced by dirty politics are more interested in getting their allocations from the Federal Government without tangible development strides.
Maku, speaking on Thursday at the Annual October Lecture of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), with the theme: Security and Peace: ‘The Imperatives of National Development,’ also disclosed that owing to deployment of technology in ascertaining the number of workers in the country, over N118 billion have been saved from paying ghost workers.
The minister said President Goodluck Jonathan took a longer time to intervene in the Boko Haram insurgencies, particularly declaring a state of emergency in three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa because of political sentiments, both from the opposition and the ruling party.
His words: “With the present security challenge, I can tell you that Nigeria is spending a significant percent of its resources on internal security, if these resources were spent on generating electricity, creating jobs, intervening in the agricultural sector, Nigerians would have been better for it.
“But we deploy these resources on local issues such as security, which should have been tackled when it was just cropping up by the leaders who were in charge, I also believe that the proposed National Conference will provide an opportunity for some of us to discuss these issues.
“Over N118billion were recovered from ghost workers in the country, this is because we have blocked most of the loopholes, where these monies come from, I believe when we fully engage the biometric technology, such level of corruption will never be possible again,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, Guest Lecturer at the event, Professor Isawa Elaigwu, while delivering his lecture, said the federating states midwifed by the military administrations created new forms of majority and minority divide among the citizens.
According to him, the creation of states from 12 in 1967 to 36 in 1996, from the original 3 later 4 regions in the country created new sets of problems for the country.
He said the situation also bred boundary disputes, movement of people and minority agitations for equal treatment in terms of resources allocation.
Elaigwu also said the leadership of Nigeria lacks the capacity to check corruption because of its weak enforcement laws, adding that mechanisms ought to be put in place to check corruption, rather than arresting and punishing offenders.
“Nigeria lacks effective mechanism for enforcing laws, this is the difference between the United States and Nigeria, in our own country, we are so concerned about catching and punishing the offenders, when we ought to put up mechanism to prevent crimes,” the minister said.
“A country cannot thrive when it has a large army of unemployed youths because these same people that are not empowered with things to do constitute the greater risk to the country’s development,” he stated.