Experts have warned that until necessary steps are taken to tackle rising unemployment in the country, the rate of insecurity ravaging it may not abate.
Speaking at a roundtable organized by the Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Abuja, Prof Solomon Ogbu and Peter Adejobi submitted that adequate security may continue to elude Nigeria, which has 33.1% unemployment rate and over 70% of its population living below $1 a day, if poverty rate continues to rise.
Adejobi, a trade unionist, said “with the current unemployment rate as at the third quarter of 2017 at 33.1% and with over 70% of the population living below $1 (N360) a day, and below the poverty line, there can be no real security in such a country.”
The roundtable, which was supported by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation West Africa, seeks to expand debate on political, economic, social and cultural issues with select higher institutions and non-governmental organisations and trade unions.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Herdsmen and Farmers Conflict and the Call for State Police in Nigeria’, Adejobi said the approach to tackling poverty by the Buhari administration is not radically different from previous administrations’ since the introduction of neoliberal policy of austerity measure by the Shehu Shagari administration.
He also noted that the introduction of Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) by the Babangida administration further compounded the hardships faced by Nigerians.
He noted that the Nigeria Police is the agency saddled with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crime, protection of lives and properties etc but that the force, in the light of crises and conflicts right from the ‘maintain’ crises of 1980s to the present herder-farmer conflicts, had always been reactionary rather than proactive.
He further noted that all the security agencies in Nigeria essentially operated independently, saying there was no effective synergy between them, and no effective inter-agency cooperation around them, thereby making the fight against insurgency and conflict like the farmer-herder difficult to put under control.
On his part, Prof Ogbu, a lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Abuja, noted that despite efforts by security agencies of government and well-meaning Nigerians to put an end to the herdsmen and farmers conflict, the orgy of violence has continued unabated as thousands of farmers and pastoralists are still being killed mostly in the middle belt, especially in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba, Plateau, Kaduna and Zamfara states.
He observed that the response of government has so far been only ad hoc, half-hearted and ineffective, thereby allowing the violent attacks to continue unabated