By Abdallah el-Kurebe
Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto has told the United States of America that in spite of federal government’s absolute control of security apparatuses, it had no capacity as well as determination to tackle insecurity in Nigeria.
He stated this at a symposium organised for the Northern Governors’ by the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) between 17th and 19th March, 2014 in Washington, DC.
According to Wamakko, “The Federal Government which has absolute control of the security outfits, lack the capacity or the determination to check-mate the insurgency emanating from the north or are giving credence to the perception of some people in respect of politicising the matter a head of 2015 elections.”
Observing that threats to peace and stability in Nigeria are no more a news globally, he stated that Northern governors’ presence at the symposium under USIP and Norwegian authorities spoke “volumes of the level of concerns across the globe on our situation. The major thrust of the concerns perhaps, would be in how the country is responding to these challenges. There is no known country without one form of challenge or the other; the difference however, is what measures and or responses are taken to overcome the situations.”
Wamakko stressed that while the problems in the Northern region did not build overnight, “opinions were divided on the commitment of the federal government to bring the insurgency to an end; its either that the measures put in place (like the state of emergency in the affected states, the enormous number of road blocks within and around these states and the huge expenditure on all these) are not the right ones or as it is to others, the government has politicised the situation ahead of the 2015 elections.”
He described the symposium as showing US concern for recognising the strategic position of Nigeria in Africa as a fulcrum for the realisation of US policies in Africa. “It’s heart-warming that most of the invited Governors have responded well to this, and would articulate positions that where effectively harnessed and serve as a recipe for the eventual end to the unrest in the region/country,” he stated.
The governor opined that in spite of the measures in place in order to bring the insurgency under control, the menace was still upped. “The failure to do so is also attributable to the attitude of the federal government to heed to the advice and counsel of the opinion and community leaders on the best ways to handle the situation, among these groups, the Northern Elders forum (NEF) that had earlier on advised the federal government on ways out this scenario, a wise counsel the government refused to heed.”
Wamakko also stated that the international community was being to appreciate the politics with which “this whole issue is being treated; especially the disdain of the leadership in response to the callous attacks leading to wanton loss of life. Only recently and right on the visit of the President Goodluck Jonathan to Katsina State for political rally, villages in the state were attacked and hundreds of people maimed, and yet the jamboree continued unabated. This is coming on the heels of another wanton event in Yobe State, involving once again, school children, who were murdered in cold blood.”
The governor also chided Nigerian leadership for the high-level corruption going on in the country, which recently sent a minister packing. “Allegations of corruption are ripe and very genuine so, compelling certain half-hearted sack of a certain minister. Quite a number of factors may lead to insurgency, abuse of human rights and or, what the U.N refers to as “Rights Violation” in Nigeria are grounds upon which people react negatively.”
Wamakko told of the events in Port Harcourt, which involved a police commissioner “that was arbitrarily high-handed. He held sway in total disregard to the chief security officer of the state and was said to be taking orders from some other quarters. So much had gone in the way of unrest in the wake of these abuses in Rivers State.”
He further stated that while Nigeria was over heated ahead of the 2015 polls, the nation was equally “grieving from the blood of the mostly innocent people, political jamborees of some sort are being held in different corners of the land. To any sensible leadership, the well-being of the nation should be primary and paramount. There’s no exclusion of the restoration of peace and stability in Nigeria to the success of any activity, including the 2015 polls.”
Wamakko observed that the pre-occupation of the government should be to safeguard the lives and properties of the citizenry, adding “and a government that fails in this regards has no business in leadership.
He called on the international community to prevail on the government of Nigeria to bring insecurity to an end. “Part of what the Global humanity should prevail upon Nigerian government to do is to pre-occupy itself with bringing a decisive end to the insurgency in the country, which will be a precursor to free and fair elections in Nigeria.”