A founding member of the Arewa Consultative Forum and elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has said that the problem of insurgency in Nigeria started in Southern Nigeria.
He spoke on Channels Television’s ‘News Night’ programme on Monday.
The 96-year-old elder statesman also said the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), failed to address the root cause of banditry, especially in the North-West and North-Central because he had no clear-cut programmes and policy actions to tackle the menace.
Yakasai, who identified poverty, unemployment and illiteracy as the genesis of banditry in the North, advised future politicians to be intentional with programmes and policy actions to tackle the security challenges facing the region and Nigeria as a whole.
He also urged next crop of political leaders after the present regime to take a cue from how the late former President Umaru Yar’adua addressed the problem of militants in the Niger Delta.
In 2009, Yar’Adua had granted an amnesty deal to militants in the Niger Delta to end the unrest in the oil-rich region. He also offered an unconditional pardon and cash payments to about 10,000 militants who agreed to lay down their arms and assembled at screening centres. Some of the then militants were also trained and equipped in various areas of entrepreneurship and professional fields.
Asked during the television interview whether the Buhari regime is dealing with the root cause of the insurgency and banditry that have engulfed the North and the menacing trend of kidnapping that is ubiquitous in all parts of the country at the moment, Yakasai said the present government has not dealt with the origin of the insecurity ravaging Nigeria.
He said, “Let me first of all say that the problem of insurgency started in the South; Niger-Delta Avengers and the rest of them.
“Also, after the civil war, the abandoned arms were from the South. It was later on that it extended to the North because of reasons of large population, poverty and unemployment. So, they are now agitating and this is the reason why there is banditry in the North because these people are unemployed. You don’t get people who are gainfully employed involved in banditry, whether in the north or the south.
“I believe those in power in the future would begin to think on how to address these issues because unless they are addressed, the problem would continue to persists. We have the population, unemployed and uneducated, and they need to be educated and employed.
“There will be people in power in the future who will try to address the root cause of the problem by providing education, employment opportunities and so on. We have large arable lands to be cultivated and so many dams lying waste, there is opportunity for three-crop agriculture per year, one from rain water and two from irrigation, from the dams.”
Yakasai said though the North has been in power more than the South, it has little to show for it because leaders has personal agenda and not actionable policy programmes that would be beneficial to the populace.
The elder statesman added, “Political leaders must come up with programmes to address unemployment and eradicate literacy, not only in the north but in the also in the south.
“What happened to the Niger Delta Avengers and all of them? They are not there, you don’t hear of them anymore because of the discussion initiated by the government.
“I don’t like to appear unnecessary critical of the present regime but this is why I was not happy with the present regime from the beginning till today. Now, they are trying to make up but if you have a programme before you come to power, particularly in the case of our present President who contested election three times and failed and succeeded on the fourth occasion, I believe he should have all these things on the tips of his fingers.
“Insecurity in Nigeria now is all over the country and it is too late now for Buhari administration to initiate programme, They are trying to address it to be best of their ability but certainly do not have time. One and half years to the time that remains for them and such a programme needs time, it is not a thing you can think of overnight.”
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